Use of marijuana to achieve an altered states of consciousness

Published Feb 26, 2019 03:58 p.m. ET

 Cannabis use for medicinal and recreational purposes dates as far back as 2727 BC when the first recording of marijuana use for medicinal purposes was documented within the Chinese Pharmacopoeia. Marijuana is also mentioned in ancient Hindu texts such as The Science of Charms (Atharvaveda) which describes the plant as one of the most five sacred species that is often offered as a gift to the god Shiva. In 100 BC the psychoactive properties of cannabis were well documented by Pen Ts’ao Ching who was an emperor of China. With all this culturally rich history dating so far back it’s difficult for us to even imagine, it’s no wonder that marijuana is used as an aid in achieving hypnosis and euphoria during meditation today.

Why is cannabis used to alter states of consciousness?

Marijuana and hypnosis
Hypnosis is achieved in a variety of ways however the definition of hypnosis is a word that is used to describe a mental state that is relaxed or in a trance. Once a person reaches a trance state, their five senses will be heightened including touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. Marijuana naturally obscures those senses which can allow the mind to focus enough to obtain what is often referred to as the spiritual effects of cannabis.

Marijuana and spiritual growth
Some use marijuana as a spiritual connection to the world. Many Indian religious customs require the use or gifting of cannabis to signify and essentially bless holy days such as birthdays, weddings, and housewarmings. Cannabis is also used as an offering to the gods by either being smoked or being placed in traditional settings during religious festivals.

Euphoria during meditation
Meditation began as a religious practice and is now a widely practiced skill across the world. Some use meditation to unwind from the world, while others use it to try to completely escape. There is mention of cannabis use across many religious scriptures that encourage smoking before or during meditation to receive some of the spiritual benefits of cannabis. While peace of mind is often considered food for the soul some claim that their experiences of euphoria during meditation have been life-changing. Meditation has been clinically proven to reduce blood pressure, and stress levels on its own, and it seems that the active components found in marijuana simply magnifies that.

Smoke and contemplation
Cannabis is wonderful for clearing the mind and allowing you to fully immerse yourself in one thought or plan. Some of the world's most famous artists have used marijuana as a source of inspiration for their work, and many of those who don’t use it do will indulge in other forms of drugs that are also known for altering the user’s state of mind. Even those of us who aren’t so talented benefit from the calm that cannabis provides while contemplating big decisions that may be stressful to think about.

While stoners get a bad rap as far as stereotypes go, in the case of sex it seems the opposite is true. Marijuana is an excellent aid used to increase libido. There seems to be some conflict as to why this is, but many users report the altered state of consciousness that cannabis allows them to achieve helps to keep them calm and relaxed. Some strains even boast the ability to act as an aphrodisiac due to the increase in sensation felt when those who partake are high.

These two groups aren’t often found together however both recreational and medicinal marijuana users are garnering the spiritual effects of the plant without even realizing it. Ingesting THC can help to slow things down and will relax and soothe the user which is essentially self-medicating. Medicinal user’s benefit from the altered state of mind that helps to alleviate stress, depression, anxiety, pain, inflammation, and more.

Why does it work?

Marijuana plants contain hundreds of cannabinoids that help to shape and manipulate the experience provided by each one. The three that are most influential are THC, CBD, and Terpenes. THC is actually THCA until it undergoes a process called decarboxylation that activates and transforms them into THC. THC is the primary active cannabinoid and is responsible for the intense psychoactive qualities. CBD has also shown to be effective in altering the mind by adjusting the way a user’s brain creates various chemicals resulting in a relaxed individual. CBD is mainly used for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Terpenes are produced by a cannabis plant and provide what is described as an aromatic effect. Smells can trigger different sensations in an individual, and every scent will react differently. For some, a piney smell may be relaxing or nostalgic while others may benefit more from something fruity.


The way these elements affect you will depend on a few things. The first if your personal exposure and tolerance levels. If you have used cannabis in the past than you likely have what is called a higher tolerance. If you have not, then you will have a lower tolerance. The second is the amount of each cannabinoid that is present. In general, a higher THC strain will produce a more intense and euphoric high while CBD’s effects are similar but lighter. Terpenes smells will affect you purely on personal preference for scents. For a strain to be most effective at altering your state of consciousness you need to find a marijuana strain that offers the best of all three.

How is cannabis used to alter consciousness?

Marijuana can be consumed in several different ways however only those that include high amounts of heat will produce an altered state of mind. Most choose to use marijuana using one of the following methods.

Cannabis can be smoked in a joint, pipe, bong, or blunt. This method is the fastest acting but lasts the least amount of time. This method utilizes THC, CBD, and terpenes.
Vaping - Vaping is like smoking in how it affects an individual but tends to come with the added benefit of higher concentrated juices.

Edibles are one of the healthiest ways to consume marijuana. Eating edibles or infusing tea or coffee will produce the longest lasting high of any other method.

Similar to vaping or smoking in its effects, with the most significant difference being the presence of terpenes.

Oils or tinctures are usually odorless and don’t generally contain terpenes but do come in highly concentrated forms making it easy to orally administer doses.

Concentrates - Concentrates are the most potent of any other form of consuming cannabis.

If made using methods such as Co2 than the beneficial terpenes are also kept intact. With THC content that goes up to 99%, this is the most effective form of marijuana product.  



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