Updated: Aug 24
Hola, I am Ocho. It is with great appreciation that I introduce Mar Berdejo, a trusted plant medicine practitioner here at Ocho. Mar has honed her expertise in merging the ancient practice of meditation with the therapeutic benefits of cannabis. With a deep reverence for both mindfulness and the healing properties of cannabis, Mar has embarked on a journey to help individuals find inner peace, clarity, and self-discovery through this powerful combination.
Through her practice, Mar has witnessed the transformative and life-changing effects of these sacred plant medicines on countless individuals. She offers valuable insights into the transformative potential of cannabis meditation, sharing her expertise on its therapeutic benefits, spiritual significance, and its profound power to help connect with your higher self.
Can you share what you personally gained through your own practice, and how it has impacted your life?
I realized that I have a very active mind. It has been a journey to learn how to be in the body. I tried meditation; all kinds of meditation. There was something that was not clicking for me. With cannabis meditation, I learned how my body feels when I am dysregulated. Using a plant to assist the process has helped me get to know myself; to get into the body, to feel what is in the body, and to release a lot of energy, which can also be called trauma, that has been stuck.
It has helped me develop a meditation practice where I don't need anything else except my breath and my attention to really sit and be with myself. It has helped me with my creative process, getting to know myself, getting to know how it feels when my body says yes and when my body says no. It has allowed me to come back to that child-like energy that I know I have hidden for many years. It has also allowed me to become more secure in myself by giving me tools to get back to a regulated state. I trust that I can deal with whatever comes.
How do you guide your clients through cannabis meditation?
I could say, everyone. This is a practice that is really friendly for anybody who is willing to look at themselves. If somebody doesn’t want to feel, then maybe it's not for them. Cannabis is a friendly plant and it works with the third energy center, which is willpower. Different from other plant medicine, like when you take ayahuasca and the medicine just takes you on a ride, teaches you, takes you in her power and whenever she's done with you she lets you go, cannabis asks to meet you where you are and with presence and attention you can go as deep as you want. You can also get in your head and choose not to look, but that's not where the work is.
So I think this practice can benefit anybody. People with anxiety, people with depression, people that feel really lost, people that have abused this plant a lot and want to have a better relationship with her, people who have horrible trips or are scared of her, and people that have never tried it. It is such a different experience, even for people who smoked for 20 years, they are like “Woah! I didn't know this plant could do so much!”.
How do you guide your clients through cannabis meditation?
It’s always different. It is different whether it's a one-on-one session or a group session. It can also be a little different for people who are doing it for the first time. Every session has the same structure and inside of the structure I flow and I can see how my inner guidance and cannabis are guiding the process.
I explain what to expect, and what is going to happen and talk a little about their intentions; their expectations of the practice. I learn how they are in their body and understand them to make sure I can speak their language and I can guide them in a way that makes sense for them. I also talk a little bit about the spiritual part of the practice. To me, it’s a plant that has a spirit and with the breath, a lot can happen during the session. Just because that’s true for me, doesn’t mean it’s true for everybody. So, I explain how that works for me and invite them to explore in whatever way works for them.
After we build trust in the container, we breathe to ground ourselves and really come into the present moment. I use different techniques depending on what they need, then I open the space, set an intention and say a prayer to the medicine. Usually, my partner Shane is in the session too, so he is part of this process. Then we smoke together. With the process of smoking, it is important that it is slow and mindful and we pay attention to every step of the process. Making sure we are putting intention in every action. In the fire, in the lighter, in the breath, we invite the plant into our body and into our cannabinoid system. Slowing down enough that we can actually feel that moment when the onset happens because those small moments are really when we start wiring a new awareness of our inner landscape. In the future when we get triggered and suddenly we are overreacting, we start developing a way of understanding what is triggering us and how we are reacting.
Then we breathe. The kind of breathwork we do is different depending on the intention of the session and the people we are working with. We breathe in order to activate the medicine. The medicine activates with breath, the deeper you breathe the stronger the medicine will take effect. Once we have been there a while, we lay down and we go into our bodies and meditate. The intention is to get into the body and allow the thoughts, realizations, and everything to be able to fully come into the body and feel what is there.
Some people say to relax their body, but sometimes that is not possible in the first session. If we have been having a really tight neck that always holds the head, we cannot ask someone in the first session to just relax. When we allow ourselves to look at the neck, feel it and accept how it feels in the moment and let it be, automatically the neck starts to relax
During the process, things come up and that's when we feel. It can feel really psychedelic. It can feel like a lot happening at once. But when we go into a part of the body where we were holding some emotion, usually an emotional process can happen, or a memory can appear, a realization, or an answer. Everything we feel in the body is connected to an emotion or something that happened in the past. So when we start getting into the body we start releasing. The only way to release emotions is to go through them.
In your experience, how does cannabis-enhanced meditation compare to traditional meditation practices?
Cannabis potentializes everything we are feeling. Cannabis is not making us feel any certain way. It’s just shining a light on everything that we are already feeling. It helps, because when we are feeling strongly in the body, even when the mind wants to say, “Hey! Don't look at that, look at me, there’s an answer here!” you can choose to go into your body. Without cannabis, sometimes it's hard because the mind is too noisy, too busy, and too protective against us feeling what we really need to feel.
How do you think cannabis is misused in the world today?
Some people treat cannabis like she's the whore of the plants. Everyone uses it just to get high and to get the giggles, or to relax, or to sleep. Some people just use her and when you just use her and don't respect her, she is going to give you what you want. If you want to dissociate or numb, she will help you do that.
Cannabis is like the cute girl from a party; she is really cute, but you don't think she could be smart or intelligent, so people want to be next to her because of her looks. Once you sit down and talk to her you see her depth, intelligence, and magic. And that's what cannabis is to me.
Even people who take cannabis for sleep and pain. Yes, but you get those benefits by learning how to activate her, and by activating her, you are also activating your body and connecting with your higher self. As we learn how to go into the body and feel safe enough to connect with our physical body, then we can connect with everything. The physical body is a portal to our higher self.
How would you like to see the field of cannabis meditation evolving in the coming years?
The more people this practice can reach, the better. This is an extremely self-empowering practice and I would love to see more people choosing to meditate with cannabis because when people can realize that they are the medicine, they can realize that all the work we need to do is here and now. We can have mystical and amazing experiences of oneness by choosing to be here now.
Now I see how the woman who developed this practice, some years ago, now has hundreds of people following it. We started following this practice in San Pancho 6 months ago. We started with 2 people in my living room and last Friday we had 20 people here at Ocho and people kept asking, wanting to know more. I am realizing how fruitful this can be for them and their relationships. I really hope this practice can expand.
It’s also amazing that you can do this from your house, online. Doing it in person is really amazing but if you can't do that, just connecting to the community and learning how to work with your body and process can be valuable, even without cannabis.
Do you have any advice for anyone who is interested in exploring cannabis meditation for themselves?
My advice would be to go slow. A lot of the time, less is more, and even for people who have a strong relationship with cannabis in recreation I would recommend the first time you do cannabis meditation to go slow and don’t smoke a lot. If you don’t smoke enough, next time you can smoke more. Take the time to get to know the practice, and get to really feel into it. Trust that the body is a very wise living ecosystem. If you give him or her permission, it’s going to do what it needs to do for his or her highest benefit.
What does Ocho mean to you?
First of all, I am super grateful to Ocho for opening the doors to us, saying yes to this practice, being so open and resonating with why this practice is important. Ocho is a great place to share cannabis meditation because there are other holistic treatments that happen here and cannabis meditation is a great way to prepare somebody for a big journey or to help them integrate from that journey. It’s also a way to start introducing somebody to meditation and plant medicine at Ocho, with everything it offers. Like how cannabis binds to the cannabinoid system, bringing cannabis meditation into this space is binding to what is needed at Ocho.
I love to see the community that gathers here every Friday. We all meditate together and I can see how they are starting to feel safer and safer in the container. Now we stay and share food and laugh and enjoy that part that cannabis gives us. Relaxing, laughing, and sharing ideas at Ocho.