Hallucinating Cannabis
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Is It Possible To Hallucinate From Smoking Or Eating Cannabis?

3 min
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Hallucinating from cannabis has been shown in many fictional films and legends. Many of these examples act to sensationalise, often accompanied by a false narrative revolving around cannabis. Is there any truth to the hallucinatory power of weed?

Is it possible to hallucinate from cannabis? Well, it really depends on who you ask. Some people have smoked tremendous amounts of weed through bongs, blunts, and joints in a single setting without ever experiencing hallucinations. In contrast, the occasional forum post claims that people have had quite vivid visual hallucinations from smoking quite a bit of weed. Many pop-culture films feature cannabis in such a way that it is comparable to LSD, sending characters into a full-blown psychedelic trip after a single toke. This example is obviously exaggerated to the point where it is actually damaging to the herb’s image. So, is there a middle ground here? Is there any evidence to suggest that it is possible to hallucinate from cannabis? There is some, but it might not be in the way that you think.


What Causes Hallucinations?

A hallucination is an experience that involves the perception of something that isn't directly present in reality. Many different plants and mushrooms contain chemicals that can cause hallucinations. These drugs alter perceptions of objects and also change behaviour in certain ways. Cannabis is not classed as a hallucinogen. However, the herb is psychoactive and can possibly change perception when we consider the psychological states it can bring about.


The terms “set” and “setting” describe the conditions in which psychoactive experiences take place. Set refers to the state of mind of the participant and setting refers to the location and environment within which the experience is taking place. These factors are carefully considered when people are looking to optimise a psychoactive experience. Although cannabis is not directly hallucinogenic, choosing an environment that will exaggerate its effects may help to really maximise the psychoactive nature of the high. Setting an intention and preparing mentally will also provide an optimal state of mind for such an experience.

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Why Eating Cannabis Is Stronger Than Smoking It

The method of cannabis consumption may also influence the power of the psychedelic experience. Smoking weed will come on much faster, yet will dissipate quicker. Edibles will take some time to come on, but tend to last longer and often cause a more powerful high.


A Bit Of Backstory

Cannabis has been used in human cultures for thousands of years, taken in countless forms and for many different reasons. Perhaps one of the oldest tales of cannabis hallucination is associated with the Islamic leader Hassan-i-Sabbah and dates back to the 11th century.

The legend states that Hassan-i-Sabbah covertly dosed a group of followers with hashish to plunge them into an altered state of consciousness. Under the influence of the drug, he then ushered his now-stoned group into a lush garden filled with beautiful females. He used the stunning setting, tempting women and effects of the drug to convince his followers that they had entered paradise, claiming that the only way they could return to such a location was to fight in his service.

Hassan-i-Sabbah founded an order of assassins, also called "The Hashshashin". This group was a medieval organisation that was established in the Middle East. Although the name of the order seems to resemble the word hash, the drug with which members were allegedly dosed with, sources also state that the term hashishi was used as a derogatory term to refer to these people, a word meaning “outcasts” or “rubble.”

This legend was brought back from the region by Marco Polo, and may very well have been exaggerated and distorted over time. While the story does not prove in any way that hash caused the group to hallucinate, it is a potential example of the powerful effects of cannabis and how it can change the state of mind of an individual.


What About Edibles?

Let’s take another quick dip into history and examine the cannabis-based beverage known as Bhang. This drink is largely used during the Holi festival in India and has been used in certain Indian religious rituals throughout history. It is reported that Hindu monks utilise the mind-altering power of Bhang in order to induce transcendental states of meditation. The drink is usually made using milk, ghee, mangoes, Indian spices and, of course, cannabis.

Bhang is often described as an edible source of cannabis, in that it passes through the digestive tract and is metabolised differently than cannabis that is consumed through smoking. Smoked cannabis acts quickly, passing through the blood-brain barrier in the form of THC, while edible cannabis takes a different route. When eaten, THC passes through the liver and is converted into 11-Hydroxy-THC. This process induces a high that lasts longer and is more intense. If cannabis can in any way cause a person to hallucinate, it will most likely be from an edible source.

A scientific paper published in the British Journal of Addiction talks about Bhang inducing hallucinatory behaviour. However, the subjects featured within the study had displayed symptoms of psychosis after consuming the beverage. Cannabis is known to cause temporary psychotic episodes within some people and a symptom of this state is indeed hallucination.


Types Of Cannabis

The type of cannabis consumed will certainly have an effect on how psychoactive a trip will be. High-quality cannabis that has been cultivated with professional care will contain more THC content and will be more psychoactive in nature. Using extracts, such as oils and tinctures, will reap more powerful results. Hash is also a good option for a clean and strong psychoactive high. Synthetic cannabis, cannabinoids that are synthesised within a lab, is said to have strong effects. However, these synthetic versions are also associated with severe and even lethal side effects.


Cannabis is not a hallucinogenic drug like psilocybin mushrooms or LSD. Cannabis is psychoactive and can induce euphoric states and very interesting thought processes. It seems extremely hard or even impossible to hallucinate from cannabis, unless an individual is experiencing a symptom of a psychotic episode.

Getting extremely high may result in some distortions of reality due to the mind-altering effects, but these can't really be classed as hallucinations.


Written by: Zamnesia
Zamnesia has spent years honing its products, ranges, and knowledge of all things psychedelic. Driven by the spirit of Zammi, Zamnesia strives to bring you accurate, factual, and informative content.

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