We all talk to ourselves. Some call it the “voice inside our heads” and it reveals our thoughts, beliefs, questions and ideas. Depending on your personality, you could either predominantly be a “positive self-talker” or a “negative self-talker”.
The internal voice is something that can radically affect your quality of life and your health. Here’s a snippet from the Mayo Clinic:
Positive thinking doesn’t mean that you keep your head in the sand and ignore life’s less pleasant situations. Positive thinking just means that you approach unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way. You think the best is going to happen, not the worst.
Positive thinking often starts with self-talk. Self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative. Some of your self-talk comes from logic and reason. Other self-talk may arise from misconceptions that you create because of lack of information. – Mayo Clinic
The health benefits of positive Self-Talk include;
Lower Rates of Depression
Lower Levels of Stress
Greater Immune function
Better psychological and physical wellbeing
Better Cardiovascular Health and reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
Of course, these benefits seem to be a trend but it isn’t a given that if you harbor positive self-talk that you’ll receive these benefits. It only shows that the majority of the people who engage in this type of thinking seem to exhibit these benefits.
Negative Self-Talk on the other hand can lead to depression, increased stress, which increases cortisol, which has a negative effect on immune function, and a plethora of other potential negative side effects.
This – after a long introduction – brings us to the premise of this article – how does cannabis affect your self-talk?
I saw this question posted on the Subreddit /EntWives where the title of a post read; “Cannabis helps me check and stop the negative self-talk in my head. When I’m high, it’s like I can see clearly that I am wonderful.”
This prompted me to reflect on my own self-talk and after some deep contemplation I too am in agreement, “smoking cannabis can help with negative self-talk”. However, it’s not always the case.
Before we jump into some potential reasons as to why cannabis may help improve self-talk, we’ll take a closer look at some of the other comments from the Subreddit.
It clears my head when I’m freaking. It doesn’t make issues disappear, but helps me calm down and move forward. I wish more people understood that.
This is an important point – cannabis won’t get rid of your problems, unless your problem is not having weed. While it’s true cannabis doesn’t evaporate problems into thin air, it does reduce your cortisol levels which allows you to see the problem from a different angle. Often times, all you need is a moment of “altered perception” to be able to see a solution you were previously blind to.
Smoking weed almost always reminds me not to take life too seriously. So many times I’ve been upset at something only to smoke and be like “oh yeah, this really isn’t a big deal”.
A sentiment echoed by the mystics of old – “don’t take life too seriously!” This world with all of its problems is a massive multi-player experience, and when you begin to become fixated on particular problems, you begin to fight against the tectonic nature of the universe – things are always in motion.
Rigidity of mind is often the cause of a lot of our suffering. Cannabis does give you the opportunity to see that “this isn’t such a big deal” which allows you to retract your emotional charge which oftentimes clears up the issues.
Sometimes I’ll start being all, “you stupid POS” at myself but then l have a hoot and I’m like “nah I’m pretty alright”
This is a direct interruption of negative-self talk. Potentially the euphoria associated with the cannabis high allows people to disrupt the negative feedback loop. You can’t “feel shitty” when giddiness is the side-effect of smoking weed.
Of course, this isn’t always the case. Some people have devolved into paranoid delusional thinking as a result of too much THC coupled with deeply entrenched neural networks associated with negative-self image.
However, if you were to smoke enough weed to relax your mind and your body, most of the time you’ll break the negative feedback loop and have the opportunity to begin to think in more positive terms. “Maybe it’s not so bad…” is one such thought that cannabis may inspire.
Yes! For me it clears up my “tunnel vision” of impending doom and helps stop my black-and-white thinking so I can see the full spectrum of possibility
This lines up with the vast majority of the rest of the responses – it “knocks people out of a singular way of thinking”, meaning it allows for non-linear thinking to take place. Your mind becomes more “plastic” in a neuroscientific way, meaning – it becomes more agile and capable of adapting to new norms.
This often times results in discovering that “aha” moment or receiving an epiphany relating to a particular subject.
If it works for PTSD…
While the science isn’t definite on how cannabis helps with PTSD, this study provides some insight;
Given that eCB processes are affected by stressors and can affect anxiety and fear,21 it was hypothesized that eCB functioning is tied to the development of PTSD, possibly through a corticotropin-releasing hormone–mediated reduction of anandamide in several brain regions.17 Paralleling this view, it was maintained that pharmacological manipulations of endogenous cannabinoids could be used in the treatment of PTSD.22 – SOURCE
If what they suggest is true, a reduction of anandamide in several brain areas could be responsible for creating the negative feedback loop of PTSD. Cannabis may be replenishing these endocannabinoids with phytocannabinoids – which interact with the endocannabinoid receptors.
Reactivating these diminished sections of the brain could be the reason why cannabis “disrupts” the feedback loop, allowing for the sufferer to change the framing of the trauma. Shifting the internal dialogue towards a more positive voice.
Perhaps, in the same vein of understanding we can find the reason why our internal voices tend to shift when under the influence of cannabis. Often times negative self-talk stems from minor traumatic experiences where we perceive our inadequacies amplified and our sense of “self” diminished.
Maybe cannabis simply reminds you life happens and you’re doing the best that you can do…so give yourself a break won’t you?