How To Use Terpenes To Enhance Meditation

Posted by Jack O'Leary on

We have grown increasingly restless, fidgety, and beholden to our emotions due to increased screen time, constant dings, never-ending communication, and an over-saturation of content and media constantly demanding our attention, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

It’s great to take a break. From screens, from the constant movement and noise, and to take a minute to reflect, to meditate. Creating a ritual, a moment each day to pause and reflect or to appreciate all the things you may be taking for granted serves as a reminder that there are things outside of work life that are also extremely important.

For many, this break comes in the form of smoking cannabis. Many people enjoy meditation, and some marijuana users report that cannabis helps them go deeper and experience a higher state of mindfulness during their meditation sessions. The effects of marijuana can make it easier for some people to tune out the outside world and decompress, but the effects are not the same for everyone. Cannabis can help those who struggle with mindfulness become more present and aware of their emotional states. Mindfulness is the ability to see what’s happening in your head at any given moment, so that you don’t get carried away by it.

Other marijuana users claim that cannabis makes it more difficult to concentrate and reach a state of mindfulness. Ultimately, it comes down to personal choice and how the specific terpene profile you are ingesting affects you. Some strains may bring you to a calm, zen state of tranquil peace where others may have your mind racing with hundreds of thoughts per second making meditation tricky. Try some of the following terpene isolates and terpene profiles in order to find what works best for you.

Terpenes like myrcene, linalool, and beta-caryophyllene can be extremely useful in practicing meditation in relaxing the body, calming the nerves, and allowing for easier focus on breathing patterns.

Essential oils like cedarwood, rose, orange, ylang ylang, lavender, and frankincense are all heavily loaded with the aforementioned terpenes along with others that create a wonderfully focused yet relaxed feeling when diffused, ideal for meditation.

Cannabis strains that may be effective for meditation include Hindu Kush, Lamb's Bread, Double Dream, White Widow, Lavender, and AK-47. Hindu Kush is a 100% Indica strain which will deaden the chatter in your brain to help you meditate. These strains will leave you feeling dreamy, happy, and ready to let your brain wander wherever it may go.

Meditation is an exercise meant to heighten spiritual enlightenment and self-awareness. The calming, euphoric effects of some strains make it easier for some people to reach a deeper meditative state. The physical sensations of marijuana use can make it easier to relax the body and slow breathing. Since meditation is about calming and quieting the body to focus on the mind, cannabis strains that create a sense of balance for users offer the best meditation experiences.

If you find it more difficult to relax your muscles and control your breathing, a strain that creates a more body-centric high or an edible product may work best. Some medical marijuana patients who do not smoke their cannabis can still enjoy the benefits of enhanced meditation with edibles, topical creams or other cannabis products. Marijuana-infused teas and foods can produce effects that can enhance meditation experiences as well.

Related: Terpenes For Creativity Boosts

How To Use Terpenes in Your Meditation Practice

Consuming cannabis is a useful practice for some before meditating as it forces to take a moment to inhale the smoke which can serve as a good transition into focusing on your breath. For those who would rather consume terpenes another way, there are many other options that are federally legal and healthier on the lungs.

Essential oils contain higher concentrations of the terpenes and other secondary metabolites that provide a great myriad of health benefits. Try using some of the essential oils mentioned above topically right before your meditation practice after diluting them with a carrier oil like almond, coconut or jojoba oil. Alternatively, add a few drops to a room diffuser and ruminate in tranquility.

Once your mind has been effectively elevated through these potent aromatic blends, you will be better able to counter stress and fears while cultivating greater positivity. This can form the solid foundation for your adventures in the mind through the practice of mindfulness. Meditation and taking a daily break from the stresses of reality is integral to build a life conducive to optimal performance, high-quality relationships, and greater enjoyment in life. 

Historical Use of Terpenes and Meditation
The deep connection humans have with aromatics and their various uses goes back hundreds of thousands of years. For example, fire releases the potent properties of some plants and that gratifying scent has been indulged in for generations. Is there any more relaxing scent and sound of a crackling fire? Early humans soon found that as the roots, bark, leaves, and berries of certain plants were burned, the smoke that wafted into the air had a profound effect on the mind, body, and the flavor of foods being cooked.

It didn’t take long to zero in on the unique substances behind these aromatic effects, which gave rise to the very first uses of fragrant smoke and terpenes. Originally, fragrant bits of plants and aromatic resins collected from trees in the local environment were burned as the very first incense.  

In fact, the term incense, comes from the Latin word “incendere,” meaning “to burn.” Another aromatic product whose name alludes to the smoky origins of natural fragrances is “perfume.” The Latin terms “per” and “fumare” combine to mean “through smoke.”

Incense is also one of the first treasures that merchants transported along the Silk Road from the first cities of the Indus Valley civilization to civilizations in the Mediterranean and Northern Africa. Additionally, the spices and incense troves found in the tombs of the great pharaohs illustrated the significance of natural plant essences in the cultures of Ancient Egypt.

As history advanced, the value of carefully collected plant essences increased and the demand grew very high. The profundity of aromatic plant essences exceeded mere sensory pleasure because specific fragrances and plant essences were considered gifts for the gods. For instance, the ancient Romans had a system that dictated the proper incense for each god, petition, and purpose.

Another use for aromatic plant substances that is continued into the modern is the use of these substances in aromatherapy, or the treatment of physical conditions through the use of essential oils in massage or diffusion in the air.

Benefits of Using Terpenes During Meditation
In the practice of meditation, terpenes can be used to invoke a variety of emotional or mental conditions and even states of higher awareness.

In times past, these special effects were viewed very seriously and played an important part in religious practices and the path to spirituality.

Today, the physiological adaptations induced by these plant substances are well-understood and measurable in a variety of studies. Some of the benefits of adding essential oils into your meditation practice are highlighted below.

Positive Mental Attitude
Leaving the science aside for a moment, individuals can still appreciate the way a pleasant fragrance wafting through the air can increase pleasure and relaxation in the moment. Just as unpleasant smells make the mind nervous and uneasy, the scents of sweet oranges, jasmin or a pine forest can make the meditator happy, calm, and positive.

Related: What Terpenes And Cannabis Strains Make You Laugh?

Deeper Relaxation
Probably one of the oldest and most important reasons that potent organic compounds have been used in meditation practices is because of their grounding and relaxing properties.
For example, in addition to the stress-relieving terpene linalool, lavender oil contains the terpene myrcene as well. Myrcene is known for its sedative effects and is also an effective remedy for pain. Thyme, ylang-ylang and chamomile oils are also all rich in the myrcene.

Higher Awareness
Studies have shown how secondary metabolites in frankincense can modulate the brain in areas that control stress and anxiety, resulting in a noticeable adjustment in emotional states. This is not an isolated occurrence either, sandalwood and cinnamon essential oils have also been found to sharpen the mind and increase creativity in much the same way.

To end, here is a quote from Dan Harris' brilliant novel Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics:

“A cheat sheet: 1. Take a few breaths to get settled, and then check to see if there is any physical or emotional discomfort present. It may also be that you feel perfectly fine and normal. All possibilities are okay. 2. Connect to the simple and reasonable intention for yourself to be well, to not be hurting. May I be well, or It’s okay, or Feel better. Find a phrase that works for you and repeat it, continually reestablishing that simple intention. 3. To help with this, you can draw on images and feelings, although you don’t need to. It helps to smile. One image people use is themselves as a little kid. 4. Finish by sending some good vibes out to your friends and family and the whole alive planet. May you be well. Paying it forward.”  

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