Combining Hashish With Psychedelic Mushrooms: Recipe For Thoughts Enlargement Or A Unhealthy Journey?
It’s not uncommon to find cannabis users who also use psychoactive mushrooms, and vice versa. The internet is full of articles on self-administration of psilocybin and marijuana, along with individual reports from people experiencing increased effects of the combination.
What does science say about how these two substances together affect the consumer?
Humans have combined the two compounds for decades – if not centuries. A 2006 study looking at the use of poly-substances among university students found that of the 149 students surveyed, nearly 60% regularly administered cannabis and psilocybin (the active ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms) at the same time.
However, until recently, this concomitant administration was mainly limited to experimentation by younger adults. In recent years, general interest in psilocybin has exploded, thanks to promising research into its therapeutic uses.
That growing interest led to a historic vote in Oregon and Washington, DC earlier this month in which both the state and district decriminalized the possession and use of psilocybin.
In these countries it will soon be legal to use both substances together. But is that a good idea? What does science say about how these two substances together affect the consumer? This is what we know.
What are psychedelics?
Most of what we know about mating comes from individual reports. The experience of taking a psychedelic substance – let alone combining two different psychedelics like psilocybin and cannabis – is highly subjective. It can be influenced by a person’s way of thinking and their social environment, which is often referred to as “set and setting”. This makes it difficult to study the effects of these drugs in a controlled manner.
However, cannabis can increase the effects of psilocybin, especially when combined with a heroic dose of psilocybin.
Michelle Janikian, author of Your psilocybin mushroom companion, wrote for Double Blind last year on “What You Need to Know About Smoking Weed While Stumbling”. “The main concern,” she wrote, is the “mental and spiritual well-being of the consumer,” as cannabis, when combined with psychedelics, can have unpredictably powerful effects.
Here’s how to prepare for your first psychedelic mushroom journey
Intensify the journey
It’s not uncommon to hear cannabis intensify a person’s experience with a heroic dose of psilocybin – and not necessarily in a good way.
“Personally, I find mixing cannabis and mushrooms can be a bit intense for me,” said Janelle Lassalle, a Leafly contributor who writes about the psychedelic world on her website, The Full Spectrum Revolution. “It depends on how I was feeling, but if I’m emotionally unwell and I’ve been taking mushrooms, they’ll bring those thoughts to the fore. So this type of fleeting emotional state doesn’t always go well with larger doses of cannabis. “
Hallucinations may persist
A 2019 literature review published in the Journal of Addictive Diseases also mentioned the increased emotional intensity mentioned by Lassalle. Russian researchers found a clinical presentation of hallucinogen persistent cognitive disorder (HPPD) in three subjects who combined cannabis with psilocybin with additional substances, which is characterized by recurring hallucinations when switching substances on and off.
The test subjects described the experience as “stressful and frightening”. However, this HPPD event was a single clinical presentation and not a common response seen in a full clinical study. In other words, it is a tiny sample size that should not be taken as conclusive evidence.
Cannabis with a microdose of psilocybin
Lassalle said she generally finds mushrooms more pleasant on their own, but she and her partner occasionally use cannabis with microdoses of psilocybin, which she thinks is much more pleasant and popular, according to others who participate in the pairing.
“A microdose of cannabis feels like you are having a wonderful day, plain and simple,” said Lasalle. “I have a higher energy level, but not a classy level. I am more alert, more focused and more creative. At the end of the night, I can fall asleep more easily. The colors look a little lighter and everything feels more alive. “
Is It Safe to Pair Cannabis and Psilocybin?
According to a 2017 report by the Global Drug Survey, psilocybin sends the fewest people to the emergency room of any drug on the market. “Perhaps the most dangerous thing about psychedelic mushrooms,” noted popular science, “is that they can easily be mistaken for the poisonous species.”
Cannabis has a well-known track record in terms of lethality: no one has ever died from a marijuana overdose. It just doesn’t affect the mind or body like opioids and other potentially deadly drugs.
Missing bad news … good news?
Dr. Evan Wood is a doctor and epidemiologist who has spent most of his career studying substance use clinically. Many patients in his own clinical practice have used psilocybin and cannabis. However, there are few published studies on the combined effects of using both compounds together.
“I think the only thing that can be deduced from the lack of studies is probably that [taking the two compounds together is] Not remotely toxic because we know cannabis isn’t particularly toxic on its own, and neither is psilocybin, “Wood told Leafly.
“If you look at ibogaine, for example, there is a lot of literature that comes from the toxicological literature,” he added. “So that only comes from people who do it in the community and show up at hospitals and poison centers, or from researchers doing research and looking into these effects. So if there was a toxic, synergistic effect of cannabis and psilocybin, we would know about it. “
Can this pairing have therapeutic benefits?
While many people use psychedelics just for the experience, some combine psilocybin and cannabis for potential health benefits. The reported success of psychedelic assisted therapies is so compelling that experts believe that psychedelics will one day pose a threat to the booming market for antidepressants and other drugs.
Likewise, cannabis – especially CBD – is a popular alternative to conventional drugs, especially for pain relief.
A fan of both substances, but not together
Ophelia Chong, a longtime cannabis entrepreneur, said she frequently microdose psilocybin for its “world-changing” mental health effects. But Chong keeps the two substances separate. She told Leafly she believed the introduction of cannabis would likely detract from psilocybin’s benefits.
“It’s like a car and a horse,” said Chong. “Psilocybin and cannabis are two different things. If you want to do psilocybin I would do it first to experience the journey and really answer the questions you want. Then add cannabis later to come down – because cannabis, I believe, silences a lot of your questions. “With cannabis on psilocybin, she added,” Attracts blind people when you should take them off. “
Using cannabis for a soft landing
Evan Wood confirmed that he has heard from patients who, at the last end of a psilocybin journey, use cannabis to allow for a gentle breakdown of the energizing effects of psilocybin. “I think we know from the mere use of psychedelic substances in a naturalistic context that people are using cannabis in common with various drugs, including psychedelics, and, at least anecdotally, people will often use cannabis to aid the coming down or synergistically to the experience improve, “said Wood.
Although some users find that the benefits of psilocybin and cannabis are better used individually, individual reports from others claim that using the medications at the same time has been a key to their health and wellbeing.
“I’ve never used mushrooms without cannabis,” said a consumer who spoke to Leafly but asked to remain anonymous because of the legal status of the substances. “I look at mushrooms [to be] Cannabis’ older bigger brother who met my medical needs. Cannabis for physical ailments. Mushrooms for my soul. The combination is the culmination of healing. “
Could concomitant use improve the therapeutic effects?
It is unclear whether or how cannabis and psilocybin can be taken together to increase therapeutic benefits. Even so, Evan Wood strives to understand this synergy, especially because drug synergies are common and widely used to improve a patient’s overall health.
“From my perspective as an internist, it is very common for two drugs to be taken together for synergistic effects,” said Wood. “I constantly see patients taking a combination ACE inhibitor-diuretic pill because of their high blood pressure. You don’t want to give too much diuretic or someone’s electrolytes could become unbalanced. But we can give a diuretic and an ACE inhibitor and have that great synergistic effect on blood pressure. “
“I think we know [taking psilocybin and cannabis together] seems safe. I think we know it happens naturalistically in the church and has probably been for centuries. If we go into the modern age, we’d be foolish to put on blinders and ignore the fact that things like this are going to happen – and we should investigate what that means. ”
Further research is ongoing
Wood is not alone in this thinking. The University of Miami Medical School has just been funded by a Toronto-based company, Tassili, to study the effects of combining psilocybin and CBD in treating traumatic brain injury and PTSD. The researchers wonder if the entourage effect – the synergistic interaction of the many cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis – could also occur when CBD is paired with psilocybin.
This University of Miami study will enter a human clinical trial in early 2021. If the two connections are found to work well together, they can provide relief to military veterans who suffer disproportionately from traumatic brain injury and PTSD.
Dr. Michael Hoffer, the lead scientist who led the study, said, “Our goal is to develop a prescription pill with these ingredients that will treat mTBI [mild traumatic brain injury] and PTSD. This is a new and increasingly exciting area. “
Psychedelics and your head
Alexa Peters is a freelance writer specializing in music, writing, travel, feminism, and self-help. Her work has been published in the Washington Post, Paste, Seattle Times, Seattle Magazine, and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls.
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