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What happens when you mix cannabis with psychedelics?

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What happens when you mix cannabis with psychedelics?

Getting high was once viewed as an act of deviance or cultural resistance, but now, thanks to a shift in attitudes toward drugs, it's science – especially when you think of cannabis mixed with psychedelics. This means that researchers have finally been given the green light to investigate the effects of mind-altering substances, leading to new data on the effects of mixing cannabis with psychedelics and psychedelic drugs such as LSD, magic mushrooms or ayahuasca.

Presenting their work in the journal Psychopharmacology, the study authors reveal that cannabis enhances mystical experiences caused by serotonergic psychedelics, a class of drugs that disrupt consciousness by acting on serotonin receptors in the brain.

“We found evidence of more intense mystical, ego dissolution and visual experiences associated with cannabis use,” they write, adding that this effect is directly proportional to the amount of weed consumed.

To conduct their study, the authors surveyed 321 people about their use of psychedelics. Of these, 39 percent claimed to have ingested cannabis at the same time as a serotonergic psychedelic, with the vast majority LSD or psilocybin.

Cannabis with psychedelics provides different experiences

After analyzing participants' responses to the Mystical Experience Questionnaire, the researchers noted a dose-dependent relationship between cannabis use and mean scores for such experiences.

The results also indicated that smoking weed affects the likelihood of a bad trip, which the authors describe as a “challenging experience.” Interestingly, however, the data showed that low doses of cannabis tend to decrease the likelihood of such an uncomfortable psychedelic escapade, while high doses increase it.

This was especially true for certain parts of these challenging trips. For example, people who mixed their psychedelics with low doses of cannabis tended to have lower scores on both the 'anxiety' and 'insanity' subscales than those who took no weed at all. However, the use of high doses of cannabis was found to amplify both of these unpleasant aspects.

According to the authors, this may be evidence of the conflicting effects of cannabis, with low doses helping to alleviate psychological anxiety, while higher doses amplifying this mental turmoil. In addition, it should be noted that different strains of cannabis contain different amounts of important cannabinoids, such as CBD and THC. Since the researchers did not analyze the chemical composition of the cannabis used by each participant, it is difficult to draw firm conclusions from this data.

Regardless, they go on to explain that cannabis' apparent ability to enhance psychedelic experiences “may be because cannabis itself induces subjective effects similar to some of the effects of psychedelics, such as euphoria, changes in the perception of time, intensification of sensory perception and hyper-associative thinking.” In addition, despite the fact that THC acts primarily on cannabinoid receptors, the authors point to other studies that have shown that the compound can interact with serotonin receptors, increasing the activity of psychedelics is disrupted.

In summary, the researchers explain that their findings may have important implications for the therapeutic use of psychedelics, as “some of the therapeutically desirable psychological effects associated with psychedelics could theoretically be enhanced by concomitant cannabis use.”

Sources including IFLScience (EN), Mugglehead (EN), psychopharmacology (EN)

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