Patients substitute marijuana for addicting pharmaceutical drugs, two new studies find

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Marijuana appears to increase the effects of psychedelics, intensifying the experience, according to a new study.

Researchers at Imperial College London analyzed online surveys of 321 people who described various aspects of their psychedelic experience and whether they were using cannabis at the same time and, if so, how much.

What they found was that consuming marijuana along with substances like psilocybin, LSD, DMT, ayahuasca or mescaline increased the intensity of the trip in a dose-dependent manner.

The use of cannabis with psychedelics was “associated with higher scores of mystical-type experience, ego dissolution, and visual alterations,” says the study, published last week in the journal Psychopharmacology. And in general, the more marijuana a person says they have used, the more intense the psychedelic effect.

There was a unique exception to this tendency when it came to “difficult aspects of the psychedelic experience” such as feelings of fear, grief, and insanity. People who used lower doses of cannabis in combination with the substances had fewer difficult experiences compared to people who did not use marijuana, but those who used high doses of cannabis had more difficulty.

“Simultaneous use of cannabis with conventional serotonergic psychedelics has been associated with a more intense psychedelic experience across a range of measures.”

For the to study, participants were asked to complete a series of surveys seven days before and one day after a “planned experiment with a serotonergic psychedelic”. The polls touched on a wide range of factors, including mystical experiences, emotional breakthroughs, and ego dissolution.

“Given the high rates of cannabis use associated with the use of psychedelics, current research has important implications for harm reduction education, but may ultimately have implications for therapeutic use as well. , given that some of the therapeutically desirable psychological effects associated with psychedelics can, in theory, be enhanced by concurrent cannabis use, ”the study said.

Of course, there are certain limitations to a study that analyzes subjective survey data, the researchers noted.

Because they were not there to directly observe participants, there is some uncertainty as to the accuracy of dosages and timing of administration reported by participants, for example.

Either way, the authors said the initial data is a good starting point for future studies.

“It is quite plausible that some people use cannabis in an attempt to modify the effects or experiences primarily induced by psychedelics, in the same way that some cannabis users report using cannabis to ‘cure themselves’ for psychiatric symptoms. “, wrote the authors. . “Future controlled research is needed to better assess the causal interactions between cannabis and psychedelics in relation to acute and longer lasting psychological effects. “

“Overall, this study provided a first quantitative insight into the modulation of the subjective psychedelic effects of cannabis,” they said.

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Image element courtesy of Kristie gianopulos.

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