Is she a jealous plant? Should I devout my energy to only one plant spirit at a time? Why do most ayahuasca diets restrict cannabis? I struggled with these questions before my first ayahuasca ceremony.
All sources advised me to refrain from cannabis in preparation for and after my ayahuasca retreat. I followed all the guidelines and when the time came, I packed up everything I thought I would need, my favorite crystals, Paulo Santo and a traditional Shipibo mat, everything except weed.
I don’t smoke cigarettes, but per the advice of a friend who had spent several months in the Amazon with Ayahuasqueros, I packed a bag of hand rolled Peruvian tobacco. “Mapachao” he said referring to the tobacco, “you can blow smoke at any negative spirits, warding them away.” Because I was so nervous, I was grateful for any tool in the toolkit to combat my demons.
Imagine my surprise when my shaman asked if I had any weed upon my arrival. Seriously?! I had been weed celibate for the entire month prior. Luckily, we manifested some good local bud and hash. Even so, I was hesitant to partake with the rest of the group, but on the third night of ceremony I began to feel comfortable in my ayahuasca skin. With my new operating system installed properly, I was ready to test out some software, cannabis. I told my shaman. Careful not to interrupt the others, he guided me over to the dab rig and shined a light. Feeling confident enough to load the rig, I did so with no more reservation. After a few green blinks and a buzz, the tiny rig started smoking and I inhaled.
What happened next will stay with me forever. Instantly, I felt the sedative effect of the cannabis as it slowed down my rhythm. I started having intense vivid visions that were deeply personal and very real. The plant medicine inside of me seemed to embrace the cannabis, taking me on a deeper inner journey, exposing toxic relationships in my life. The experience was profound. Cannabis helped me break down my analytical mind and fly higher, as they say. Of course, every individual’s experience is different and unique. For example, if you have an unhealthy relationship with cannabis it is likely ayahuasca will bring this to your attention.
“Why does the mainstream oppose the use of cannabis with ayahuasca?”
I asked my shaman. He was 39 years old, younger in my opinion for an Ayahuasquero. “Cannabis has long been illegal, and the elders in the jungle have always seen it this way” was his response. He opened up to me about his mission to change the view of cannabis in the world of ayahuasca, beginning with handing out ganja to the elders from whom he attains the medicine. As a result, more and more elders are slowly coming around to it. As for the culture currently so immersed in tobacco he says “It’s grounding, the tobacco. The cannabis is the opposite, it makes you let go and fly.”
Perhaps some of these older traditions may be fading, as a new school is brewing. Even so, I find that many well seasoned psychonauts are still not ready to bring cannabis into their ceremony. My experience in contrast to the mainstream view of mixing these two plants sparked a deeper conversation with my Ayahuascaro, Raimutsa, who shed light on of the conflicting beliefs. His true connection with Grandmother Aya is undeniable to say the least.
The geographical aspect is very important to consider.” – Raimutsa
“Weed has never grown in the jungle, there was no intercultural exchange. Weed was seen before as something a foreigner brought with them, something they were addicted to. Now it is being treated as a sacred plant.”
“Coca leaves are popular because they are from our traditional culture and the region where the medicine grows.” Something to consider, “Ayahuasca has been leaving Peru less than 30 years or so on a main stream level, it has not been very long at all.” This makes sense as cannabis has only recently been viewed as beneficial on a global level.
“What about people who say you can only devout your energy to one plant?” I asked.
“What about the people that warned me she is a jealous plant?” He let out a chuckle before returning to a judo level of seriousness. He responded to my question with another question. “Do plants communicate on the level of jealousy? This is a projection of the people that are saying this or believing it. Plants have such ancient wisdom, they don’t vibe at the low frequency level of jealousy. Before human language did plants know about jealousy?” That said, Raimutsa was also clear that we never judge how anyone interprets their journey, it is their journey alone.
“In the future, cannabis is going to be included in ayahuasca ceremonies”
Raimutsa goes on to say. ” The dance of the plants” he calls it. Rai likes to start his ceremonies with a spoonful of San Pedro cactus, another entheogenic plant spirt, and there is a time he likes to integrate cannabis. Make no mistake, there are rules. Dosage is important. Timing is important. Intention is important. “In the intention is the purpose, the why.”
In Rai’s cannabis friendly sessions, it is optional. If somebody is struggling with a hard purge, he will recommend a toke to help recover. If somebody is having an especially difficult time he may offer a few tokes. It is a powerful tool in his shamanic toolkit. He told me that healers use a wide variety of other plants for different applications, cannabis is no different. “People often get stuck in a loop” he says, “there needs to be a release, something to get them to either purge or move on from their loop, in these cases cannabis can help.”
Cannabis and Ayahuasca Together Creating Bliss
You can faint from smoking weed during a session he told me. “The cannabis is getting stronger each day, there are vapes, dabs, all this other stuff – so, if people are not big cannabis users and they take a bong rip or a dab in that state it can be amazing but you have to know how to Surf it.” These cases are rare in his experience. In my experience, fainting from a dab, can happen without ayahuasca. There is not much scientific data on the subject yet. Rather only empirical knowledge, scientific studies have just begun on each individual plant.
One of Raimutsa’s main ceremonial chants centers around the word ananda, Sanskrit for bliss. This chant is a therapeutic icaros, or medicine song, a Shapibo tradition thousands of years old. Rai explains, “The nature of our mind is bliss, cannabis is related to bliss, also related to bliss is ayahuasca, they access the same receptors and they both belong to the same family. Each plant can show you a different aspect of your spirituality.”
“Let’s manifest a change of paradigm” Rai suggests. “From jealousy and rivalry between plants to a synergistic alliance of plants. It is time to listen to the plants and the planet.”