I must confess: I am an introvert, and I happen to enjoy cannabis.
So the question again, is: is cannabis bad for introverts?
Honestly, I’d say no, but depending on set and setting, and the strains you’re using.
Cannabis is an extremely personal substance, well within the realm of introverts, who should be used to doing and dealing with things in their own way by now.
Obviously if you’ve decided for yourself that cannabis is bad for you or not, feel free to read one of our other fine posts in the sidebar.
This is decidedly an opinion piece. It’s not meant to convert or persuade anyone or sell anything (no cannabis affiliates on the net exist — yet), but rather to affirm to people who are already open to it but might otherwise hold some reservations against it for not knowing enough.
Nevertheless, if you’re interested in learning more about it based on my experiences, please read on!
The subjective properties and effects of cannabis
Subjectively, cannabis amplifies the senses and can uplift the mood. It relieves pain and generally increases bodily and physical awareness.
For highly sensitive people like introverts, who tend to retreat far back into their minds and are often alienated from their physical being, cannabis may be an excellent catalyst for becoming a more unified person, able to inhabit and become familiar with their whole body and the physical senses in addition to the mind.
It’s a very sensual substance, letting one experience and appreciate music, art, food, walking, sex and more on a new level. I have personally used it as a sort of training wheels to take this sort of way of looking at things back into sober, waking life. It’s a definite eye-opener.
Cannabis and introversion
Introverts are already well inside their minds, and cannabis can only make them become more comfortable and acquainted with it, like a fire in a hearth that warms a home. A mature introvert will be familiar with the inner realm of their own selves, their emotions, the deepest feelings down to their core. We all build our own sort of internal language that allows us to gauge why we feel a way about a given thing or situation.
Cannabis amplifies certain feelings, bringing them to the forefront of our conscious minds, but allowing us to examine them from a different, crude perspective. For the uninitiated, this can be overwhelming. But a calm introvert can handle it well, learning how to take the cannabis in stride, and ride it like a rollercoaster: exuberant, but fun.
At the end of it, we come out as stronger people, ready to handle it again and tackle something under a new perspective. Similar things could be said about many psychoactive drugs, but cannabis is extremely safe compared to other substances.
Cannabis and socialization
Cannabis is sometimes used as a social lubricant, much in the way alcohol is as well. However, cannabis also has the nasty propensity to make some people very anxious, not unlike actual rollercoasters.
Generally, I believe an introvert should use cannabis by themselves first, taking modest doses then going higher, with some discretion. (I’ll write something about learning to take cannabis soon.)
If an introvert suffers social anxiety greatly, and they are uncomfortable in social situations, cannabis should be avoided because it brings those emotions front and center in your mind’s field of view. Alcohol would be preferable, provided that one understands the risks that come from indulging in it.
No doubts about it: cannabis gets a bad rap as a motivation killer. I even ragged on stoners here in my review of 30 Days of Discipline. No hard feelings to pot users, but plenty of the unmotivated seek refuge in cannabis. The motivated will be able to use it as a “spiritual” tool of sorts. Hopefully you can infer what I mean by that.
We see all kinds of pop culture references to people using cannabis as an escape, a way to be lazy and do nothing all the time. It’s true, cannabis makes doing fun things even more fun, and this includes all of the typical hedonistic pursuits.
An introvert with a soul, a solid mission and a plan in mind shouldn’t fear this however. People with low motivation and nothing to do in their lives use cannabis to numb the pain from living a life of no work and no rewards. They use it to escape from whatever soul-killing, meaningless things they are doing in life, and they can’t reap any of the higher benefits cannabis has to offer.
If you know in your heart and the very fabric of your being that you have a mission and that you’re on it and willing to move mountains to achieve it, cannabis can bring that front and center for you to focus on, and using it once in a while shouldn’t stop you.
Obviously some work is best done while sober, but while under the influence, cannabis can yield some insights and breakthroughs that you might otherwise experience at seemingly random moments. It is a great creative tool for insight to liberate our spirits from the trappings of a mundane life in (what we believe to be) an extroverted world.
Cannabis and anxiety
This is where I warn you that cannabis isn’t an absolute miracle: some people encounter deep anxiety with certain thoughts. If you can get anxiety from your own thoughts while sober, you probably shouldn’t use cannabis at all.
In the past, I used to experience anxiety from cannabis mainly because of the negative association with its use and one or two bad experiences. Now that I can use it discretely and without question, I have no problem with it whatsoever in moderation. Those prior bad experiences in my mind were related to circumstances outside of the substance itself, and every experience following that has only been good.
Cultivating and maintaining a positive mindset ensures that you will carry that mindset in and out of your cannabis experience. If you can maintain a positive and constructive mindset while under the influence, you’re golden.
Cannabis, breakthroughs and creativity
If you’re stuck in a boring old rut or routine, cannabis can be one way to shake things up.
This is a godsend for creativity, as increased creativity means being able to synthesize new ideas from old, seemingly disparate concepts. Creativity can carry over into nearly all areas of life, not just in art, and I believe it can help to promote mental growth and development.
Of course, this assumes that you don’t make the use of cannabis itself into a routine. Do keep this in mind.
Cannabis strains for introverts
In a calm setting where I am alone and I want to experience the realm of my own mind (so mystical man, like whoa), I prefer to use sativa and sativa dominant hybrid strains.
THC, one of the most well known cannabinoids in cannabis, is a potent psychoactive substance that can help you experience thoughts from new angles.
Though sativa dominant, high THC strains tend to increase feelings of anxiety in some people, I find that taking some l-theanine helps to reduce this if not eliminate it altogether. Thanks to theanine, I no longer worry much about feeling anxiety with cannabis at modest dosages and it allows me to enjoy the experience unfettered.
Indica strains are OK, but I don’t find that they are as cerebral as the sativa strains and tend to be more sedating and relaxing. The indica dominant strains with high CBD ratios tend to help one to relax in modest doses, and if one is handling an indica strain in the daytime, some coffee with theanine tends to go well with it.
When should an introvert stay away from cannabis?
For one, if your career requires that you not use it, don’t use it. People in government jobs or anything where drug testing is frequent and/or mandatory will find using cannabis to be very inconvenient.
Secondly, if you have experienced deep emotional pain that is only amplified from its use, stay away from it until you sort it out and are comfortable with life in general. Most people I have met who use it however seem to be well adjusted to it. The ones who use it as an escape tend to have a whole host of other problems unrelated to the cannabis itself.
Thirdly, if you have high social anxiety, you probably should not try cannabis in a crowded or social setting unless you are comfortable with your dosage and ability to titrate it. Redness relief eye drops help to keep people from knowing that you’ve used it if this happens to be the source of your cannabis anxiety.
Lastly, if you have never tried cannabis before, you should not use cannabis unless you can guarantee you will be in a nice, calm place where you feel safe, preferably with someone who has used it before and is relaxing to hang out with. Good first experiences are essential to building good subsequent experiences. Smoking or vaporizing will only give you a high for approximately an hour, so this is ideal for a first time experience.
One final interesting fact is that you should not use cannabis while studying for anything unless you intend to take your test or perform while still under the influence of cannabis: Any information you happen to learn in a given state of mind is best retrieved in a similar state of mind(set) and setting. This could also apply to nootropics. Remember: neurons that fire together, wire together. You’ll also save money if you’re not constantly using your stuff either.
Unless you swallowed the blue pill about cannabis, that D.A.R.E. was right and you’ll be a loser doing harder drugs and wind up a criminal in jail, or that cannabis is some kind of wild “Jewish” or “reptilian” conspiracy to make Americans more dim-witted and slothful (this is how the media depicts it, after all), you’ll find that this controversial little plant has a lot of good things to offer to us and has a storied history of use by many peoples and cultures around the world.
Introverts must navigate and interact with the world in a very lonely but unique way, and cannabis helps make that perception of this world much less alienating and cold, and more inviting and welcome, so that eventually, the negative glasses come off on their own. If you can use it judiciously, constructively, and in moderation I do not see the harm in its use, even daily, as long as it doesn’t become an escape or an impediment to your personal mission or goals.
If you want to learn more about it, check out the Erowid vault on cannabis.
(Featured image from transmitdistort @ DeviantArt)