Cannabis use can of course heighten your senses and create space for grounding. Some also use it as a tool for connecting with the universal energy that runs through all living things. As cannabis use becomes exponentially accepted, the herb is finding a new home with other alternative holistic therapies. One of these is Reiki, an energy healing practice known for promoting relaxation, clarity and behaving as a complementary therapy for pain, anxiety and mood.

Lauren Mooney is a New York City-based Reiki practitioner who personally uses cannabis and combines her practice with the plant’s powers. She recently taught a Reiki I training course in Los Angeles, where we caught up with her for a fascinating chat. 

Cannabis Now: Hi, Lauren. Would you give our readers a quick description of what Reiki is?

Lauren Mooney: Sure! It’s a Japanese healing modality. In its most basic form, it’s energy healing that has a hands-on aspect to it. Reiki itself is a philosophy. The hands-on healing is such a huge component of it, and a lot of people do it where their hands aren’t completely on you—they’re feeling your auric field, the energy that surrounds us and the energy that we emanate, and everything is made of energy. The way that I describe Reiki is: it’s as if a bunch of radio stations were playing at the same time and then you tune into your own frequency. I believe that’s also true with cannabis because it’s about bringing things into balance, and that balance can really help with so many things. We’re careful in Reiki to not make claims about what Reiki can do because it’s very different for everyone.

Another beautiful aspect of Reiki is its simplicity and that’s what actually makes it challenging to teach because it’s not so much an intellectual thing you learn, it really mostly is experiential. And that also takes me back to cannabis because, like Reiki, cannabis’ benefits are changeable depending on the person. You can’t necessarily make claims like, “Oh, because this strain helped me with my anxiety, it’s going to help my friend with their anxiety.” I like to say Reiki has its own intelligence, and Reiki knows where you need it. 

I helped my mom, who has since passed away, with in-person Reiki. I was about to start doing volunteer meditation and Reiki groups for Gilda’s Club, a cancer support center in New York City right before the pandemic hit, so that started out as virtual, and continues to this day. 

Lauren Mooney Cannabis Reiki Practitioner
Lauren Mooney combines her reiki practice with cannabis. PHOTO Bailey Robb

Tell me about your journey with cannabis: What got you into it personally, and why did you incorporate it into your practice?

Originally from California, I started smoking recreationally in high school and that was my relationship with cannabis for maybe a decade. 

The recreational dispensaries opened right around the same time that I was getting my mom into using cannabis to help with all the stuff she was going through with her Stage IV melanoma — she had brain tumors and multiple surgeries surrounding that. It was powerful to watch my mom; her leg would be shaking and then I’d give her some CBD tincture and it would literally stop. CBD was getting more popular, so I was already thinking about integrating it topically into my practice. I really think it helps people get into their bodies and slow things down. 

A lot of people look at cannabis as a vehicle to help ground themselves. Can the same be said about Reiki?

I’d say Reiki helps you feel more grounded and slows you down, and that, in turn, can help you with so many different things. I’ve helped people who have had cancer, and it eased some of the anxiety, some of the pain, because slowing down and feeling a bit more grounded really helps with all of that. Being out of our bodies isn’t something that’s unique to having something as extreme as cancer. Being out of our bodies is a symptom of the time, of this virtual insanity that we live in, and obviously the pandemic. I think so many people are basically living out of their bodies and not realizing that they are.

This story was originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.

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