Humans have been communing with the cannabis plant for thousands of years… ritual use has been discovered in archeological digs in China, India and Israel dating as far back as 2500 years (and that’s what we know!).
But today, as cannabis has become “normalized” or mainstreamed in Western societies, it’s lost much of its specialness as a plant conferring higher consciousness – becoming de-spiritualized if you will.
A new study, however, reveals that cannabis is slowly getting the recognition it deserves as an agent of higher consciousness, which I am thrilled to talk about in this week’s blog.
I got a story for you. One of my students was telling his wife about the online gatherings that I do with cannabis and he’s attended several. And she says to him, “Ok, let me get this right,” she said with a raised eyebrow. “So you get on Zoom with a group of strangers, you smoke weed, and you do like ancient meditations?”
And he says: “Yeah basically that’s it!”
And she was like, “OK – just make sure it’s not a cult.”
And my student tells me this, and we both laugh over it because I have an antenna for that culty kind of thing for several reasons and the most prevalent being that I came from an upbringing that was fairly religious, once I got into college, I turned and ran… I wanted none of it.
So I have no adherence to any belief except in the individual and that YOU have the ability to heal yourself from being stuck in your life – and whatever that looks like to you. And that’s why I value cannabis so much because this plant medicine, used in intentionally or spiritually, if you want to say that, can be hugely beneficial in getting you unstuck. That is what my work is all about.
So I’m very excited to tell you about a new study that’s come out regarding the spiritual use of Cannabis. Of course, not out of the United States… this study from a researcher in Norway at the University of Bergen.
This study aimed to explore the characteristics of spiritual-cannabis-use as compared to recreational use AND compared to using psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin mushrooms.
So let me tell you a little about it and I’ll put a link in the comments section so you can review the whole study if you’d like.
There were 319 participants and they were recruited from a variety of online forums that discussed cannabis and psychedelics, where else would you get participants for a purpose like this? And the participants, over a period of 2 to 4 weeks, were interviewed about various aspects of their use of cannabis and psychedelics.
Their identifies were all kept anonymous to the researcher. The average age of participants was 33 years old and the group was more than 80% male. The group include people working in education, journalism, IT consulting, accounting, retail, and college students.
So what happened?
Well, first, only 25% of the participants said they had a spiritual motivation for using cannabis. One-quarter of the group. Intriguingly, that’s compared to 69% who said they used other substances for spiritual motivation. 69% – that’s nearly 3-quarters of those using psychedelic substances – not cannabis for higher consciousness pursuit.
The 25% using cannabis for higher consciousness said that included having insights, connectedness, joy, love, and unity with “transcendent forces”.
There were some big take away messages from this study I believe. One is that the study reported that those who used cannabis as a spiritual guide approached the plant much differently than those using cannabis for recreation or relaxation.
And, very interesting, this group that used cannabis spiritually, reported experiences with the plant that they said RESEMBLED spiritual experiences they had had with psychedelics.
Another notable observation was the frequency of participants using cannabis with spiritual intent… They said that using cannabis less frequently enhanced their experiences – that the experiences were more intense and more meaningful when they created space between the times they used it.
And finally, participants talked about their motivations for using cannabis. And there were 3 distinct groups. One group said they used cannabis for socializing, partying and having fun, which certainly has its place.
Another group were very clear that they were on a quest to obtain spiritual experiences. The last group expressed a general curiosity about the psychological effects – not explicitly spiritual but wanting to explore the realm of inner experience.
The conclusion of the research, which is pretty much standard operating procedure for published scientific studies is that it deserves further study. Sure, bring it on!
By the way, keep an eye out for details… we’re going to be taking the deep dive with cannabis in some Psychedelic cannabis events coming up. So if you’re wanting to explore the realm of inner experience with cannabis in a very deliberate way, you should join us. Details to come.
Again, I’ll put the link to the study down below in the comments section. And I invite you also to share your thoughts about this. I’d love to hear where you stand with your use of cannabis.
I’m Becca Williams, and I want you to lead your most magnificent life, and I want to help you do that.