A Cannabis Retreat for Veterans with PTSD

June 29, 2023

By Juliane Nowe, Founder of LadyNowe

This past summer my partner and I led our first retreat together for 16 veterans, all experienced medical marijuana patients. They arrived on a Friday morning at 9 am and we closed the space at 1 pm on a Sunday. We talked a lot about intention and gratitude throughout the weekend.

On the last evening together we combined these two things powerful words together to do a conscious cannabis ceremony. My life partner and I had everything set up downstairs to prepare the set and setting. These are two very important components. Stephan Gray explains these two terms greatly in his book “Cannabis and Spirituality”. 

The set:

  • Everything you bring to the encounter:
  • Your history, personality,
  • Psycho-spiritual design
  • Your intention
  • Any preparation and explanations taken before taking the medicine
The Setting:
  • The setting is the actual environment and conditions in which you meet the plant
  • How is your intention reflected in the setting?
  • How is your environment?
  • Is it comfortable?
  • Are there mats and blankets or cushions to sit on?
  • Are you respecting the environment
  • Are there any rituals?

How a Retreat Begins

Our set and setting included each person being asked to bring an item to be placed on the altar. They could leave it there or take it back home with them after we closed the space on Sunday afternoon.

Other items we added were:

  • candles
  • soft music
  • Incense
  • Ganesh blanket on the wall behind the altar table
  • crystals, stones
  • wooden carving of an owl

The Facilitators

My life partner and I asked everyone to come downstairs one at a time after we asked the first person to come down and being respectful to the space and to each other by being as silent as possible while each person had their experience. Before anyone came downstairs to the set and setting we set our own intentions. I went first. I sat down on a yoga cushion facing the altar and placed my item on the altar. It was a rose quartz crystal shaped as a heart.

I set my intention. As one of the facilitators of the weekend, my intention was to hold space for each person and to keep the space held as a container for love. He placed the cannabis into a sacred pipe we had bought one our travels. The pipe is long and is wooden with leather and feathers. He said the Santa Maria prayer which he made up himself for the group, in repeat after me style “ Blessings on this plant. Peace be on the Earth. This is our time to heal. She gave us our rebirth”. Before inhaling, silently in my mind I said “thank you” to the plant herself and breathed in.

Veterans Experiences and Perspectives

We asked for one person to come downstairs. We continued until everyone had their turn. We saged each person into the room. We saged the room after everyone was done.

For the rest of the weekend we asked them to set the intention that before they smoked, vaped or ate an edible to silently say thank you before doing do. Those two words before connecting with cannabis is enough to ignite conscious awareness and connection to yourself, cannabis and your surroundings.

Our clients at the retreat are experienced with medical marijuana. If someone was a new user, after the first inhale and exhale we would tell them before going leaving the space to wait at least 20 minutes. If they want more then, they can come back down, sit on the cushion and inhale and exhale their intention and gratitude again.

This can be repeated periodically, with the same wait time in between, until they feel they are in a good space with the plant or we feel that it's time to take a break. It's all about being aware and using your feelings and heart.

Expanding Their Conscious Experience

After consuming cannabis consciously. You can expand this conscious experience by meditating, doing yoga, laying in savasana on a yoga mat or in the grass, taking a walk through nature while forest bathing and noticing all of your senses, take your time to make a nutritious meal that you can enjoy yourself or with others, turn on vibration music that matches your chakra energy system, go for a reiki treatment or massage or take time to connect and slow down your breath in a quiet setting.

Adding Consciousness to Your Experience At Home

As a cannabis coach and my partner being the founder of 11 medical marijuana clients across Canada, the most common thing we experience are new patients saying they don't know where to start. Some have had a bad experience with smoking or consuming too much or not the right strain for the time of day to suit their individual needs, resulting in an unwanted experience that has now made them timid to experience cannabis again.

Using the method of Conscious Cannabis will elevate any new recreational users experience or creating a lasting and lifelong impact of healing for medical cannabis patients.

About the Author

Juliane Nowe is the founder of LadyNowe, YogaNowe and LiveNowe. She is a Cannabis Coach, Holistic Health and Life Coach, Yoga Teacher, Reiki Master and Practitioner and Podcast and YouTube Host of Live the New Way NOWe. She combines her personal experience, trainings and intuition to guide individuals back to their true nature.

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