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April 02, 2020
Finding Calm in Meditation Apps and Cannabis

Photo by John Peters/Unsplash

Even if you’re trying to limit your news consumption to the bare minimum for the sake of your sanity, everyone has a moment where they feel like they’re spiraling. We’re living in what best can be described as uncertain times and it’s normal to be overwhelmed. Meditation, which has always been a great stress reliever, seems like an easy way to calm down. But if you’re like most people, getting your brain to shut up and chill is easier said than done. Which is where cannabis comes in — combined with a meditation app it could give you peace of mind, if only for a bit.

Before you mix the two, there are a few things to know. First: dosage is key. If you’re new to meditation or to cannabis (or even both!), you’ll want to microdose. “[It] can help activate the task-positive network [responsible for attention-demanding functions] in our brains and take just enough of the edge of our day off to help us relax into the practice,” says Janae Leonard, a cannabis educator and activist and iRest meditation teacher. So depending on your tolerance, a hit or two from a pipe or a lower dosage edible is preferable than an entire pre-roll. You want to be present and relaxed — not completely spaced out.

When it comes to choosing the right product, terpenes matter: linalool (commonly found in lavender) will relax you while pinene (commonly found in pine trees) will clear your head. If you want to start small and don’t know where to begin, look for strains that are lower in THC percentage or opt for something that’s 1:1 THC to CBD. Once it kicks in, get comfortable and load up an app to start your session.

Below, our top 5 apps and the best cannabis product to pair with them. 

If You’re New to Meditation: Headspace

How Much It Costs: $13 per month with a free 7-day trial; $70 per year, free 2-week trial

Why We Like It: Instead of diving straight into meditation, Headspace has beginners take a 30-day course. Don’t let that intimidate you — each one is short (anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes) and features a video that explains each lesson’s purpose. You can’t skip ahead but you shouldn’t, as the fundamentals are key before deepening the practice.

Our Recommended Cannabis Pairing: Try Breez CBD tablets which are 1:1 CBD:THC. Each feature 10mg of THC and 10 mg of CBD for a balanced, low dose psychoactive effect. If you really want to start small, you can also halve them.

If You Like Soothing Nature Scenes: Calm

How Much It Costs: $70 per year, free 7-day trial

Why We Like It: When you start up this app, it’ll ask you why you’re interested in meditation and tailor your experience based on your needs be it better sleep, less anxiety, reduce stress, etc. But what really makes it pleasurable are its soothing nature scenes coupled with some interesting choices in narrators (a bedtime story narrated by Matthew McConaughey is a real option!).

Our Recommended Cannabis Pairing: What better to pair with the Calm app than the aptly named dosist calm 200 pen? Each dose is 2.25 mg of THC so it’s just enough to take the edge off.

If You Want a Free App: Smiling Mind

How Much It Costs: Free!

Why We Like It: Wellness doesn’t have to come at a cost, especially if you’re new and hesitant to subscribe to an app. This one, developed by a group of Australian psychologists and educators offers dedicated programs for stress, sleep, mindfulness, and more. They’re also doing an initiative called Thrive Inside, dedicated to supporting psychological well-being while spending extended periods of time at home.

Our Recommended Cannabis Pairing: Kick back with a Kikoko Positivi-Tea Sachet that contains 10mg of THC and 5mg of CBD. With flavors of lemongrass and mint, it’s a soothing way to set your intention.

If You’re Impatient: Simple Habit

How Much It Costs: Free for the basics but you can purchase in-app premium sessions starting at $2.99 and up.

Why We Like It: Conceived by a busy Duke University graduate, you might have seen this app pitched on Shark Tank. It’s made for people who don’t have a ton of time to meditate so each session is five minutes long (although you can opt for longer ones if you’d like) and led by a variety of professional instructors ranging from mindfulness coaches to former monks to psychologists and more. You can choose one-off sessions or opt for series that tackle focus, sleep, and more.

Our Recommended Cannabis Pairing: Force yourself to focus with a strain that’s high in pinene like this Ember Valley Pie Face O.G. The indica-dominant strain has 22% THC so depending on your tolerance, a hit or two is all you’ll need.

If You Want to Vibe Out to Music: Wave

How Much It Costs: $199

Why We Like It: Yes, this is the most expensive of the bunch but unlike the other apps, it offers a full body experience. When you buy the app, it comes with headphones and a bolster that vibrates in sync with the music. You can adjust the strength of the vibrations depending on your sensitivity while the unique shape of the bolster opens up the body for better relaxation and breathing. The guided meditations are modern and a good alternative if nature sounds or spa music makes you cringe.

Our Recommended Cannabis Pairing: With a name like ebb, this [statemade] pre-roll pack is ideal for a music-oriented meditation app. The indica-dominant flower will get you relaxed and ready to go with the flow (or beats!).

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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