How To Let Cannabis Improve Your Life Starting Now

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Not only is it a new year, it’s also a fresh decade. What better time to be mindful of your current habits and to recalibrate to allow room for new and constructive ones? Forget New Year’s resolutions that ask you to give up beloved indulgences or adhere to painfully restrictive rules.

Instead, invite joy and healthfulness into your life by cultivating constructive practices that expand your creativity and sense of balance. Sound good? What will sound even better is the fact that you can use cannabis as a tool to help facilitate the path to your evolution.

Here are ten ways to spark up and light the way to your highest self. Starting right now.

Take a hit, then hit the yoga mat

For thousands of years, people have turned to yoga for the myriad of mental and physical benefits it offers. Motivate yourself to be more diligent about making it to class by using cannabis to enrich your practice.

“Cannabis as a psychotropic aid really induces a sense of calm and focus, which is beneficial for yoga both mentally and physically. The anti-inflammatory effects also assist the body’s joints with more fluid movements,” says Adrienne Airheart, marketing director at The Higher Path dispensary in Los Angeles.

Go outside

Stepping away from your computer screen and into the outdoors is more than just a cheap way to have a Sunday Funday. Spending time in green spaces has actually been said to reduce your risk of serious diseases. Using cannabis heightens your senses, which makes it the perfect addition for an outside romp. Fully take in the smell of wet leaves on trees, the sound of a running creek, the sparkle of a sky full of stars, by getting into a “green head space” before you head into your favorite actual green space.

When stocking up for your next hike, Airheart recommends picking up some edible goodies. “Edibles are the longest lasting, so they’re great for outdoor activities. Also, vaping is a great way to avoid combustion and dangerous fire potential while still getting an immediate high. I also recommend mints! They’re great and take about 10 minutes for the full effects to be felt.”

Discover new music

Thanks to the advent of subscription streaming services, we all have access to a seemingly endless array of albums to browse through at the touch of our fingertips. So why is it so easy to fall back on the same 12 albums we’ve been listening to since, well, physical albums were a thing? Listening to music is good for you.

It can lower your cortisol levels and boost your mood. Listening to new music can do all that and make you an even cooler person! Cannabis and music have been friends longer than you’ve been replaying that same old playlist. The heightened awareness cannabis offers gives your brain a chance to fully appreciate what it’s listening to, so use this as a way to expose yourself to artists you’re not yet familiar with.

Meditate more

There are a myriad of benefits to a regular meditation practice. Meditation can reduce stress, improve focus, and generally make you a happier, more productive person. You know this. So why is it so hard to get yourself to sit still and zen out for a few minutes a day?

If you’re having trouble cultivating a consistent meditation practice, cannabis can be an effective way to slow yourself down long enough to step away from the computer screen and onto a cushion. “For meditation, I’d recommend a high-CBD, low-THC combination, perhaps a 4:1 or 2:1 CBD to THC,” says Airhart.

Use your abs for something besides sit ups

Here’s some fun news: Spending the night cackling with your girlfriends over queso and candy is good for your health! Laughter decreases stress levels, stimulates your vital organs, and can even improve your immune system long term. You probably know anecdotally that cannabis is a giggle-inducer. This may be due to the fact that the plant impacts the part of your brain where your sense of humor lives.

Fortify your funny bone by having some friends over for a cannabis comedy movie night, or head to your local comedy club and trade the two drink minimum for a pre-show joint with friends. (The club will likely still expect you to purchase drinks, but you can always order water, soda, or whatever munchies are calling your name.)

Become an art museum member

Experiencing art stimulates your own creativity. It expands your mind, and offers an elevated respite from the frenetic landscape of being online. Many art museums offer yearly memberships at a reasonable rate. Splurge on one for yourself, and give yourself a place to think, wander around, and listen to music on a regular basis.

Cannabis is a great way to get yourself in the right mental space to take in and appreciate the pieces you’re looking at. It can also help you tap into your own inner artiste. “Since THC can cause more tangents in the mind, it’s best for a high-limonene sativa when trying to be creative,” says Airheart.

Get back into snail mail

There are few simple pleasures as satisfying as opening your mailbox to discover “fun mail” mixed in with the bills and junk. Treat your friends to this experience by making a habit of sending off physical letters to people you miss once a week. Buy yourself some pretty stationary and stamps, and use a little cannabis to get into a reflective and thoughtful place.

Light a nice candle at your place, or take a walk to a nearby coffee shop and draft up some letters to friends. You’ll not only have fun doing this—you’ll have a satisfying dopamine release a few days later when your friend thanks you for your thoughtful (and likely entertaining) note. Perhaps they’ll even write you back your own fun mail!

Tackle that project you’ve been meaning to start

Paint that wall. Alter that dress. Use those craft supplies you keep buying. Checking an item off of your to-do list is an instant mood booster, and cannabis can help you see it through by increasing your energy and focus. When seeking a strain to help you follow through on a home project or another creative endeavor, Airheart recommends looking beyond the indica/sativa binary.

For example,“OG Kush is considered an indica-dominant hybrid, but it’s got Sour Diesel in it so it doesn’t make you sleepy … You’ll want to follow your nose for the effects you seek; hops/beer smell will make you more tired, lemon/pepper smell with perk you up.”

Be a more mindful eater

Eating well doesn’t mean depriving yourself of foods you love. Rather, the secret to a healthy diet may lie in simply practicing mindfulness when it comes to what goes into your mouth. Some mindful eating experts recommend doing things like using chopsticks, eating with your non-dominant hand, or taking very small bites to keep you grounded in the moment as you chew.

Cannabis, of course, has long been known for its ability to heighten our enjoyment of food. While the rapid shoveling of potato chips into one’s mouth doesn’t exactly scream “mindful eating,” the munchies can be a great way to fully stay present in what you’re consuming. Challenge yourself with a recipe you’ve never tried, and before it’s time to eat, use just enough cannabis to allow you to fully savor and think about all of the ingredients that you’re tasting.

Take sleep hygiene seriously

Many of us don’t get enough sleep. There never seem to be enough hours in the day, and there always seem to be too many things to watch on Netflix. Sleep is an absolutely vital part of our well-being though, and the sooner you make it a priority, the better you will perform and feel. For many people, cannabis is a key to the land of nod. Using cannabis in conjunction with other good sleep practices like avoiding your phone before bed, and keeping your bedroom clean and cool can help you get the cozy and restorative sleep of your dreams.

“I’d recommend dosing yourself an hour before bed to ensure a full night’s rest,” says Airheart. “Edibles are recommended, or patches, because smoking and even tinctures have a shorter life span in the body’s receptors.” Now rest up, and as you drift away, count all of the lovely ways consciously consuming cannabis makes this new decade a sweet dream.

Tess is a Los Angeles based writer and nationally touring comedian. She is regularly published in Vice, The Guardian, Vox, MTV News, Jezebel, and LA Weekly.