January 6, 2022 12:00 pm ETEstimated Read Time: 7 Minutes
When one thinks of psilocybin, a common and mostly automatic association would be “psychedelic”- which means that it produces hallucinations and appears to cause an expansion of consciousness. Psilocybin is the active compound commonly found in “magic” mushrooms (otherwise popularly known as ‘shrooms’). However, just like there is more to the intoxicating cannabinoids in cannabis, there is also more to this psychedelic compound since it too has powerful and effective therapeutic properties. Let’s have a look at what psilocybin is, how it compares with cannabis as well as how cannabis and psilocybin can be taken together therapeutically.
When one thinks of psilocybin, a common and automatic association would be “psychedelic”- which means that it produces hallucinations and appears to cause an expansion of consciousness. Psilocybin is the active compound commonly found in “magic” mushrooms (otherwise popularly known as “shrooms”). However, just like there is more to the intoxicating cannabinoids in cannabis, there is also more to this psychedelic compound since it too has powerful and effective therapeutic properties. Let’s have a look at what psilocybin is, how it compares with cannabis as well as how cannabis and psilocybin can be taken together therapeutically.
What is Psilocybin?
Certain mushrooms contain a psychoactive compound known as psilocybin, which is what makes them “magic” mushrooms. Historically, these mushrooms have been used as entheogens in ceremonies and spiritual practices. But now psilocybin is currently listed as a Schedule 1 drug. This category is specifically reserved for compounds with a high potential for abuse that serve no medical purpose. And much like cannabis, the powers that be don’t seem to want to acknowledge the therapeutic benefits and choose to leave it federally banned. Luckily, increasingly more agencies are coming forward and advocating for psilocybin research in an effort to explore various therapeutic applications.
Psilocybin is classified as a hallucinogen and it interacts with the body by activating the serotonin receptors and stimulating neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity refers to the structural and functional changes in the brain’s neuron connections. This hallucinogen does not always trigger active visual or auditory hallucinations but more commonly alters the consumer’s perception of things in their environment. There are many factors that could impact the experience of psilocybin such as how much you consume, past experiences with psilocybin or other hallucinogens, and expectations, as well as a commonly overlooked factor which is the environment in which you consume the hallucinogen.
Medical bodies do not consider psilocybin to be an addictive substance (4). In fact, research shows that psilocybin has solid potential in helping combat addiction and major depressive disorders (3). A study from 2017 found that magic mushrooms are the safest recreational drugs. The same study even suggested that psilocybin-containing mushrooms may even be safer than cannabis.
Cannabis & Psilocybin
Though cannabis and psilocybin can both have medical uses, they are considered very different chemicals and have different effects on their users. Let’s check out some of the basic info for both cannabis and psilocybin in the chart below:
Cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) among many others. Terpenes such as linalool and myrcene amongst many others.
Psilocybin, psilocin, baeocystin, & norbaeocystin. Psilocybin is converted into psilocin after ingestion and is similar to serotonin. Baeocystin and norbaeocystin are tryptamines but are significantly less active than psilocybin and psilocin.
Improved focus and productivity for some, sedation for others
Euphoria and intoxication
Increased sensory perceptions
Reduced anxiety and stress
Increased anxiety if potency is too high
Mild hallucinations such as distorted visuals, hearing, and tactile sensation
Feeling giggly and euphoric
Induces a sense of awe and inspiration
Increased energy, and excitement
Heroic doses can temporarily dissolve the ego (ego death)
Large doses in the wrong environment can lead to paranoia, panic, anxiety, and extreme mental discomfort
Method of Consumption
Inhalation such as smoking from a joint, blunt, bong, pipe, hookah, and vaporizer. Ingestion through tinctures, oils, and edibles. Topical delivery through ointments, lotions, and patches.
Can be consumed whole, brewed in tea, taken in capsule form and edibles, Lemon Tek method (dissolving shrooms in lemon juice and water)
Both cannabis and psilocybin can affect your perception and the effects are dependent on what is being consumed and how much of it is being consumed. Consumers can even microdose or combine them for enhanced effects. Let’s see how cannabis and psilocybin can be consumed together.
Combining Cannabis and Psilocybin for Medicinal Use
Cannabis and psilocybin can be combined through any delivery method but what, when, and how you combine the two will have a significant impact on the effects. Consumers can use cannabis before, after, or even alongside taking psilocybin.
Some take psilocybin mushrooms to induce hallucinations whether it’s for recreational, medical, or spiritual purposes. If you are taking enough psilocybin to induce a hallucinatory trip, always proceed with caution no matter your experience level. Using cannabis BEFORE consuming a heroic dose of mushrooms will help prepare your body for the psilocybin but individuals new to the experience should avoid cannabis at first in order to accurately gauge the effect of the psilocybin. If possible, ask someone sober, trusted, and capable like a friend, family member, clinician, or therapist to help monitor your psychedelic session. Cannabis can purportedly even prolong the trip experience when consumed 3 to 4 hours AFTER consuming shrooms.
While psilocybin can cause psychedelic effects in higher doses, lower doses can still produce a comfortable yet euphoric and energized feeling without the hallucinations. When both psilocybin and cannabis are consumed together as a microdose rather than a heroic dose, this is where you are likely to tap into the medicinal benefits of both because they seem to amplify each other’s effects. Both cannabis and psilocybin have their benefits when taken individually, as seen above. But according to anecdotal evidence, the benefits one may be able to experience from combining the two are as follows:
Improves and balances mood, thereby reducing depression
Reducing anxiety and stress (will have the opposite effect if too much is consumed)
Improving everyday performance by providing a calm and perceptive disposition
Inspires creativity and bliss
Boosts memory and focus
Boost your immune system due to the rich fiber, protein, vitamin B, and antioxidants found in the magic mushrooms
Assists with conquering addiction
When taken responsibly, combining cannabis and psilocybin seems to pose no threat to health, but their interactions have not been studied much. This is because both are classified as illicit drugs. Change is happening on a national level and now even worldwide. Cannabis is now recommended to be reclassified on a global scale and psilocybin will also likely be headed in that direction as more of its therapeutic benefits are revealed. Having more natural options available for therapeutics is a wonderful thing for boosting the quality of life. Especially since much of the lab-made pharmaceuticals are more often associated and accompanied by adverse side effects and risks which may then require cessation or substitute medication to treat. Be advised that psilocybin is a serotonergic compound, as are many common antidepressants, and combining these two in substantially large amounts can possibly lead to serotonin syndrome which is a rare but serious medical emergency.
Perhaps one of the most beneficial factors associated with combining cannabis and psilocybin is that they seem to cancel each other’s negative effects out, thus bringing a balanced experience. But as always, more research is needed. Combining cannabis and psilocybin is not for first-time users of either substance because it comes with risks…not to mention that psilocybin is still very much illegal despite its therapeutic potential and decriminalization in some cities and states. Always speak with a medical professional before attempting holistic therapies that involve cannabis and psilocybin. Begin with small doses to best avoid any dreadful or devastating experiences and if you choose to consume the psilocybin for its therapeutic properties, do so in an environment that makes you feel comfortable and secure before consuming.
Note: Veriheal does not support illegally consuming therapeutic substances like cannabis and psilocybin but acknowledges that it transpires because of the current illicit status of both, which we strive to change by advocating for research, legal access, and responsible consumption.
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