Psychedelic experience dose-dependently modulated by cannabis: results of a prospective online survey

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2022 May;239(5):1425-1440. doi: 10.1007/s00213-021-05999-1. Epub 2021 Nov 4.


Rationale: Classic psychedelics are currently being studied as novel treatments for a range of psychiatric disorders. However, research on how psychedelics interact with other psychoactive substances remains scarce.

Objectives: The current study aimed to explore the subjective effects of psychedelics when used alongside cannabis.

Methods: Participants (n = 321) completed a set of online surveys at 2 time points: 7 days before, and 1 day after a planned experience with a serotonergic psychedelic. The collected data included demographics, environmental factors (so-called setting) and five validated questionnaires: Mystical Experience Questionnaire (MEQ), visual subscales of Altered States of Consciousness Questionnaire (ASC-Vis), Challenging Experience Questionnaire (CEQ), Ego Dissolution Inventory (EDI) and Emotional Breakthrough Inventory (EBI). Participants were grouped according to whether they had reported using no cannabis (n = 195) or low (n = 53), medium (n = 45) or high (n = 28) dose, directly concomitant with the psychedelic. Multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) and contrasts was used to analyse differences in subjective effects between groups while controlling for potential confounding contextual 'setting' variables.

Results: The simultaneous use of cannabis together with classic serotonergic psychedelics was associated with more intense psychedelic experience across a range of measures: a linear relationship was found between dose and MEQ, ASC-Vis and EDI scores, while a quadratic relationship was found for CEQ scores. No relationship was found between the dose of cannabis and the EBI.

Conclusions: Results imply a possible interaction between the cannabis and psychedelic on acute subjective experiences; however, design limitations hamper our ability to draw firm inferences on directions of causality and the clinical implications of any such interactions.

Keywords: Cannabis; Challenging experience; Harm reduction; Mystical experience; Peak experience; Psychedelics; Recreational use; Set and setting; Subjective experience.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / pharmacology
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists / pharmacology
  • Cannabis*
  • Emotions
  • Hallucinogens* / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Analgesics
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists
  • Hallucinogens