Psychedelics and cannabis has long been used in tandem, however – the effects have hardly been studies due to extreme prohibition. Nonetheless, with breakthroughs occurring within the realm of psychedelia – especially in relation to mental health – and the normalization of cannabis consumption on a global scale – studies are warranted.
A recent study looked at the subjective effects of psychedelics when cannabis is taken during an experience. After reviewing the surveys from 321 participants the initial analyzes of the data suggests that cannabis increases the “mystical experiences of psychedelics”.
Of course, more studies are warranted as these are purely subjective data and the researchers weren’t there physically to observe dose or frequency, however – it does suggest that there is some data leaning towards these substances working in tandem to provide a deeper and longer lasting experience.
They could have simply asked a few psychonauts who would have told them this without having to sift through the data, but science is slow like that.
In this article we’re going to be taking a closer look at what the study found and some insight from psychonauts on how to properly use cannabis and psychedelics in tandem.
First Let’s take a look at the study…
For this study, 321 participants were asked to fill out a survey online at two points in time. The first survey happened seven days before a planned event and the second one the day after.
Here’s the Methodology explained in the paper;
Participants (n = 321) completed a set of online surveys at 2 time points: 7 days before, and 1 day after a planned experience with a serotonergic psychedelic. The collected data included demographics, environmental factors (so-called setting) and five validated questionnaires: Mystical Experience Questionnaire (MEQ), visual subscales of Altered States of Consciousness Questionnaire (ASC-Vis), Challenging Experience Questionnaire (CEQ), Ego Dissolution Inventory (EDI) and Emotional Breakthrough Inventory (EBI). Participants were grouped according to whether they had reported using no cannabis (n = 195) or low (n = 53), medium (n = 45) or high (n = 28) dose, directly concomitant with the psychedelic. Multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) and contrasts was used to analyse differences in subjective effects between groups while controlling for potential confounding contextual ‘setting’ variables. – SOURCE
As you can see, this is a very robust questionnaire despite the subjectivity of the topic. Nonetheless, the researchers compiled the data and found the following;
When serotonergic psychedelics and cannabis were used at the same time there was a higher prevalence of mystic experiences.
There was linear relationship between Mystical Experience Questionnaire, Altered States of Consciousness Questionnaire, and Emotional Dissolution Inventory.
There was a quadratic relationship to Challenging Experience Questionnaire
In other words, the researchers found that when people smoked cannabis, they found that there was a direct relationship between dose and potency of cannabis. When people smoked, they had a greater “mystical experience” which was directly related to the potency of cannabis.
When it came to challenging experiences – researchers found that lower doses of cannabis actually minimized the intensity of the “challenging experience”, whereas higher potency cannabis increased the intensity of the experience.
As always, the researchers did mention that more controlled studies are warranted to explore the relationship between mixing psychedelics with cannabis.
How a Psychonaut uses cannabis during a psychedelic experience…
A psychonaut undergoes a psychedelic experience with purpose. Perhaps, when you are younger – you consume LSD or Psilocybin solely for the experience’ sake – yet when you mature within your trips, you begin to utilize these experiences to perform “identity surgery”. By playing around with Set and Setting, you alter the nature of a trip.
During these experiences, cannabis can help you at various points;
For anyone who has ever taken a psychedelic, there’s a sense of anxiety associated with it. It’s almost like jumping out of an airplane when you’re skydiving or off a bridge when you’re bungee jumping. You know that for the most part the experience will be safe – but there is always a risk that the dose is either too strong or you may not even be taking the drugs you think you’re taking.
This is especially true within the unregulated market where often psychedelic substitutes are sold as the “real thing”.
Nonetheless, the anxiety remains until you take it – and then as you wait for the drugs to kick in you may experience a bit more anxiety. After about 10-15 minutes, it’s a good idea to smoke a bit of cannabis to calm your nerves, but also to “kick start” the experience.
Often times, all you need it that little push from the cannabis – a familiar high – to ride it into the psychedelic experience.
This onset can be rough at times, especially with things like psilocybin or mescaline. With psilocybin, you can become nauseas which prompts some people to vomit. It almost feels like gravity inverts or as if you are seasick.
Cannabis allows you to diminish these negative effects allowing the substance to take root – and then, once the onset has been cleared, the trip usually begins.
The first few hours you’ll be climbing to the peak of the experience. During this time, you may or may not want to smoke cannabis and usually – when you reach the highest peak of the experience, people tend to reach for some more cannabis.
This is there to help “calm them down” while simultaneously “increasing the intensity of the visuals/experience”. Cannabis is weird in that way.
During the peak, most people smoke as a means of keeping their “trip anxiety” down – since some of the visuals can feel a bit intense and overwhelming.
Finally, when the experience is waning, smoking a bit more cannabis can help you prop up a few more lingering visuals or bodily sensations. It helps to prolong the experience. Of course, drinking alcohol can do the same – however, the toll on the body is far harsher.
Cannabis has long been used as a companion drug during psychedelic experiences. While science is only now becoming interested in these subjects – perhaps it would be in their best interest to ask for insight from psychonauts to help direct their studies. We may not have the cold hard data – but we have logged thousands of trips over the year and have an intuitive sense on how to handle things.