Want to get the most out of life and marijuana? Me too—I use marijuana to help me experience maximum health, fun, excitement, adventure and joy.

But as with any substance that radically changes your consciousness and body, some marijuana effects don’t contribute to healthy, happy living.

You feel good while you’re high—but highs sometimes end with mood crashes, binge eating, depression, memory loss, lack of energy, focus, and motivation, along with lingering alterations in brain and body functions.

Marijuana changes my personality, energy, and life potential because it hacks major neurotransmitter and neuromodulator circuits in your body, beginning with your endocannabinoid system, which leads to cascading effects in dopamine and serotonin systems.  

Why should you care about any of this? Well, dopamine is the chemical  driving force behind why you want what you want, how you feel as you try to get it, and how you feel after you get it. Dopaminergic problems are implicated in addiction, depression, psychosis, sexual dysfunction, social failures, and Parkinson’s disease. Serotonin is a key body chemical involved in maintaining homeostasis, feelings of happiness, sleep patterns, etc.

As I’ve monitored marijuana’s good and bad effects, I’ve discovered various compounds and activities that potentiate marijuana benefits while reducing marijuana negatives. And now I share these hacks with you…

CAFFEINE affects the cardiovascular and central nervous systems, which in turn affects mental and physical performance—often in stimulating ways. Cannabis affects those systems too, sometimes as a sedative.

Thus, taking small doses of caffeine at the start of a using marijuana session can counteract marijuana’s sedative effects, especially important if you’re getting high before engaging in athletics or intellectual work.

Problem is, caffeine has negative side effects and can be addictive. It is easily overused. How you source, dose and use caffeine determines how much it helps or hurts you.

Further, coffee is not the most efficient or helpful way of ingesting caffeine—it’s excessively acidic, expensive, often grown using ecologically damaging and labor-abusive practices, and has other harmful properties.

Containerized “energy drinks” are expensive, full of toxic additives, so loaded with caffeine they create anxiety, cardiovascular problems, insomnia and/or become addictive.

I don’t use coffee, soft drinks, energy drinks or other common high-dose caffeine potions. Sometimes I eat 1-3 roasted coffee beans before a workout or concert. My caffeine sensitivity is high, so I feel the effects of 1-3 beans. For comparison, a cup of coffee is made from 60-70 beans if not more. Too many for me.

A healthier source of caffeine is organic, unsmoked Yerba Mate. This natural herb you brew like green tea gives a lot more benefits than caffeine. It provides anti-oxidation, vasodilation, reduction in blood lipids, and other anti-mutagenic and anti-glycation benefits.

Yerba Mate stimulates fat metabolism, increases focus, alertness and energy, decreases fatigue, and increases exercise performance and enjoyment. Reduced body fat, increased appetite control, and increased satiety were observed in humans studied while taking Yerba Mate.

These health properties have been attributed to several bioactive compounds in the plant.

Ingesting organic raw cacao is similar to ingesting Yerba Mate in that it delivers moderate caffeine dose along with many other health-giving compounds. Using the Terrasoul raw cacao brand, I make delicious hot chocolate by adding a couple of teaspoons of cacao powder to a cup of hot water, with nothing else added. To me, it tastes way better, and is objectively far healthier than so-called cocoa drinks that are laden with sugars and other gunk. Pure cacao is a superfood!

Marijuana & Dopamine: The Magic Feel-Good Bean

Remember: marijuana messes with your dopamine circuitry. This circuitry is involved in cannabis use disorder and cannabis withdrawal symptoms.

The burn-out and depression you might feel after coming down from a cannabis high happens in part because cannabis artificially stimulates dopamine and…what goes up must come down.

The good news is you can use the natural bean called Mucuna pruriens to reduce dopaminergic problems; it contains L-dopa, the precursor to dopamine.

M. pruriens has also been employed as a powerful aphrodisiac. It works against male infertility, increases male sexual performance, and reduces sexual anxiety.

Calamus is a traditional Indian medicinal herb used to treat a wide range of health ailments, including neurological, gastrointestinal, respiratory, metabolic, kidney, and liver disorders. To date, 145 constituents have been isolated from this herb and identified, including phenylpropanoids, sesquiterpenoids, and monoterpenes.

Compelling evidence suggest that calamus works against several metabolic and neurological disorders because of its anticonvulsant, antidepressant, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, neuroprotective, cardioprotective, and anti-obesity effects.

In India, calumus is often used with cannabis to potentiate marijuana’s beneficial effects and decrease its harmful effects. I buy it as a dried herb and mix a tiny amount into my vaporizer bowl along with buds.

The Mango, Myrcene, Marijuana Connection

Many marijuana growers and users look for mango smell/taste when selecting strains, and some people eat mangos at the start of a marijuana session. Why?

One primary constituent of mangos and marijuana is myrcene. β-Myrcene contained within cannabis increases transportation of cannabinoids into the brain, is analgesic, and boosts the actions of other cannabis terpenes as well as cannabinoids.

The combined entourage effects modulated by myrcene helps THC bind more effectively with the CB1 receptor, which contributes to improved analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-anxiety effects. Myrcene gives you faster, more intense highs, but also modulates the high so it isn’t paranoid or aggravating.

β-Myrcene acts in synergy with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids such as CBD to enhance medicinal and psychoactive effects.

This is why so many marijuana growers and users look for mango smell when they’re selecting strains, and why some people eat mangos at the start of a marijuana session.

My latest favorite mango-scented mega-myrcene strain is Banana Mango, from legendary terpenoid wizards Humboldt Seed Company.

This is a 75-25% Sativa-dominant photoperiod strain with delicious aroma while flowering that intensifies during proper drying and curing. Opening a jar of cured Banana Mango is like breathing the perfumed air of a tropical orchard!

This phenotype-reliable superstrain is a heavy feeder of both nutrients and grow light radiation, and is relatively fast-finishing (54-61 days in bloom phase).

Out of several dozen strains I’ve sampled this year, most of them boring and predictable, Banana Mango stands out. You feel the myrcene operating beneath the THC, making the high sweet and reassuring while maintaining Sativa energy-boost, euphoria, and edge.

If you want plenty of myrcene and mango taste and flavor in a more-sedating, heavier-yielding strain, Humboldt Seed Company offers Mango Sherbert. This very fast-finishing photoperiod strain produces large, thick, gooey buds, a sensuous mango nose, and a time-altering dreamy high. THC percentages have lab-tested as high as 28%.

Clean Your Liver, Lungs & Make Your Dreams Wilder

I take 600 mg per day of N-acetylcysteine, which is available in health food stores. This anti-oxidant compound helps your liver, which is seriously, negatively affected by chronic marijuana use.

It also helps clear your lungs of particulates and mucous associated with combusting marijuana or vaping it at too high temperatures.

If I’m super high at bedtime, having trouble falling asleep, and want a cinematic sleep phase, I ingest wormwood extract. Wormwood contains compounds that are components of the semi-hallucinogenic alcoholic liquor named “absinthe.”

Wormwood combined with marijuana makes my dreams more 3-D and entertaining, while also helping me get restful sleep.

As an added benefit, recent studies indicate wormwood inhibits replication of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID) virus and two of its most recent variants!

Cautions & Action Steps for Using Marijuana Hacks

As with taking any supplements, first do your research and be careful. Especially as regards caffeine, Mucuna pruriens and similar substances, you can use too much and/or too often, resulting in a push-pull series of ups and downs.

You might have unpleasant reactions to some of the substances mentioned here. The best tactic for using substance-based hacks is to share this article with a competent, open-minded naturopathic or holistic doctor to get their feedback.

Activities that accentuate the positive effects of marijuana and reduce the negatives include:

  • Cold water immersion. Spending at least five minutes in very cold water is scientifically proven to boost levels of dopamine and other neurochemicals. Once when I consumed pure Indica Mazar-i-Sharif and felt like I’d taken Quaaludes, I went to the nearby ocean and jumped in to 58°F water. I instantly felt like somebody had dosed me with Sativa and caffeine.
  • Intense aerobic exercise: Exercise that results in an uninterrupted doubling (or more) of your resting pulse rate for at least 40 minutes per day revs up your feel-good dopamine circuitry, blows away some of marijuana’s downer effects, and contributes to overall health, fitness, and fat loss.
  • Intermittent fasting: This means eating only during a very short time window each day, usually from 10 am until 7 pm, but also includes making health-conscious choices about what to eat and when to eat during that period. When you’re giving your system 15 hours a day free from food intake, you have more energy, dopamine, mental clarity.
  • Social Engagement: Too many marijuana users become marijuana recluses who don’t have enough if any meaningful social interaction. Studies show that quality social interaction boosts dopamine and other neurochemicals. Don’t hide away with your buds. Humans are social animals, and it’s easier to become depressed and lethargic if you lack meaningful friendships and interactions.
  • Stop combusting marijuana—combustion poisons you. Read this article, and vaporize whole bud instead of burning it.

I’ve included two videos by a statured Stanford scientist. His entire YouTube channel is useful for anyone wanting the best from life.

The first 5-10 minutes of his videos are commercials, but after that you get the latest scientific research on dopamine, addiction, motivation, depression, sleep, fitness, fasting, dietary changes, and many other fascinating, practical topics.

Now that you’ve read this article and watched the videos, you have lots of cool new things to try. Do your own research before buying, using or doing anything recommended here, and consult with a health specialist.

When you intelligently combine these hacks with marijuana, you get higher highs, and fewer lows!