by Kathy Goff, EdD
Growing marijuana is proving to be as therapeutic as consuming it. There are a great many therapeutic benefits from nurturing and growing a plant. Gardening stimulates. It engages all of our senses, not just the sights, sounds and smells around us, but touch too. The textures of soil and plants tell a story.
People have created and used gardening for therapeutic and educational purposes for years. Growing cannabis creates a healthy routine, relaxation, joy and a sense of accomplishment. Healthy habits give opportunities to experience good feelings throughout the day. Growing cannabis requires careful tending on a regular schedule every day.
Focusing on a single task produces a meditative mindset and requires us to be mindful of something outside of ourselves, which eases stress and anxiety. Meditation activates the nervous system’s relaxation response. A study at Johns Hopkins found meditation to be as effective as antidepressants in treating anxiety and depression.
Horticulture therapy is based on the understanding that caring for another living thing and watching it flourish gives a sense of purpose and empowerment. Horticulture therapy dates back to Socrates. In the 18th century, it was scientifically documented to have a positive effect on individuals with mental health challenges.
A fundamental element of horticultural therapy is the belief that contact with plants meets a basic human psychological need. Horticulture therapy can help people recovering from long-term illness or mental challenges. Caring for a plant is a role reversal that boosts confidence and gives a renewed sense of purpose.
Gardening is a form of self-expression. It involves personal initiative, personal effectiveness and opportunities for accomplishment. Growing cannabis requires diligence, persistence and personal responsibility. It reminds us that change and renewal are possible.
Watching a plant grow and thrive is a transformative experience that warms the heart and boosts self-esteem. Looking after plants gives us a way to gain a sense of control and responsibility. It helps us relax and let go. Gardening allows us to tap into the carefree part of ourselves with no deadlines or demands to worry about.
Growing cannabis requires independent learning. Self-education is a core component of home growing. Every plant is different and everyone has an opinion on how to best grow your plants. This requires our problem-solving skills and provides the mental stimulation that feeds our brains. Learning is a good way to keep mindfully occupied while dealing with the effects of trauma or illness.
Growing brings gratification, rewards and improved quality of life. Gardening gives us a way to look forward instead of backwards. It requires hope that our efforts will result in something of value. Not only do we get the benefits and therapy from gardening, we also get the benefits of growing our own medicine and the peace of mind that comes with it. Grow it for medicine, for fun or just to see if you can, either way, growing cannabis is beneficial on so many levels.