Cannabis and Spirituality 003: Set and Setting

“Set refers to everything you bring to the encounter:  your history, your personality, your psycho-spiritual make up, your intention, and the preparation you undertake related to the taking of the medicine. Do you meditate? Do you yoga? Do you treat cannabis as a sacrament? 

Setting is the actual environment and conditions in which you use the plant. How was your intention reflected in the setting? Is it a comfortable, uplifted environment? Is there an attitude of treating the space as a ritual space, and do you do anything to make the experience into a ritual or practice? This might be something as brief and as simple as sitting straight up, thanking the plant for its kindness and teaching, expressing an intention, and dedicating your smoking to spirit.”

–Stephen Gray

Coming to a clear understanding of how both the set and setting play a crucial role in the experience that you have with cannabis is the first step to developing a deeply spiritual relationship to the plant. Often times, the way we first encounter the plant does not require or ask of us to set an intention, or doesn’t take place in an environment that is conducive to spiritual growth. It doesn’t require us to do our own self-evaluation or prompt us to ask what stories about cannabis we tell ourselves, or the stories we tell ourselves about who we are because we use it.

But over time, you ask yourself why? Why you smoke so much. Why are you only smoking in social settings. Why you care about what other people think that you do smoke. Why you feel like cannabis might be holding you back, keeping you stagnant or in a mental fog. These are all things that at some point a cannabis consumer has asked themselves.

This usually presents itself as the moment that many decide to stop using cannabis. And for those of us who seek the answers, it’s where our cannabis practice and spiritual evolution meet one another.

A few things to consider trying if you’re beginning on this journey:

Do your own self evaluation. I’ve created one here.

Create your own cannabis mantra. Be selective about the words you use, but find ones that resonate with you and your intention for using the plant. It doesn’t have to be super deep or esoteric. As long as it feels right and it’s authentic.

Journal your experience with consideration for the setting you’ve created. This is not to say that it has to look like using cannabis before yoga or a meditation. This could look like making mental notes about how much you enjoyed a night out, the freedom of movement because you smoked beforehand. Or how much better, or worse, your sleep was after you had an edible before bed.

Start to develop an awareness about yourself and your relationship to the practice.