Despite our many blessings, we’re living in a tumultuous time. From political distress on Capitol Hill to the escalating opioid epidemic and arguments over health care, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, even helpless. We can’t necessarily put an end to all of the crazy, but we can begin by taking control of our mental and physical health. Cannabis legalization has helped to reignite that spark, inspiring us to take our well-being into our own hands with aid from the medicinal qualities of the plant. Two women on the forefront of this ideological revolution are Emma Chasen and Alyssa Wildrick of Prismatic Paradigm, an initiative that runs classes and workshops that “pull from a variety of different healing modalities such as medicine making using local medicinal herbs, sound healing, community engagement, and guided meditation.”
With a degree in Medicinal Plant Research, Emma Chasen quit the Brown University Oncology Research Group after her supervisor favored a pharmaceutical drug over cannabis in a clinical trial. She headed to Portland, Oregon, and began working with Farma, one of the top dispensaries in the world, where she trains staff on cannabis science and empathetic patient care. Prismatic Paradigm co-founder Alyssa Wildrick is a certified White Light Usui Reiki Master and Teacher, plus a studying Clinical Herbalist with a background in yoga, fitness education, and sports nutrition.
Together, Chasen and Wildrick are engaging their community in order to “dismantle our capitalistic, patriarchal society through herbal education, empowerment, community and healing workshops.” MERRY JANE caught up with Prismatic Paradigm to discuss how activating our spiritual and energetic selves by using cannabis and meditation can empower and enrich our lives.
MERRY JANE: Why do cannabis and meditation work so well together?
Prismatic Paradigm: Cannabis is an incredibly grounding plant with the ability to elevate consciousness. The duality of total body relaxation plus mental elevation is a perfect combination for meditation. Most people struggle to quiet the mind and lift out of the body during meditation. The right cannabis cultivar, when dosed appropriately, allows people to slow down, quiet the racing mind, and calm the body. This is the most desirable state for a transformative, meditative experience.
How does adding cannabis enhance the meditative process?
Cannabis can enhance the meditative process in many different ways due to its unique interactions with each person’s endocannabinoid system. For some people, cannabis simply allows the muscles to relax and the body to melt into the floor. For others, cannabis completely quiets the busy mind. On other occasions, people have told us that cannabis enhances their ability to gain perspective on a situation and “connect the dots” in their life experiences. Cannabis can and does allow people to go deeper, to gain insight, to relax — all powerful and desired outcomes in a meditative experience.
What method of consumption do you suggest when pairing cannabis with meditation?
We suggest either vaping or smoking with herb blends. Usually, when people are called to meditate, they don’t want to eat an edible and wait two hours for it to take effect. Vaping allows the cannabis novice to microdose and to more precisely find their desired state of consciousness. For the experienced user, smoking [flower] is ideal. It’s the delivery method with the fastest onset and therefore allows one to get “in the zone” rather quickly. Combining cannabis with medicinal herbs helps to protect the lungs and balance the overall experience.
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What types of herbs can you combine with cannabis to elevate your experience?
There are many medicinal herbs that you can combine with cannabis to elevate your experience. If you like a richer smoke, mullein is a great full-bodied herb with the added benefit of being a lung protector. We strongly suggest experimenting with Passionflower as a smoking herb, which is known for it’s ability to quell symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, headaches, muscle aches, and more. Peppermint is another great herb to combine with cannabis for its decongestant properties and fresh flavor. Prismatic Paradigm currently has two herbal smoking blends available — an uplifting blend and a relaxing blend. A blend specifically designed to smoke with cannabis is in the works. It’s so delicious, and we are really excited about it!
What are the benefits of guided meditation?
We love guided meditation because it is so helpful in quieting the mind. In this day and age, we are so accustomed to constant stimulation from our surroundings, creating a somewhat shorter attention span than those of our ancestors. Giving someone a narrative to focus on usually allows them to achieve a more powerful meditative experience. When there is no narrative, a large portion of the meditation is usually spent trying to eliminate the brain chattering, which clouds what is supposed to be relaxing with a pervasive feeling of frustration. Guided meditation with plant energizes your mind, body, and soul.
Do you have any tips for how a novice like me can practice meditation at home?
If you are like us and you prefer guided meditation, find a CD or recording online of a meditation that resonates with you. Prismatic Paradigm will soon have recordings of our guided meditations available, as well. Consume whatever cannabis and medicinal herbs you’re feeling, get comfy, and start your recording. If you don’t need a guided meditation, begin with your breath and deepen your practice with conscious breathing. We also find that binary sounds, Tuvan throat singing, instrumental music, and crystal bowl recordings help to keep the mind focused and relaxed during meditation.
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How this will enrich your life and even help chill out the world's crazy collective vibe?
The collective consciousness is freaking out right now, and rightfully so. The planet and its people are at the hands of a megalomaniac American ruler. There is so much information and misinformation out there that it is easy to feel unfocused and disempowered.
When is your next healing workshop?
We are hosting many events this spring! Follow our Instagram and Facebook pages for information about upcoming workshops. “Plant Spirit Medicine Guided Meditation with Sound Healing” is an hour and a half guided meditation focused on a certain plant ally. Recently, we plugged into Rosemary and Kava. We interact with the dried plant material, drop a dose of tincture, and talk about its properties before we go into a guided meditation. We also play a crystal singing bowl during the meditation for the added benefit of vibrational sound healing. We hope to do these every other week with a different plant. In addition to our ongoing Plant Spirit Meditations, we have a “Holistic Strategies for Combating Fear and Anxiety” workshop on April 11 and a “Beltane Workshop” on April 30.
Visit Prismatic Paradigm’s website here for more about the organization’s mindful offerings.