Sensory deprivation tanks—also known as “float tanks”—have been popping up all over the place lately, as a 60s fad is reborn as part of the modern wellness movement, and eagerly adopted by a society constantly looking for new ways to reduce stress and unwind.
To investigate the practice firsthand, including any possible synergies between microdosing cannabis and climbing into a the float tank, I booked an hour-long sensory deprivation session at a local center that looked much like a salon or spa, except every room was dominated by a large chamber containing a shallow pool about the size of a queen bed.
About an hour prior to arrival, I had dosed myself with 3 sprays of Jambo CBD elixir, and once left alone in the float room. The CBD (9 total milligrams) helped soothe any anxiety I might have felt about floating alone in the pitch black for an hour. I felt calm and in control as I stepped into the pool and closed the door, and was completely isolated in a pitch dark, silent, womblike space.
The water in the tank is extremely salty, with a temperature matching the human body’s consistent 98.6ºF. This leaves you feeling weightless and deprived of all sensory stimulation. While having the tank within a contained chamber helps keep out any unwanted light and sound, allowing you to listen to the beating of your own heart.
My guide recommended using the initial “settling in” time to stretch, since the state of weightlessness allows you to really feel tension in your body while escaping some of the constant tugging of gravity. I felt glad for the CBD's anti-inflammatory properties as I followed those instructions, adding some breathwork and ohms.
Soon I found myself sinking into a blissful waking “dreamtime” of memories, ideas and visions. My mind’s eye felt sharper, and I was able to remember minute details of past experiences and places.
The lack of sensation, as well as the absence of screens, noise, notifications and interruptions, can be jarring at first. Like many other people, I was afraid that I would be bored, but I found the opposite to be true as my inner life became very vivid, and I was able to do some deep introspection. The CBD allowed me to stay calm as I processed some painful memories, helping the float session serve as very personal therapy for mind, body and soul.
The hour didn’t pass quickly, but the time didn’t drag on either, and before too long, the gentle chimes and soft light returned to the tank, signaling that it was time to slowly emerge from the pool and make my exit. After leaving the float center, I felt strangely blissful and a bit discombobulated. My senses felt sharper, and I was glad to have made space for myself to experience the interior of my own mind. Like many others, I found that the benefits of floating extended into the days after the session, as I integrated the memories and thoughts that were brought up, while reducing my general anxiety.
CBD enabled me to have the courage to float, since I was previously afraid that I would be claustrophobic, or that the experience would be psychically overwhelming. Combining small doses of cannabis with a float session made the experience more powerful, while also preparing me to transition to a rejuvenating sleep after I returned home.