One of the most common questions I get as the Microdose Guru is whether it is ok to consume cannabis while microdosing psilocybin. In this post, we explore the potential benefits and risks of combining the two plants.
The medicinal qualities of cannabis are plentiful and well-documented. With regards to mental health specifically, cannabis has been credited as an effective treatment for anxiety, chronic pain, insomnia, and ADHD with some variables.
While research on microdosing psilocybin is limited, there is ample empirical evidence suggesting that microdosing psilocybin is effective for the treatment of depression, anxiety, ADHD, OCD, PTSD, and chronic pain to name a few. Most research on psilocybin has been focused on the treatment of depression with truly remarkable results.
The question of whether to combine cannabis with microdose psilocybin is a nuanced debate with the following key considerations:
Dosage (and strain)
Mental Health History
The first point of consideration is what the individual hopes to achieve through the microdosing practice.
While cannabis and psilocybin can work together to support optimal outcomes in the case of ADHD and anxiety disorders, the combination might not be ideal for those experiencing major depressive disorders.
While some evidence suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) - found in both cannabis and hemp plants - is effective for the treatment of anxiety and depression, other studies suggest a positive correlation between chronic cannabis use and depression. While further research is warranted to assess the impact of cannabis on depression, participants might consider hemp-derived cannabidiol as an alternative to cannabis for depression.
If the primary goal of the microdosing practice is alleviating symptoms of depression, the evidence supports the conservative approach of limiting and/or avoiding regular cannabis use while microdosing. In fact, a considerable majority of my clients who microdose for depression experience more profound benefits with the psilocybin alone or in combination with CBD.
Dosage & Strain
Another critical point to consider is the dosage and strain of cannabis. While cannabidiol-heavy strains are a wonderful option for most mental health conditions, some cannabis strains with specific terpene profiles have been shown to increase anxiety.
Dosage is another critical factor to consider; research has shown that lower doses of cannabis are linked to lowering anxiety while higher doses are linked to increased anxiety symptoms.
For seasoned cannabis consumers who are seeking to reduce symptoms of anxiety, the right cannabis dosage and strain can offer great benefits in combination with psilocybin microdosing.
It is important to note that combination does not refer to dosing the plants at the same time but rather during the period of microdosing (ex: day time psilocybin dose and night time cannabis dose). It is my personal and professional perspective that it is best not to combine two psychoactive plants in a dose as to not overwhelm the nervous system and allow each plant the space to deliver its therapeutic effects without interference.
Mental Health History
Another critical factor to consider is mental health history. While both psilocybin and cannabis are two of the least harmful substances available, caution is warranted for cannabis use in the following cases:
History of schizophrenia in the family
History of psychotic disorders
History of substance abuse
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
See this article for a list of precautions for microdosing.
Besides medical precautions, another key consideration is the opportunity for spiritual growth and transformation.
Psychedelic medicines tend to highlight the areas of our lives that need tending and care. It is imperative that microdosing practice is approached with reverence and mindfulness. The #1 question to ponder when considering whether to combine cannabis or other substances with microdosing is "Am I attached to this?". We often disguise our dependencies and addictions under the medicinal category to avoid the challenging process of behavioral change.
Psychedelics invite us into a space of deep honesty and introspection highlighting areas of our lives that are ripe for growth and transformation. This is perhaps the greatest gift of a microdosing practice. Microdosing is an invitation to reciprocity; the question is what are you willing to give up to reap the benefits of your practice? If the voice inside you has been whispering that it is time for a break from cannabis use, microdosing offers the incredible opportunity to achieve this goal with improved mindfulness, insights, and neuroplasticity!