by Petar Petrov, Staff Writer for Terpenes and Testing Magazine
We all know the stereotype of the stoner whose couch poses a stronger gravitational pull than anything else on the entire planet. True as that may sometimes be, there’s another cliché we tend to forget about nowadays, one that actually dates much further back in time, all the way to the boom of counter-culture. And that cliché is the tree-hugging hippies.
Despite LSD use arguably being this sub-culture’s most signature “trait”, cannabis wasn’t far behind. And when it comes to modern-day hippies and nature lovers, the flower has probably dethroned LSD and become their favorite companion on hikes.
For lots of us, the flower is like another word for relaxation – and not just any kind of relaxation, but one that stems from letting your mind wander and immersing yourself deep into the moment instead of simply vegetating in front of the TV, especially when cannabis enthusiasm hasn’t turned into a cannabis habit.
And isn’t that pretty much the point of taking hikes into nature – to remember why all those clichés like “being in the moment” and “enjoying the little things” are actually pretty awesome until people start ruining them by tying them to their social media philosophy lessons? Cannabis and nature go hand-in-hand, because they enable experiences that are similar at their core, almost like two different manifestations of the same idea.
Cannabis also accentuates our sensory perception, causing us to experience colors more brightly and enhancing our visual acuity altogether. It’s no wonder that cannabis hiking makes trees greener, skies and seas bluer, and everything around you look as if it’s bathed in a perpetual sunset. Basically, nature comes to life, and so do you with it.
Lack of Pain And/or Fatigue
Hiking or even the mere act of walking can be a hefty task for those who suffer from pain and/or medical conditions. Cannabis varieties rich in CBD are known to alleviate pain and help you deal with physically-demanding activities. This way, your body won’t stop you from going where your mind wants to. Even the mentally strongest individuals might find it hard to rejoice in nature when their body is in severe pain for one reason or another.
Cannabis as a Psychedelic
According to a study called Psychedelics, Personality and Political Perspectives, psychedelics like mushrooms and LSD, along with other lesser known ones, increase our appreciation for nature, not just as a source of beauty, but as an indispensable source of life without which our existence is doomed.1 The study found that psychedelics can serve as a resounding call to action whose urgency demands immediate attention.
Even though cannabis compared to psychedelics is like a poodle next to a pit bull, LSD pioneer Timothy Leary considers cannabis “the mildest of psychedelics”, but a psychedelic nonetheless. He defines a psychedelic experience as any “period of intensely heightened reactivity to sensory stimuli within and without.” And he knows a thing or two about taking mental trips to other dimensions.
It seems as though cannabis, psychedelics, and nature are all interconnected, which is why being in the middle of them can feel just like home.
Cultivars for Hiking
We all know THC is generally a mood trampoline, but going overboard can put you in a vegetative state. However, moderate cannabis use of the right cultivars can spark your wanderlust and desire to explore or even simply rejoice in familiar natural spots.
The general rule of thumb is sativa, as strong or even mild indicas can chill you to such an extent that even the prospect of space exploration might not overpower the allure of your couch. But as we know, these characterizations are highly individualistic, and so, trial-and-error experimentation is often paramount to finding the right cannabis variety for your natural experience.
Keeping a relative balance is always a good idea as feeling overtly hyper might defeat the purpose of relaxing and taking in natural landscapes.
Blue Dream is one of the more popular sativa-dominant hybrids, as it’s potent enough to get you there, but not so much that you won’t remember how you got there. It charges you with a lightheaded, uplifting buzz, perfect for mid-day nature hikes and activities.
Fruit Spirit is considered a deeply spiritual cultivar, a catalyst for connection with your surroundings. Despite technically being on the sativa side, it’s a hybrid, making it a perfect for the mid-way points of your journey - before you head back, for example. It will relax you and refresh your perspective without knocking you out, as long as you’re careful.
Other popular varieties among hikers are Durban Poison, for being the virtual reality of cannabis as it lets the imagination unfurl, as well as Alaskan Thunder Fuck which is more like the Monster of cannabis, making it more suitable for a journey’s beginning. Its effects gradually settle into a milder form of euphoria that keeps flowing through you throughout your hike. It’s also worth mentioning that Durban Poison can be very potent and should be used with caution, preferably in closer proximity to home.
Knowing all this, the mysterious synergy between cannabis and nature might not seem as mysterious anymore, but certainly no less magical.
- Nour MM et al, Psychedelics, Personality and Political Perspectives, J Psychoactive Drugs, Jul-Aug;49(3):182-191. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2017
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