How Cannabis Is Used in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy

Verywell / Alex Dos Diaz

Psychedelic cannabis refers to the use of cannabis as a psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. According to psychedelic specialist Daniel McQueen, cannabis can help heal trauma and other mental health ailments.

Read on to learn more about psychedelic cannabis, its uses, and any tips you may want to consider before trying psychedelic-assisted therapy. 

What Qualifies as Psychedelic Cannabis?

Due to advancements in cannabis over the past 20 years, marijuana is more potent than ever before. Because of marijuana's potency, marijuana is now compared to MDMA, psilocybin (also known as mushrooms), and ayahuasca.

With psychedelic cannabis, the particular blend of strains will have been specifically chosen to provide an experience that's conducive to developing deep emotional and even spiritual insights.

The Strains Determine Marijuana's Psychedelic Nature

What qualifies cannabis as psychedelic is dependent on the particular plant strain and how they are blended to achieve a particular effect. Simply put, there is an art to psychedelic cannabis—it isn’t as simple as using marijuana and getting high.

Cannabis for Use in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy

Though less common than substances like psilocybin or MDMA, psychedelic cannabis can be used in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.

Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy

Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy is an emerging form of psychotherapy that can treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. It can even be supportive for those suffering from terminal illness-induced mental health issues.

How Does Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Work?

In a psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy session, the chosen substance is administered in a controlled environment. This means that a very particular dosage that has been studied and tested for its effectiveness is given to the patient.

With psychedelic cannabis, the particular blend of strains will have been specifically chosen to provide an experience that's conducive to developing deep emotional and even spiritual insights.

The setting for the session is also heavily considered. In order to create a calm and soothing atmosphere, the music and lighting will be carefully curated so that the patient has a healing experience.

If you’re interested in furthering your knowledge of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy in general, consider checking out the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). They have information on clinical trials, the efficacy of this form of treatment, resources, and more. 

Is Psychedelic Cannabis Legal?

Cannabis is federally illegal, but it is legal for medical use in some states. Typically, decriminalization is the first step in working towards making cannabis legal in a state.

Decriminalization refers to overturning oppressive policies regarding cannabis, making it an essential foundational step in legalization. However, many states are in varying phases of legalization, from decriminalization to being outright legal.

As such, it is incredibly important to be aware of your particular state’s policies regarding this substance.

5 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  3. Schenberg EE. Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy: a paradigm shift in psychiatric research and development. Front Pharmacol. 2018;9:733. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2018.00733

  4. Byock I. Taking psychedelics seriously. J. Palliat. Med. 2018;21(4):417-421. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2017.0684

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By Julia Childs Heyl, MSW
Julia Childs Heyl, MSW, is a clinical social worker and writer. As a writer, she focuses on mental health disparities and uses critical race theory as her preferred theoretical framework. In her clinical work, she specializes in treating people of color experiencing anxiety, depression, and trauma through depth therapy and EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) trauma therapy.