The search for spirituality and wellness is driving new image for cannabis

The search for spirituality and wellness is driving new image for cannabis

Marijuana policy would have us thinking there are only two ways to use cannabis: medically, for severe conditions, and recreationally, for adults who just want to get high. Of course, the medical-versus-recreational dichotomy fails to account for the variety of other nuanced reasons to consume cannabis — reasons that, in fact, are increasingly becoming the primary motivation behind cannabis consumption.

So picture this: a cannabis ceremony that defines the herb as sacred and invites participants to journey inward. As with other plant ceremonies, be it cacao or ayahuasca, the ceremony is musical and honors the plant's inherent wisdom and spirit — as unfamiliar as that notion may be to those who've experienced only the clinical atmosphere of a medical dispensary, or the commercialism of adult-use cannabis.

Cannabis for spirituality and wellness — to nourish the soul, if you will — goes beyond pure recreation or specified medical purposes. Putting aside any judgments about hippie-dippie rhetoric, spirituality and wellness are increasingly the driving factors behind today's "new" cannabis consumption.

"Cannabis is a sacred plant that you need to commune with and properly respect," says Sari Gabbay, who leads a cannabis ceremony at her annual retreat, Cannabliss, happening April 19-24 in Malibu. "Cannabis brings you to yourself, to come home to where you are. When you do a ceremony and sit with intention, it allows you to reveal aspects of you that you need to look at, contemplate, feel and observe. It's a healing and ritualistic way of working with cannabis."

Founder of creative agency Redefining Cannabis, Gabbay's life work is offering a new spin on the cannabis plant. Through her branding and marketing work, alongside curating the Cannabliss retreat, Gabbay is modernizing the image of cannabis by drawing on ancient wisdom about wellness and sacred plant-based medicine.

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