As cannabis legalization continues to spread across the globe, many experts are wondering what will be the next kind of drug to reach that level of ubiquity. Thanks to a lot of cutting edge research, that trend seems to be pointing towards psychedelics and in particular psilocybin. Due to the therapeutic potential, low risk and limited potential for abuse, there are a lot of exciting possibilities in the world of psychedelics. However, as both cannabis and psychedelics such as psilocybin enter the mainstream, it is worth evaluating how they interact with each other. Is it in fact safe to mix cannabis with psilocybin?
Differences within Cannabis and Psilocybin
Cannabis and psychedelics are processed differently in the body. Psilocybin, the major active ingredient of magic mushrooms, is the best psychedelic to compare to cannabis for several reasons. First, unlike LSD, both magic mushrooms and cannabis are naturally occurring. Because of this, humanity has been interacting with both of them for thousands of years, and some scientists theorize that they may have played a significant role in human evolution. Both cannabis and psilocybin respond to receptors in the brain, but with dramatically different effects. Cannabis reacts with human body through CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. Once cannabis is metabolized, the user experiences limited side effects. Psilocybin, on the other hand, binds to 5-HT2A receptors, acting as agonist of these serotonin receptors. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate mood, cognition, reward, learning, and memory. This helps to explain the altered perception while on mushrooms, but additionally, psilocybin may help stimulate neurogenesis. In simplified terms, not only does psilocybin affect how you see the world, it also potentially helps creating new pathways within the brain, making it easier for different parts of the brain to interact with each other.
Though both cannabis and psilocybin have strong recreational appeal, they also have potential for medicinal applications. Initial research indicates psilocybin may be particularly effective in treating depression and addiction, while cannabis has been shown to limit nausea and can treat several neurological disorders.
The Effects of Psilocybin and Cannabis Mix
Because of the different effects magic mushrooms and cannabis have on the brain, combining them may produce some interesting results. There are not many studies showing the combined effect of these two substances, due to their legal status so far. There is, however, anecdotal evidence describing the experience of the two in tandem.
Multiple variables can be tweaked to determine how an individual responds to this potentially potent cocktail. First, if cannabis is inhaled, it only takes a few seconds to take effect. With mushrooms, this timeline is significantly longer. Psilocybin often takes 30–60 minutes to kick in, so timing plays a role in users’ experiences. For some people, they may prefer using cannabis first to help ease into the effects of the mushrooms. Additionally, psilocybin can cause nausea, and cannabis has been known to prevent it. For others, cannabis may cause paranoia, and magic mushrooms may help counteract that. This is not true in all instances, though, as others find cannabis relieves paranoia and mushrooms may stimulate anxiety and can lead to a “bad trip.” This is where the second variable comes into play: dosage.
It is important for individuals to understand how much of each drug is necessary to produce the desired effects. Too much of either may lead to negative consequences, but when balanced correctly they may compliment each other nicely. Both have the potential to alter perception, both have the ability to inspire creativity, and both have the ability to induce happiness and joy. Ultimately, the correct dosage will vary by individual, and some experimentation may be required to find the right balance.
Addressing the Risks and Dispelling the Myths
There is a lack of data on the effect of psilocybin and cannabis mix. However, there are some things that have been definitively disproved. Long term risks of their combination have not been established, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. Short term risks appear to be minimal, however there are always concerns of environmental threats when aggressively alerting perception. This should be taken into account when participating in situations that may increase risk, but this can be minimized with sober supervisors. One common myth is that cannabis can be laced with psychedelics. While this is possible, it is unlikely for several reasons. In the case of psilocybin, it would have to be extracted into a concentrated form and then applied to the cannabis as a liquid or a powder.