Multiple studies have shown that gardening is an art that promotes various mental health benefits, as it can significantly reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, even if you don't have any previous experience.
In addition, some scientific research studies highlight that this activity involves the areas of learning and creativity in our brain while promoting physical movement. It seems that, if practiced consistently over a given period, gardening could help improve memory, mitigate post-traumatic stress, and reduce the effects of dementia.
Therefore, growing a small garden of aromatic cannabis plants alongside other plants like sunflowers, mint, or dill (a process known as 'companion planting') can be an escape from the pressures of everyday life and provide a source of calm, contentment, and mental well-being.
Because there's no doubt that, in this technological age in which we live, growing something with your own hands can be truly satisfying as it can offer a real sense of achievement.
Benefits of therapeutic gardening with cannabis
Although much has been said about the self-cultivation of cannabis for recreational or therapeutic purposes, many users discover during the process that the activity itself is also very comforting. This is a unique experience because, unlike other plants, cannabis has a relatively short life cycle and grows vigorously, so growers can get quick results, which in turn enhances gratification and provides a real sense of progress.
However, the sense of reward is not immediate. In stark contrast with the daily dopamine boost that you get from social media, for instance, growing cannabis helps you develop patience and dedication, two traits that are highly beneficial for a good state of mental health.
In a world where we've become accustomed to the 'here and now', it can be particularly useful to cultivate personal growth tools such as learning to wait, watching the growth and development of your plants, overcoming difficulties, and replacing immediate gratification with a reward that arrives because of the time and energy invested.
Cannabis growing and mindfulness
Growing cannabis implies sticking to a process that is determined by the plant; that's to say, by the natural life cycle in which the plant grows, develops, and flowers. Therefore, it is essential to follow a series of detailed steps and processes that require great care and attention (and even more so if you have some knowledge of the matter and apply advanced pruning and training techniques).
This process can act as a form of mindfulness, where the grower concentrates fully on the task, contributing to neutralizing obsessive circular thinking and decreasing stress and anxiety levels.
Therefore, some users claim that the time that they spend on their plants is like their own "personal ocean of peace"; a time to be alone and think of nothing else but the task at hand, setting aside the mental noise that often accompanies us like a broken record: worries, stress, negative thoughts…
Connection with nature and self-care
Growing cannabis also strengthens your connection with nature. And science has known for decades that being in contact with nature contributes to improving our psychological well-being. Spending time growing a cannabis garden provides direct contact with the terpenes that are present in the cannabis plant.
Terpenes are responsible for the aroma and flavor of cannabis and are found in most plants, flowers, and fruits of the vegetable kingdom. These aromatic molecules provide benefits to both mental and physical health.
For this reason, stress, depression, and anxiety sufferers are often recommended to take a 'forest bath'; in other words, to walk through nature to absorb those terpenes in the air, amongst many other benefits.
Cannabis is the plant with the highest terpene diversity, which translates into an incredibly complex aroma and flavor. What many don't know is that the different terpenes found in cannabis (such as limonene, myrcene, or linalool) also showcase calming, relaxing, and mood-boosting properties.
Moreover, getting in contact with the earth and doing healthy outdoor activities promote self-care routines and healthy habits that extend beyond the grow.
Extending your social network through a common interest
One of the main enemies of some mental disorders (especially depression) is isolation. Some people who suffer from anxiety, depression, stress, or other related conditions tend to become isolated, either out of shame or simply due to lack of motivation.
Several studies have proven that one of the key determining factors for humans to achieve happiness and fullness in life is gratifying interpersonal relations. Keeping ties with other people is extremely important to maintain good mental health.
In this sense, being part of a community of cannabis growers can offer a sense of belonging and social support. Sharing tips, challenges, and successes with other cannabis enthusiasts can be an enriching experience and an excellent way to combat loneliness and isolation.
Challenges and legal considerations
It is also important to address the challenges and legal considerations involved with cannabis cultivation. For cannabis growing to be a completely stress-free activity, users must be aware of local and state laws to ensure that it is done within the legal framework.
Growing cannabis as gardening therapy is more than just an activity; it is a journey to mental well-being that combines the therapeutic effects of gardening with the unique qualities of cannabis. This is a powerful tool that can improve your mental health and quality of life without a shadow of a doubt.