Most of our educational content addresses how to use psychedelics intentionally—and this typically means using a single psychoactive substance at a time. However, many people are curious about the effects of mixing cannabis with psychedelics.
Now without further ado, here is our definitive guide to mixing cannabis and psychedelics. Below we’ll cover what happens when you combine these substances, whether it’s effective to mix the two, and how to do so safely.
What class of drugs does cannabis fall into?
First of all, it’s important to note that cannabis is unique in that it doesn’t clearly fit into a particular category of drugs—it’s not an opioid, a depressant, or a stimulant. We maintain the view that it’s most appropriately categorized as a psychedelic due to its psychoactive properties.
However, cannabis and psychedelics activate via different methods; cannabis relies on the endocannabinoid system, whereas psychedelics usually affect key hormones and chemical neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and cortisol.
One thing is clear, cannabis is a rather mysterious drug in that it affects each user differently. Plus when you consider the myriad of different strains—we’re talking about millions of different perceived effects produced by the same species of plant.
So why is this important? Because the interaction of cannabis and psychedelics isn’t so simple. The more familiar you are with how your body responds to cannabis, the easier it will be to combine the two. The less familiar you are with how cannabis interacts with your body, the more variables you’ll need to manage.
Is it safe to combine cannabis and psychedelics?
Yes! THC is physiologically safe to combine with psychedelics, but it’s important to note that it can result in psychological challenges due to its propensity to increase the intensity, anxiety, and duration of the psychedelic substance it’s being combined with. More on this below.
What happens when combining cannabis and psychedelics?
It’s important to differentiate between high-THC and high-CBD strains of cannabis. THC generally makes the experience more intense, while simultaneously prolonging the duration of psychedelic effects.
We often meet with clients who have consumed a psychedelic substance like magic mushrooms and think they are coming down from their trip, so they decide to smoke a joint, and the next thing they know, they are fully tripping again. This is especially true with high-THC strains and extracts.
Alternatively, CBD dominant products can take the edge off the anxiety associated with psychedelics, especially the come up. CBD dominant products are far more soothing for most and have less impact on the psychedelic experience itself.
Should you mix cannabis and psychedelics?
“Should” is a loaded term here—we believe it’s a matter of preference. You can certainly have the full extent of the psychedelic experience without cannabis—you can also have an authentic psychedelic experience with cannabis.
As psychedelic integration coaches, this answer comes down to personal preference and your experience level. However, it is worth noting that anecdotally, high-THC cannabis is an amplifier when it comes to psychedelics.
That’s why we never suggest people consume cannabis when working with a psychedelic substance for the first time—it increases the likelihood of the experience being overwhelming. Cannabis introduces a whole new set of variables to the psychedelic experience, which is already among the most profound, intense and life-changing experiences in many people’s lives.
We suggest you only combine cannabis and psychedelics if you are a seasoned user of both (i.e. you have experience consuming cannabis regularly and have previously had several safe experiences with the psychedelic substance in question).
Perhaps more importantly, consider if cannabis will add or detract from your intention. As you’ll see if you read our psychedelic journey preparation guide, we are huge proponents of setting an intention prior to ingesting a psychedelic substance.
Does cannabis affect certain psychedelics more than others?
We have tried combining cannabis with psilocybin, LSD, DMT, ketamine, and MDMA. We can safely say that it increases the intensity of all the psychedelics listed above. It’s hard to quantify which substance it affects the most; however, based on our experiences, the natural substances are more impacted (i.e. psilocybin and DMT).
It’s also worth noting that there are many strains of cannabis and each of them have their own nuanced effects. Meaning it’s equally important to choose the correct strain of cannabis—we typically avoid racy sativas as they make us more anxiety prone.
We always keep a sedative indica around when tripping so we can calm our nerves, and eventually go to sleep when the trip is over. LSD for instance can last for 12+ hours and it’s nice to smoke a strong indica strain after the experience.
Cannabis can also help alleviate symptoms of nausea that are usually associated with psilocybin. However, this won’t be an option if you are partaking in a psychedelic plant medicine ceremony, because you’ll likely be fasting of all substances prior to the experience (food, alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, etc.).
It;s also worth noting that high doses of MDMA can sometimes cause shortness of breath and respiratory distress, which may be exacerbated by smoking or vaporizing cannabis.
How do you safely combine the two? 4 Simple Steps
Step 1: Try separately before combining.
Please ensure you have tried both cannabis and the specific psychedelic substance and dose separately prior to combining them! Should you choose to combine them, start by consuming the psychedelic substance alone first.
Step 2: Choose the correct strain of cannabis.
It’s important to keep in mind the complexities of cannabinoid and terpene profiles and how they modulate cannabis highs. Sativa strains can actually induce a feeling of raciness or anxiety, which would not pair well in conjunction with psychedelics. Alternatively, indica strains are typically more sedative and produce a distinct body-high. It’s best to choose a strain you’re familiar with. Opt for high-CBD strains if you’re looking to take the edge off.
Step 3: Know where you are in your trip.
Wait through the onset or “come up” period until you reach a point where you feel somewhat stable prior to adding cannabis into the mix. Please be aware that if you consume high-THC cannabis as you are “coming down,” it can send you right back into a full-blown trip. This has happened to both of us and it’s important to be aware of—especially if all you want is for the experience to end.
Step 4: Practice harm reduction techniques.
Please note that both cannabis and psychedelics can alter perception and motor function, so practice good harm reduction techniques and avoid operating machinery or vehicles. If you’re looking for in-person support during your journey, we invite you to explore our trip sitting programs.
Combining cannabis with psychedelics is safe provided you have considered all of the variables we’ve addressed above. Like always, know your body and know your substance. That means being honest with yourself regarding your intention and your experience level.
In general, experienced cannabis users tend to have a better experience combining with psychedelics when compared to novices. Alternatively, novices can get overwhelmed when introducing cannabis to the psychedelic experience as it increases intensity and duration.
If you’re looking for more clarity on how to use psychedelics safely and with intentionality, we’re available to help. Here at Psychedelic Passage, we offer trip sitting programs with the goal of ensuring that you feel supported before, during, and after the experience. Schedule a consult with one of our psychedelic trip sitters to learn more.