Are you high right now? Using cannabis in the era of digital distraction.

Is the internet a constant companion when you use cannabis?
Is the internet a constant companion when you use cannabis? /

It's too easy to get lost scrolling or texting on a smartphone or watching videos on YouTube or whatever – with or without cannabis.

According to the Pew Research Center, 31% of U.S. adults say they are online constantly. Yikes!

When cannabis is a factor, how often is the digital screen your go-to choice of focus? Your head swimming with THC while you keep your eyes and fingers plugged into the matrix, scrolling, clicking, watching, texting, reacting…

It’s especially easy to slip into these habits when working from home. You finish the day’s tasks, have a puff or twelve right there at your desk, and all of a sudden it’s 7 p.m., your still messing around on your screen, and your cannabis high has passed its peak – and your stash is a little lighter.

Yet, there’s also much to be said about using cannabis to intentionally unplug, which is where people tend to achieve life-altering epiphanies and creative breakthroughs, both personally and professionally.

We already know digital distraction can be a waste of time. Is it a waste of the high, too?

Are we cheating ourselves out of epic highs when we glue ourselves to the screen more times than not?

The answer is yes.

Why Our Ancestors Embraced the Cannabis High

If you want to get high and mess around in the digital world, that is your prerogative.

If you want to move away from that and discover how the cannabis high can be used as a tool for personal or professional growth and development, you’ll see why a digital detox might make sense for your next high.

For thousands of years, humans have been using the cannabis high to break up the monotony of daily life and reach greater planes of consciousness. They used cannabis to better their lives and the lives of people around them.

In their book Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany, Robert Clarke and Mark Merlin write: “It can be argued that through the ages cannabis drugs have heightened the senses; soothed human emotions; facilitated communication across time and space; and provided creative inspiration for innumerable inventors, artists, musicians, and writers.

“The use of cannabis and other psychoactive drug plants has altered the way many humans think and, through their altered consciousness, has determined, in part, our cultural evolution.”

Human beings and cannabis evolved together, and some of the greatest threads in our cultural fabric were and are heavily influenced by cannabis. For example, just look at some of the famous writers who have used cannabis for creativity.

Conversely, if we regularly use cannabis only to check out, distract ourselves, and waste time – then all those jazzy pathways to greater consciousness are lost.

Cannabis & Cognitive Exploration

Cannabis has way more cognitive effects than most people realize. If you’re binging on videos or scrolling social media every time you get high, you’re locked into the cannabis effect of hyperfocus.

Cannabis-induced hyperfocus can be applied to countless contexts, and it’s just one of many potential cognitive effects with cannabis.

Some of these cannabis cognitive effects include:

  • Hyper-focus
  • Mind-Racing
  • Episodic Memory Retrieval
  • Enhanced Imagination
  • Enhanced Creativity
  • Deeper Introspection
  • Heightened Sensitivity

As Consciousness Researcher Sebastian Marincolo puts it, learning how to ride a cannabis high is like learning how to surf.

The first few times might be rough, but if you hang in there, you’ll learn to catch epic waves and experience those life-changing moments.

When we tend to distract ourselves with an electronic device every time we get high, instead of surfing, perhaps you’re not even getting into the water.

Don’t get me wrong, some of my best highs have involved a computer, whether it’s for fun, zipping around a Formula 1 track at 200 mph on my PC or connecting the dots for breakthrough ideas with work, also on my PC.

But when we can’t seem to separate the digital from the herb – that’s when things start to get stale.

Instead of epiphanies, we’re distracting ourselves; we're losing sight of intent, which is critical when tapping into the psychedelic ether. And we are no doubt missing or ignoring the lessons this plant has to teach us.

Exercising Intent for Your Cannabis High

If you truly want to explore the potential benefits of cannabis and how it can improve your quality of life, it's helpful to always be crystal clear with your intent every time you plan to consume.

The intent could be anything you want it to be, the more granular the better.

For instance, you might decide to use cannabis to enhance your workout routine, creative focus, your leisure time, either alone or with friends and loved ones.

Or you might use it to help you sleep, or to break the monotony of everyday tasks like cleaning the house or doing the dishes.

This is why it’s helpful to know which cannabis products and dosage levels will likely make you feel energetic versus relaxed or sleepy.

You also want to make sure you actively pursue your intent immediately after consuming. Otherwise, you may get distracted and lose the intent altogether.

Naturally, lots of people use cannabis without any consideration for intent.

When we lose sight of cannabis intent, it often leads to less than memorable cannabis highs or maybe even undesirable highs, depending on the setting.

The Importance of Set and Setting

Once you get your intent dialed in, set and setting is the next consideration.

You must ask yourself: is now the best time to consume cannabis or would it be better to wait until later?

Set and setting is an important factor for every type of experience, however the phrase – coined by Timothy Leary – is specifically used for psychedelic experiences, including cannabis.

‘Set’ refers to your initial mindset going into the experience, while ‘setting’ refers to your immediate environment.

For example…

Let’s say you want to use cannabis to enhance a romantic evening with your partner.

You might first text them earlier in the day, something like “cannabis date night tonight?” just to set the anticipation.

You’ll want to make sure the place is clean, laundry picked up, bed made. Perhaps have some candles ready, a music playlist, and don’t forget about a little something for dinner!

All of this will really add to the set and setting, making for a more worthwhile experience.

Or let's continue the example from earlier. Imagine you’re sitting in your home office, ready to take a few puffs at the end of a workday.

If the intent is to unwind and shift your energy to family mode or whatever is happening that evening, you’re better off moving away from screens completely if you’ve already been plugged in all day!

Put on some music, dance around, go outside, enjoy some fine art, read a book, do some journaling, whatever. The possibilities of intent are endless, and the choice is all yours.

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