Let's Get High: How the Psychoactive Experience of Cannabis Can Be Medicinal

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I recently had to skip a family get together and was stuck at home by myself. Going places where I can’t control the environment is difficult for me in so many ways, something that is inherent to a wide array of chronic illnesses. I’m learning to be OK with myself on days and nights when I need to stay home, but it really does just plain suck sometimes. I was faced with a decision. I could sit in my pain and wallow or make the best of the night home. I went with make the best of it and took a very nicely psychoactive dose of Rick Simpson Oil. I giggled on the couch for hours, texting my husband Half Baked gifs. It helped me to unwind and I needed it more than anything else I could have done for myself that night.

We talk a lot about the medicinal benefits of cannabis, but something we don’t talk about is how the euphoria, when used intentionally, is quite healing. On that particular night it helped me not be in the suck of my illness and make the best of a situation. I was also able to process some in my therapy journal (a task I avoid at all costs) and create some fun new content. It was a very much needed self-care night, that I would have never allowed myself to have it wasn’t for cannabis helping me to chill out.

As much as I enjoy getting high, I can’t stress the intention part enough. Cannabis’ euphoria can also help us to disconnect and check out - something that can cause problems and make our lives more difficult if we aren’t tuned into it. If you enjoy it, there’s nothing wrong using cannabis to get high, but being aware of why and when you are doing it is key.

So what are the some of the other benefits of cannabis’ psychoactivity?

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Benefits of Getting High 

The psychoactive experience of cannabis can help shift our consciousness to a place of more openness. When we are dealing with chronic symptoms, or just the stress of day to day life, it’s easy to close off and hang on out of survival. Cannabis helps us to break down these barriers and open up. This happens through a few different avenues.

  1. Euphoric Mood

    In the wrong setting or circumstance, euphoria can be unsettling, but for the large majority of cannabis users it’s a side benefit, not a side effect. Getting high lifts us up, induces a positive happy mood, helps promote a state of relaxation, and let’s us let go of worries and stress. We might even giggle and socialize more. Time shifts, and enjoyable pleasurable experiences, foods, and things, become heightened.

  2. Unbundling from Symptoms and Suffering

    Day to day life with chronic illness can feel heavy, like a weight that you never put down. The more you fight having to carry this weight around, the heavier and more tiresome it feels. Sometimes, it’s all we can see. The state of consciousness that Cannabis induces can help patients to notice and become aware of different layers to their experience with chronic illness. This new perspective can help patients learn to perceive their pain and symptoms as something neutral, instead of something to cringe at or judge. This unbundling of suffering, or state of radical acceptance, is shown to improve quality of life and overall functioning. It’s an integral piece of coping with chronic illness. For me, this mindset shift has been an ongoing process that takes a conscious effort, but it has been one of the most healing things I do for myself.

  3. Disconnection & Integration with Other Practices

    Sometimes we just need a vacation from our symptoms and the reality of day to day life with chronic illness (or let’s be real - life in general). Cannabis, and the quick shift from suffering to euphoria, can help us to disconnect and check out - something, that again, when used with intention can be incredibly healing. Patients who understand this benefit can use it to their advantage. Try integrating other wellness practices- like yoga and meditation, to obtain even deeper benefits.

  4. Lasting Effects

    The psychoactive experience of Cannabis can have lasting benefits beyond the immediate high. Patients often report realizations and connections gained under the influence of cannabis that serve them in times to come. These benefits can include a deeper sense of spiritual connection, an ability to see things from different perspectives, creative solutions, greater acceptance, and capacity to change. I find cannabis extremely helpful in processing through trauma and other difficult experiences.

Tips for Getting High as Medicine 

  1. If it’s your first time, take your first dose at night before bed or after dinner. This will allow you to experience the effects without having to worry about places to be or things to do. Proper mindset and setting have a strong influence on the experience. If needed, consider having a friend or loved one with you for reassurance.

  2. Medicate with a high THC product before writing in your journal.

  3. Medicate before nature walk, yoga, meditation, or another wellness practice.

  4. Medicate and listen to some of your favorite music.

  5. Medicate and create - draw, make music, paint, craft, write. Whatever creative outlet you enjoy.

  6. Grab a friend. I don’t mean share your meds, that would be illegal, but we are social beings and getting high is always better with someone you love.

  7. Grab your lover. Sex is healing, and for many of us with chronic illness it can be difficult. Cannabis can help break down some of those barriers and let you enjoy the experience (and it will make it feel better!).

  8. If enjoyable, get high intentionally at least once weekly exploring various doses of THC. Be mindful to use with intention. If you are prone to disconnecting and checking out of your psychoactive use, be mindful of things to look for.

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