A Study Investigating the Influence of Set and Setting on Mental Health Benefits of Marijuana Use during Yoga Practice

A Study Investigating the Influence of Set and Setting on Mental Health Benefits of Marijuana Use during Yoga Practice

A recent study conducted at the University of British Columbia has found that practicing yoga after consuming marijuana can lead to improved mindfulness and mystical experiences. The study aimed to explore the impact of contextual factors during cannabis use on well-being outcomes, an area that is often overlooked in cannabis research.

The author of the study, Sarah Elizabeth Ann Daniels, noted that while contextual factors are commonly considered in psychedelic therapy, they are rarely taken into account in therapeutic cannabis use. However, there is significant evidence that factors such as mindset, setting, and behavior can greatly impact the therapeutic outcomes of psychoactive drugs.

To investigate the influence of context on a person’s cannabis experience, Daniels had 47 participants self-administer cannabis on two separate occasions, one week apart. During one session, they practiced yoga, while during the other session, they engaged in their usual activities while under the influence of cannabis.

The participants were then scored on measures such as state mindfulness, mysticality of experience, and state affect. State mindfulness refers to awareness of both mental states and bodily sensations, while mystical experience encompasses feelings of eternity or the infinite, peace and tranquility, or a loss of perception of time.

The results of the study showed significant improvements in mindfulness and mysticality when participants practiced yoga alongside cannabis consumption. This finding is particularly interesting considering that mystical experiences are typically associated with psychedelic substances rather than cannabis. However, recent evidence suggests that cannabis shares many commonalities with psychedelics when it comes to inducing altered states.

In terms of state affect, there was no significant difference between yoga sessions and non-yoga sessions. This means that practicing yoga did not have a noticeable impact on participants’ emotions and moods while under the influence of cannabis.

Daniels emphasized the importance of studying contextual factors and extra-pharmacological variables in understanding the therapeutic potential of cannabis. She drew parallels between early research on psychedelics and current studies on cannabis, noting that once researchers began considering factors such as set and setting, psychedelic experiences shifted from overwhelmingly negative to overwhelmingly positive.

Interestingly, 72% of participants expressed a desire to combine cannabis and yoga again. They reported enhanced physical awareness during their yoga practice while under the influence of cannabis, noting a deeper connection with their bodies and heightened sensory experiences. These findings suggest that paying attention to contextual factors and providing guidelines for therapeutic cannabis use could improve clinical outcomes.

The study’s results also have implications for optimizing the therapeutic benefits of cannabis and minimizing potential risks. Providing specific behavioral directions and educating users about the role of set and setting could be beneficial. Yoga or similar mindful movement practices may be recommended due to their high degree of acceptability among participants.

Overall, this study highlights the importance of considering context in cannabis use for therapeutic purposes. By understanding the impact of set and setting, researchers can maximize the benefits and minimize the harms associated with cannabis use. Furthermore, this research emphasizes the intrinsic therapeutic value found in altered states of consciousness induced by psychoactive drugs like cannabis and psychedelics.

Dr. Paul Miller, MD

Dr. Miller is committed to finding new and innovative ways to help his patients manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life. He has a particular interest in the therapeutic potential of medical cannabis and is passionate about educating both his colleagues and patients on its safe and effective use. He is also committed to continuing his education and staying up-to-date on the latest advances in neurology and cannabis research.

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