While doing a book-signing for Mindfully High at the giant National Cannabis Industry Association's Expo in San Jose, I was struck by the fact that there was almost zero focus on the actual psychological impact of cannabis products on end users.
The Cannabis Industry is just that - producing goods to sell for a profit. That's where we're at with marijuana right now. Everybody's trying to see how they can get into the 'green rush' early on. But with so many new users of cannabis suddenly coming to the fore, we must seriously begin to address the ultimate desired outcome of increased marijuana use in our society.
As a culture, our aim isn't just to make more money on a new product - hopefully our long-term societal goal is to improve and expand and 'joyify' our everyday human experience - yes?
And this brings us to the big question - how do we learn to mix the two primary medical/pleasure ingredients in cannabis - CBD and THC - so that we maximize the value and pleasure and relief, and minimize any downsides?
THC AND EMOTIONAL HEALING
Regarding medical employment to ease health conditions and reduce suffering, the knee-jerk assumption has been that the psychological / fun / insight 'high' of THC should be minimized, so that people don't have to deal with psychological changes when taking their medication. In some cases, certainly with children, this is wise - but in general, I consider it a mistake to try to reduce and minimize the psychological effects of grass.
CBD taken alone without any THC is definitely a wonder drug for easing all sorts of health conditions. And there are lots of situations where taking CBD alone is advised and wise. But when there's a psychosomatic / psychological element to the health condition (for instance with anxiety and depression), then including some THC is important for actually resolving the condition.
As a therapist, my long-term observation of clients using grass for positive emotional healing and attitudinal expansion affirms that THC delivers most of the positive personal-growth elements of cannabis. THC is what makes grass 'the insight herb' known throughout the world for thousands of years as a positive boost to general wellbeing.
There's already solid research documenting that THC helps reduce anxiety and depression, enabling people to observe and let go of old negative attitudes and habits, and spontaneously explore new, more positive mindsets and relating.
By temporarily shifting a person's cognitive focus in more-enjoyable and insightful directions, THC opens up vast realms of experience that's been blocked since childhood - and it's this opening to a wider range of natural human experience that stimulates emotional healing and personal growth.
For these reasons I strongly encourage us all to value and include THC in any dosage equation. The 'high' of THC is important. Most physical ailments have a psychological dimension, even causation. And the cognitive shift that THC encourages (in fact insists on) in our mind, emotion, body and spirit can be the most healing element in the treatment.
CBD does have important health aspects, certainly. But if we want lasting relief rather than treatment of symptoms, including the dimension of THC is essential.
NOTHING TO FEAR - REALLY
Over thirty years ago, I first started experimenting in my therapy practice with two additives for my clients to use at home between therapy appointments: I encouraged many of them to use cannabis privately during daily meditation and self-reflection breaks, as a mindful way to accelerate insight and personal growth on the themes we were dealing with in therapy.
And secondly, to boost healing and pleasure, I started recording short audio sessions for them to take home with them, to make sure they stayed focused in desired directions while meditating and using cannabis.
The merger of marijuana and guided meditation was a leap even for me, because traditional meditation in Western culture has considered getting high to be counterproductive spiritually. But experience has proven just the opposite - getting high with focused intent and guidance does accelerate personal growth, as well as pleasure and overall sense of wellbeing in life.
Developing the High Together App has been our last step in creating a cannabis-support system - it's free, online, and professionally sound ... and effortless to use. For the vast majority of new users of cannabis, the app is designed to ensure a positive experience with THC. It makes the 'insight herb' entirely okay to experiment with, and use long-term for personal growth.
THC IN PERSPECTIVE
There's still much more psychological research needed, in order clarify all the various mental and emotional aspects of the psychotropic drug called THC. Hopefully we'll soon be allowed to perform that research. I noted in the news today that even Trump is now in favor of legalizing pot at federal levels - and yes, I'd just love to have him sit down with my Mindfully High program and a pipe or joint or edible, and blow his mind clear of negative fixations.
Again speaking as a therapist (now retired) I definitely hold in high esteem the power of marijuana to positively impact our society, if approached mindfully. Those of us in the cannabis industry need to team together so that we can have a positive impact on our culture.
We need to encourage the human qualities that THC is proven to encourage in everyday life: more compassion, tolerance, insight, humor, health, confidence, inner balance - and good old plain fun and joy.
Let's work together for the higher good!