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Cannabis + Psychedelic Substances: Can You Take Them Together?




Warning: This information is for educational purposes only. We are not medical professionals, and no information on this website should be construed as medical advice. For more information please view our Medical Disclaimer. Please consult a medical professional if you are considering consuming cannabis products.

There have been countless studies done in history looking into the effects of psychedelic drug use and its effects on the brain and body. 

In more recent history, we have seen an increasing number of studies about marijuana and other drugs helping with different ailments and mental illnesses. 

The Imperial College in London has taken a different approach with their latest online ‘study.’ Instead of just looking at the addiction side of drug use or even the medical use for drugs, the Imperial College took a separate route. They wanted to see if using marijuana while on other psychedelic drugs enhances or hinders the ‘mystical experience.” [1]  

Calling this experiment a ‘study’ isn’t exactly correct, though. The participants weren’t monitored or observed while using the drugs so there is no fact-based outcome of this trial. Due to the lack of controlled variables by the researchers they simply had to go off of the verbal testament from the participants. Over 320 people participated in this experiment and a majority of them stated that using marijuana while on other psychedelic drugs intensified their overall ‘mystical experience’. 

Due to the lack of consistency, there were several different psychedelics being used by the participants and in different doses. These drugs included LSD, DMT, ayahuasca, psilocybin, and mescaline. If you are not familiar with these psychedelics, we can review the basic information for each. Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), or acid, is a psychedelic chemically made from ergot fungi found on rye or other grains. It is made into a crystallized form or a liquid form before distribution. Most users report the ‘trip’ lasts around 12 hours and produces visual and bodily effects. 

Our next drug is N, N-dimethyltryptamine, or DMT. This drug is highly potent and most users report a feeling of distorted reality as well as out-of-body experiences. This could mean they lose track of time while high and the typical 45-minute ‘trip’ could feel like hours or even days. DMT is found naturally in many plants and barks. Some cultures find DMT to be a spiritual drug rather than an illegal substance. 

Similar to this spiritual pastime is the drug ayahuasca, most known from the Amazon basin cultures. Unlike the short-term effects of DMT, ayahuasca can last for up to 6 hours. This drug causes severe hallucinations and most reports say that you will inevitably vomit after consuming the drug. 

For the final two drugs, we have psilocybin and mescaline. Psilocybin is the psychoactive part of mushrooms colloquially known as magic mushrooms. The mushrooms are grown and dried out prior to consumption. Mushrooms have about a 4-6 hour window of time for the effects to wear off. Mescaline or ‘peyote’ is a naturally occurring psychoactive drug found in specific kinds of cacti. 

Now that we understand how different these drugs are, we can begin to understand how loose this study was. There was no specific psychedelic used across all participants, no specific dose for the users to take, and no guidelines for how much marijuana is actually being used. The participants did a survey a week prior to the ‘trip’ and a follow-up survey the day after. However, there was a common theme amongst participants. Those who used higher amounts of marijuana during their planned trip reported feeling higher levels of, ‘ego-dissolution, mystical experiences, and visual alterations.’ 

On the other hand, there were also reports of higher level ‘challenging thoughts’. This may be confusing but the challenging thoughts and feelings the researchers were looking into were feelings of grief, insanity, and fear. 

Since there were a handful of participants who consumed no marijuana, they testified to having these feelings more consistently than the participants who consumed low amounts of marijuana. The participants who had reported a heightened sense of euphoria because of the large marijuana usage in tandem with the psychedelics reported having the worst challenges. 

With such a wide array of drugs, feelings, and overall confusion it may lead to the question — what was the point of this study? The Imperial College has recognized the problems with their study and says it can be used as a starting point in their research. Their report stated that “future controlled research is needed to better assess causal interactions between cannabis and psychedelics in relation to acute and more enduring psychological effects.” 

We can only hope there will in fact be more studies done in the future and they will give us more concrete results. With marijuana slowly becoming legalized as well as more research into microdosing psychedelics to help with mental illnesses, we are hopeful there will be more information available in the near future. The feelings and concepts behind ‘mystical experiences’ and ‘ego dissolution’ will likely be further explored and defined. This new knowledge could be helpful for those who have never used a psychedelic drug.

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Thomas Wrona is a freelance writer and former pro athlete who believes that nature’s wisdom provides an antidote to the stress of modern life. To date Thomas has written over 1,000 articles in the cannabis/hemp niche. (Check them out here.) His writing focuses on how cannabinoids activate inner equilibrium en route to helping us stay above equilibrium with our environment. When he’s not writing about CBD, fitness, or holistic living, you’ll probably find Thomas outside — he’s in the process of starting a regenerative permaculture farm.

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