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The Benefits of Cannabis on Your Self-Esteem

December 20, 2016
Cannabis and Self Esteem
If I told you that your body is worthy of love, care, and compassion exactly the way it is right this second, would you believe me? If you’re suddenly squirming uncomfortably or rolling your eyes, the odds are you probably aren’t completely comfortable with your body. You’re not alone. A 2012 UK study conducted by the All Party Parliamentary Group found that “roughly two-thirds of adults suffer from negative body image.” Yes, all adults. This is not just a “women’s issue.” People of all genders struggle with body image.

I’ve previously talked about using cannabis to help reframe limiting beliefs. After exploring more deeply, I’ve found cannabis can help cultivate body love as well. Since poor body image can negatively impact mental and physical health, you’re doing yourself a huge favor by taking active steps to improve your relationship with your body. Cannabis is the perfect conduit for such a transformation because it can help muffle some of the negative self-talk in your brain which, at least for me, often feels like it’s communicating exclusively in SHOUTY CAPS.

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For me, cannabis helps me feel more present in my body and more open to pleasurable sensations. In 2010, I spent 100 hours getting certified as a hypnotist and I learned how useful hypnotic trance can be for unlearning negative beliefs and redirecting your attention and intentions. I find cannabis can produce similar effects to being in a trance (relaxation, bringing the unconscious mind into the forefront as the conscious mind recedes slightly, being more open to positive change, etc.)

If you’re interested in utilizing cannabis to re-shape your self-esteem, make sure to avoid a strain or product that might increase anxiety or paranoia (which would be antithetical to your goals). I suggest looking for a 1:1 CBD to THC ratio, and depending on how much time you can commit to the process, choose a shorter-acting method like smoking or vaping. The idea here is not to get so stoned that you “forget” the things you dislike about your body. This is about mindfully choosing cannabinoids and terpene profiles that will augment the positive changes that you’re setting in motion.

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Beta-caryophyllene, a peppery terpene found in many plants from cannabis to cinnamon, has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression. Ask your budtender about strains like OG Kush and Skywalker OG, which tend to be high in caryophyllene, and ask about the lab results (does your dispensary have lab testing results on hand?) to verify the terpene profiles. Part of loving your body means being aware of what goes into it, so be a savvy consumer!

Kayla Arielle, cannabis guru and social media specialist, shared this powerful experience:

“In the movie ‘What The Bleep,’ there’s a scene in which a habitually self-loathing woman realizes the effect that she is having on both her body and reality with her negative thought patterns. She ends up sitting in front of a mirror with a marker and writing letters of love all over her body, in effect deprogramming her hateful thinking and replacing it–in a very tangible way–with positive, loving thoughts. I was going through a really hard time with my marriage then and my condition [juvenile rheumatoid arthritis] as well. I was flared up 24/7 and in so much pain.

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“After I saw that scene, I felt extremely moved to do the same thing. I locked myself in my bathroom and alternated between the tub and mirror, marking all over my body, laughing and crying in the process. I definitely used cannabis as a tool and companion during the process…I had bowls and a blunt. It helped my mind to elevate to my intended frequency of soul vibration, as they say, unlocking obstacles and guiding the way back to the light after many years of moving towards despairing darkness. I had started to feel so trapped in this crippling vessel. The hour or so alone in my bathroom brought about so much healing and truly was a milestone of great change in my life.”

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The exercise she’s describing is deeply transformative, and I would recommend it if you feel inspired and ready for a big change. However, you don’t have to jump right to writing on yourself in marker. It’s all about making small, sustainable changes.

Here’s a bit of homework for you: carve out time for yourself where you’ll be alone and uninterrupted. An hour would be best, but you can do this in as little as 10-15 minutes. Enjoy the cannabis product of your choice–just enough that you feel it in your body, but not so much that it feels distracting. The goal is focused enhancement.

Stand in front of a mirror and look at yourself. Look into your eyes and take a few deep breaths into your belly. Notice the things about some part of your body that you like. For instance, looking at your face, perhaps you like the way your eyes light up when you smile, or a freckle on your cheek, or the way your lips purse when you’re concentrating. Maybe it’s the softness of your skin or the curve of your jaw. Revel in it. You might notice things you don’t like, too. That’s okay, just don’t dwell on them. When a negative thought comes up, just let it pass by. Express gratitude to your body for all the ways it makes you unique and awesome.

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When you’re done looking and appreciating (do this for as long as you can), write down what you remember in a journal. Have one page for positive things you noticed, and on another page spend a few minutes writing about how you felt doing that. What was it like to just focus on the good stuff? How can you make that a habit?

Has cannabis impacted your relationship with your body? If so, share your stories in the comments below!

Got a sex, relationships, or intimacy dating question for Ashley Manta? Send it to tips@leafly.com and we may address your request in a future article! (Don’t worry, we’ll keep your queries anonymous.)

Ashley Manta's Bio Image

Ashley Manta

Ashley is a writer, feminist, and sexuality educator. She is a contributing writer for Leafly.

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  • afterallthat

    I’ve been a steady user of cannabis since the ’60s. Never had problems, even when I was in management. Now that I live in Alabamastan, I sorely miss it. As the old saying goes, “A day without a buzz is a day that never was.”

  • Mike

    This is pure misinformation. Pure opinion. not science, not news, not anything… bad

  • The Milk Glut

    I am a man in my mid 40s. All my life, women have told me I was pudgy and unattractive. I have never met a woman to love me as I am. It feels like all women are only interested in flash and glamour, and many do not have time for fat guys like me. I did get a girl pregnant, but when I asked her to marry me, she explained she just wanted to have kids, not a father and definitely not me to actually live with her and be a father. Now, all my money from work except a little goes to her and the kids.

    I would try this body image marijuana therapy, but I cannot afford to buy any weed, infact, I am 80K in debt, I do not own a car, and my room mate cannot afford half of the 400$ rent, so this month, like last year in December, I will be moving into a homeless shelter. Too bad, I really am tired of hating myself.

    • You certainly don’t need cannabis in order to change your body image my friend! It’s all about your intention and choice patterns. If you think about it, you have kind of been conditioned to see yourself the way that you are most likely. If you could condition yourself to see yourself in a negative light, you can certainly condition yourself to see yourself in a positive light! It takes little steps every day. Do you see the truth and goodness in the Golden Rule? Now flip it back on yourself buddy! 🙂

      • The Milk Glut

        Well Thanks? I am now just poor and fat and a slave to a women who hates me, but somehow I can adjust my intentions and be a happy slave. Neat.

        • You’re proving my point. Who said you are or should be a slave to anyone? Your perspective is skewed. Serve your damn self some self love dude. Victim mentalities get nobody anywhere.

          • Mrs. Doyle

            It seems young pretty women, such as yourself, invalidating his experience has been the problem. No one likes to be invalidated or torn down to be built up. It’s difficult to teach self compassion to someone with hostility.

          • Ray Alvarez

            His experiences are not being invalidated, he is seeking to be enabled through emotional manipulation. Every one of his hardships are more choices that he is unhappy with and not talking responsibility for. The point she is making is he in greatly contributing mostly unknowingly to the suffering he is complaining about being in. Instead of acknowledging his power to change critical perspectives in his life that are causing him great detriment, he would rather just continue to seek sympathy as a victim anyway. You can teach self compassion, it’s some thing we all learn for ourselves intime.

          • Mrs. Doyle

            I couldn’t agree with you more that he has chosen to wallow and needs to make a bunch of mental shifts, adjustments, tweaks, and full on remodels in the noggin. A large portion of the planet asks for help in this warped way, his expression of hurt is not unique, or special. It’s how people learned to get help.

            That being said, ripping the fella a new one to teach him a lesson about self compassion is just as off base.

            I should have ignored both their comments and moved on, not feeding their animals. I’ll own that. My knickers get knotted when I see someone getting kicked when they are down, regardless of how right/wrong their expression of that is judged to be.

            I could be wrong and people enjoy getting a drill sergeant treatment from a stranger when they are down and posted something lame online.

            Whatever, this was much more interesting than the article. Thanks for the mental tickle 🙂

          • The Milk Glut

            I cant get anywhere either. All of my money is sucked up by this woman. I will never be able to do anything but work. What does that make me? It makes me a slave. You seem to be saying cheer up and get into a better place with a better perspective, but what you do not understand is that I literally cannot move out of this place. I will never be able to stop being a slave. There is nothing I can serve myself. Everything costs money, and all the money I make goes to her. I met this girl, but once she realized what was going on, she bailed and fast. No one wants to be around me, because this is miserable. I can`t afford shampoo, so I shave my head. I can`t afford bar soap, so I use dish soap. My apartment has no electricity because they cut it off. The rent is 4 months past due and the land lords have ordered an eviction and the constable is coming soon. After that I will be living in a homeless shelter if I can find one, and that means I will lose all my stuff and my job is a 15 mile walk, so no, you are wrong, I can love myself, but I am still a poor broke ugly slave and that is all I am ever going to be.

          • Ray Alvarez

            1. It isn’t about lying to yourself that you are happy when you are not, it’s about finding things that really are around you, that you find joy in.

            2. You say you are “tired of hating yourself” but you seem to have plenty of energy for it by writing how you are (pudgy, unattractive, fat, and suffering in misery) You are comfortable in your suffering because it is familiar, but only you can change that.

            3. The main thing to take away is that freedom starts in the mind. You currently are a slave with no way out, because that’s what you believe. You can try to compare sob stories all day, but in the end circumstances are irrelevant, the only thing that matters is what you take from those circumstances. You are currently choosing to take the pain, hurt, degradation, humiliation, and depreciation from your past. It is your choice, but it is equally as true for you to take lessons from your mistakes, empathy from your pain, and growth from your challenges.

            Stop giving your power to others and start realizing nothing in your life will change until you do.

          • The Milk Glut

            Thanks for trying to make me feel more confident.

            Someone stole my shoes last night from the shelter! Its -13 and I do not have any shoes. I called my ex she said she was calling the courts to have me arrested. I talked to my manager and she said because i have missed work so much she has removed me from the schedule. The shelter is 15$ a night and I have no shoes, so now, I am going to have to find a box to make shoes out of and a place under the bridge where they keep garbage fires lit all night. I really really wish I had never had a kid.
            Also, I am transgender so there is only one shelter in the whole city I can get into. If I go to the mens shelter I get beaten and/or gang banged or both. It depends on how much money was available for booze. My schitzofrena is better right now but this kind of stuff always makes me scared itll triger again. Geez its cold!!!

          • Lilly

            I just want to add a word of support for The Milk Glut. We are not always personally responsible for our suffering. We live in a world in which bad things can happen and social support has been gutted to the point of nonexistence. One medical emergency can wipe out a savings account. A person who has fallen low in his own esteem and in the reality of the material world will find it extremely difficult to change, especially with constant stress and without support. You are not alone, Mr. Milk Glut. May you find a tiny spark of light someday that you can follow to relief. My thoughts are with you.

          • The Milk Glut

            Someone stole my shoes last night from the shelter! Its -13 and I do not have any shoes. I called my ex she said she was calling the courts to have me arrested. I talked to my manager and she said because i have missed work so much she has removed me from the schedule. The shelter is 15$ a night and I have no shoes, so now, I am going to have to find a box to make shoes out of and a place under the bridge where they keep garbage fires lit all night. I really really wish I had never had a kid.

            Also, I am transgender so there is only one shelter in the whole city I can get into. If I go to the mens shelter I get beaten and/or gang banged or both. It depends on how much money was available for booze. My schitzofrena is better right now but this kind of stuff always makes me scared itll triger again. Geez its cold!!!

  • Boogaloo2

    I have had a very poor body image for all of my seventy-three years, due to obesity. I love cannabis, and often use it several days in a row for pain management. But when I use it, I eat lot more than when I don’t use it. And when I overeat, I gain weight, which of course has a negative impact on my body image. So as much as I’d like to agree, and as much as I love cannabis, in my case, I cannot agree with your argument. And as a long-term student of metaphysics and self-help techniques, I can assure you that even if your argument is valid, the same techniques can be used, and the same results can be achieved, without using marijuana. As Migas says below, this article is propaganda. Which is fine, as long as you don’t present it as fact or science. Thank you.

    • Cathrine Mihm

      Different strain

  • Joe

    This is pot head talk, nonsense. There is no news, let fill the space with pot head philosophy. Useless.

  • Amanda LaBrock

    To this post I’m sorry but it’s not true. Cannabis in many strains causes anxiety and body image issues are amplified by anxiety. Sorry, but this post is complete nonsense.

  • Ray Alvarez

    I have recently been using weed as a means to increase productivity, work out more intensely, and releasing built up tension. I fully believe in the ability to utilize the altered state of mind as a means to mental reprogram automatic behaviors toward more adaptive patterns.The way cannabinoids interact with homeostasis mechanisms all over the body seems to hint toward the possibility of a mental homeostasis. Not to mention the possible interactions with neural plasticity. I do believe your claims would be better supported with some studies, but it’s hard to do them with all the bullshit red tape they have created around Marijuana due to propaganda.

    Strain of weeds or any other drug do not cause paranoia, we fall into paranoia by losing control of our thoughts and having spirals of rumination that trigger physiological responses. That’s not the same as a catalyst triggering something.

  • Cathrine Mihm

    What Fun. …nothing but great stuff.Dont tell me you have a Spa too. …gotta run but big Thanks 💚