What to expect from a Cannabis-Assisted Psychotherapy & Psychedelic Cannabis Therapy Session
-By Daniel McQueen
Contrary to popular belief, Cannabis sativa is a classic psychedelic. Until recently, however, it just wasn’t grown with the quality, potency, and unique characteristics required to actualize as a reliable psychedelic medicine. The War on Drugs grossly distorted our understanding of cannabis, even within the psychedelic therapy community, and this has limited our perception of what we thought possible. But thanks to cannabis legalization people are waking up to the incredible potential of this plant.
Not everyone has access to the type of cannabis I am referring to here, so I would like to briefly describe the quality of the medicine I work with. The psychoactive components of cannabis are unique in that they originate in the nectar of its flower. Many of us are only familiar with the stale, skunky, pungent, low quality, low THC producing (less than 5%) “brick weed,” that is full of chemicals and poisons. Clean, well grown, organic cannabis has evolved today to be exceptionally potent (25%-30% or more THC content), and depending on the terpene profile, can smell like lemons, mangoes, oranges, peppers, spices, or candy — reminiscent of rich fertile soil and trees — or strong and soft like roses and other flowers. Inhaling modern cannabis can elicit the freshness of a beautiful spring day, be invigorating like lightning, or soft and relaxing like lavender and sage. Modern cannabis is beautiful, earthy, and uplifting, facilitating a sense of liberation and wellbeing.
Cannabis is such a beautiful and useful plant. It can clothe us, protect us, feed us, heal our pains, help us sleep and dream, and alter our consciousness to expansive self-acceptance, compassion towards others, and an awareness of the interconnected nature of all beings and our environment. Its creative insights can, and have, transformed not only individual lives but the course of the world. This is what happens when we break free from the War on Drugs and consciousness.
Cannabis Sativa is a safe and sacred medicinal tool which supports us in turning inward, resolving tensions stored deep within the body, tracking inner sensations, and releasing traumas from the nervous system. CannabisAssisted Psychedelic Therapy is different than “getting high.” When used in an intentional container with a professionally trained psychedelic guide, this modality deepens the healing and transformational process and makes somatic (body-centered) trauma work more efficient and more effective.
Clients frequently report
- Extreme body awareness
- Active imaginations and a deep connection with intuition
- A feeling of being very present in the room and with the therapist
- Remaining in control and lucid for the whole experience
- Profound new levels of nervous system regulation
- Developing a sense of agency in life, feeling more in control of life situations and having more choice
- Feeling a deeper connection with a sense of purpose
We work with Cannabis sativa not only because it’s legal, but also because it’s an incredible medicine to work with in psychedelic therapy. Since cannabis has a “shapeshifting” nature and can mimic other medicines, Psychedelic Cannabis practitioners are required to learn how to competently work with all the other medicines in a single session, ranging from gentle MDMA to extreme DMT states. No other medicine creates such a diverse psychedelic experience. Cannabis-Assisted Psychedelic Therapists are already openly practicing across the United States and Canada.
CANNABIS SATIVA IS THE MOST WIDELY ACCESSIBLE PSYCHEDELIC TOOL LEGALLY AVAILABLE
Cannabis is currently the only psychedelic plant medicine available for legal use in psychedelic therapy and psychotherapy settings in the United States, as well as the most accessible. There are no FDA approval processes required, only a novel adaptation of existing medical or recreational cannabis laws, depending on the location. With MDMA and psilocybin years away from a highly regulated medical model form of prescription legalization, cannabis has the potential to become the primary medicine for psychedelic-assisted healing modalities for many years to come, creating a necessary professional bridge to these medicines, and then becoming an equal option to the psychedelic therapies available to us in the future.
Cannabis has an untapped potential to become a perfect medicine for advanced psychedelic therapists to practice with legally, as well as for psychotherapists and other healers inspired to work with psychedelics but not wanting or willing to break any laws.
GENERAL PSYCHEDELIC EFFECTS OF CANNABIS SATIVA:
- Increased awareness of physical body, possibly creating a form of synesthesia that combines our visual perception with proprioception (body awareness), called “Visual Proprioception” in the Medicinal Mindfulness model
- Deep muscle relaxation leading to energetic discharges and trauma resolution, including the activation and clearing of the meridian and chakra channels, facilitating energy movement throughout the body, and profound new levels of nervous system regulation
- Capacity to travel through memory, increased awareness of mental programs, judgements and anxieties leading to resolutions of unhealthy processes
- Deeper awareness of emotional processes and activation of emotional discharges leading to release and healing
- Active dreamlike inner visual experience and clear capacity to imagine in a hyper-vivid inner reality
- Extreme creative problem solving activation and increased connection to intuition
- Transpersonal phenomenon is quite common, such as visitations of entities that feel other than the self (ancestors, guides, angels, totems, etc) and deep spiritual states of being and non-being that more closely resemble unity consciousness and profound connections with the divine
- Regularly activates synchronistic transformational growth experiences in the external (real world) field that must be engaged by the journeyer
- A deep sense of presence, as opposed to being dissociative, or “out there” or “somewhere else”
- Developing a sense of agency in life, feeling more in control of life situations and having more choice, feeling a deeper connection with their sense of purpose