I always loved my uncle’s hilarious high school story about taking “window pane” LSD before attending a 1972 concert with the original Pink Floyd (not just Roger Waters) doing the entire Dark Side of the Moon album.
Hallucinations of all kinds accompanied the incredible concert. During part of a song that has helicopter sound effects, many concertgoers including my uncle hallucinated that actual helicopters were hovering above the stadium.
On their way home, my half-crazed uncle and his buddies pulled over several times because they kept seeing leprechauns in front of their car and didn’t want to hit them.
I’ve never experienced cannabis hallucinations that vivid, but cannabis is classified as a hallucinogen, and if you’re alert to how your mind’s functions and perceptions change acutely after you get high, you understand why.
Closely linked to the hallucinogenic properties of cannabis is its use as an entheogen. The word entheogen describes a mind-altering substance such as cannabis, DMT, peyote, or psilocybin magic mushrooms used to further the process of “entheo,” the unfolding of the divine, spiritual and “godly” inside yourself.
The suffix “gen” is key in the words hallucinogen and entheogen. In the former, the root of “hallucino” is from ancient language that means “wandering in the mind.” In the latter, entheo means spiritual quest in pursuit of what is sacred and godlike inside us. Substances like marijuana generate (gen) the prefix.
So how can you use marijuana as an entheogen?
The first thing to know is this is a “spiritual quest,” an effort to see deep truths about one’s self and the universe. It can be as simple as using a strong Indica or Kush to stop your thoughts so you meditate or pray with a clean, silent mind.
Or you use a powerful psychedelic cannabis strain to achieve altered visual, aural, cognitive, and emotional states.
These alterations, caused by a few milligrams of cannabinoids and terpenoids added to your bloodstream, are not under your full control. Cannabis is a foreign agent inside your neurotransmitter networks, changing your personality and relationship to the world, and this may scare novice users and those with minds prone to fear, inflexibility, and rigid thinking.
Some entheogenic and hallucinogenic marijuana effects include:
- Time and distances seem longer or shorter than they really are.
- The ego and self dissolve until a person feels he has become part of a “cosmic whole.”
- The value and suffering of other people, non-human animals, along with Nature itself, is seen more clearly and emotionally.
- The stark implications of birth and death are confronted with courage, calm, and honesty.
- One’s failings and successes are magnified and evaluated.
- The souls, personas, and effects of people close to you are seen in new ways, revealing the good and bad you never saw before in those closest to you.
- People who believe in personal gods or Gods, or in mystical, pagan or Wiccan teachings, find that cannabis may facilitate a more intimate connection to what they hold most sacred and “supernatural.”
- During the time you’re altered by cannabis, its entheogenic effects might cause you to determine that what you call your “self” and what you believe is reality are malleable and subject to interpretation.
Entheogenic marijuana use can be unsettling. For example, the infamous “marijuana paranoia” some users experience is often just suddenly accurate but troubling insights about people’s behavior and intentions that weren’t seen when the user was sober.
Introspection and self-change are a big part of the experience. The ganja-based Rastafarian religion popularized by the late, great Bob Marley encourages marijuana users to get high, explore one’s self, and see the “I and I” inside you.
When I used to have problems with bad temper, impatience and anger, it only took a couple of puffs before I mellowed out and became the nicest guy in the world…until the marijuana wore off.
Cannabis can propel you to “transcendental” realms. This means you have transcended (gone beyond) normal conscious awareness to see covert, underlying realities.
One reason I put up with the 90-110 day bloom phase of the famous pure Sativa Kali Mist marijuana strain from Serious Seeds is that it is the most entheogenic and hallucinogenic marijuana strain I’ve ever used.
When I was camping in a remote desert wilderness under a moonless night sky so filled with stars that the sky emitted a starglow, I inhaled Kali Mist dry sift. During the high, I experienced the following:
- I believed I saw beams of light in different colors coming from specific stars directly into my eyes.
- My desert location was hundreds of miles from a population center, so there were no signs of “civilization,” no planes overhead, no car headlights, near-total quiet. In this rare space, I perceived the rapid rotation of the earth, heard invisible owls, and was driven backwards onto the ground by vivid streaks from falling stars that seemed headed directly at me.
- I saw myself as a temporary genetic blueprint assemblage of stardust recycled into various elements and compounds. I was not a permanent self; I was an ever-changing collection of molecules and energy in constant flux, soon to be broken apart by death. The classic rock song “Dust in the Wind” (playing in my mind, not on a sound system) was the soundtrack for this part of the high.
- The high revealed to me the origins, true selves, outcomes, and biographical destinations of family and friends as they travel on life’s path.
- The overall spiritual consequences of this and other Sativa highs has been to show me my place in the universe, my mortality, my potential.
There have been times when the Kali Mist high seemed to offer merely funhouse carnival CGI special effects, but I later realized there were deep insights in those effects.
For example, I was swimming in an ocean while high on Kali Mist. The first “hallucination” I noticed was a columnar buoy directly in front of me rocking back and forth on the waves in a way that looked like it was dancing.
I was sure that the buoy had consciousness, and wondered what it’s like covered in barnacles rocking back and forth offshore in the swells for your whole life.
On another occasion in the ocean while high on Kali Mist, I saw dolphins swimming in front of me. Their undulating motion of going underwater and coming back up in an unbroken series of forward pulsations suddenly looked like a waveform, similar to what I see when I’m doing graphic frequency alteration during music production.
The dolphins appeared as magical perpetual motion organisms, moving quickly through and above the water, without apparent effort.
Underwater, I could hear and feel the dolphins echolocating and making communicative squeaks. The Kali Mist amplified these sounds and feelings, making them more profound and awesome.
Note to marijuana trippers: feelings of awe and profundity are often hallmarks of entheogenic experiences.
When I’ve made dry sift, edibles, and tincture using Kali Mist and other Sativa strains, I found the high deeper, longer-lasting, more powerful and radical.
Especially when using stronger entheogens such as peyote, DMT, or ayahuasca, the tripper may fall into a feeling of primal terror, a sudden awareness that evil beings (some would call them “demons”) actually exist…and may even be inside you, figuratively speaking of course, as I wouldn’t want anybody to think this is like the movie The Exorcist!
I felt this kind primal terror when my peaceful, heartwarming, rare experience with the pod of dolphins was ruined by two guys on jet skis whose machines and personalities were loud, dangerous and threatening.
These clowns deliberately targeted me and the dolphins–the Kali Mist helped me stay calm despite the negatives of motorized watercraft that result in habitat loss, injuries, and deaths for countless dolphins, manatees, other marine mammals…and swimmers.
Marijuana’s entheogenic effects allowed me to see into the minds of the dolphins, experiencing the noise, pollution, and threat of jet skis and boats as they endure them, and it was heartbreaking.
Don’t worry: cannabis can’t trip you into leprechaun territory.
You won’t be so high that you jump out of a window thinking you can fly, or swerve your car to avoid a leprechaun, causing an accident.
Marijuana’s hallucinogenic effects are far more subtle than what you experience with LSD, DMT and other strong entheogens.
For further guidance to help with your marijuana entheogenic and hallucinogenic adventures, watch the videos in this article and read the following books:
- Food of the Gods
- Plants of the Gods
- How to Change Your Mind (look for this title as authored by Michael Pollan)
The main thing to know from this article is that cannabis can be more than medicinal, relaxing, and fun. It can be a window into your soul and the deeper truths of the universe. Have a fantastic trip!