Cannabis and magic mushrooms have over the years become the recreational drug of choice for most users because of their reputation as natural drugs, cleaner and purer than the other synthetics that are out there.
Apart from the fact that both substances occur naturally, their effects have an uncanny likeness to each other given that they both lift your mood, make you more creative and enhance your appreciation of nature, music and the arts. They also have a dark side and can create anxiety, paranoia, or full blown panic attacks when mishandled.
So do you get the same high from the two? Put it this way – when you want to relax, you take cannabis, but if you want to go on a spiritual journey, then magic mushrooms is your ticket there.
The Cannabis High
Cannabis as a plant contains more than 113 different cannabinoids, of which THC and CBD are the most important. They play a yin and yang-like role where THC is the main psychoactive compound, while CBD counters THC’s effects. THC, in particular, stimulates your brain to produce dopamine, the chemical that makes you feel good during the high.
Depending on the strain you use, the effects of marijuana can vary from stimulation and exhilaration to relaxation. Sativas stimulate you more, while indicas make you relax.
Cannabis affects your senses mainly through your visual perception, where colours appear brighter. Music will also sound more beautiful while the taste of food and aroma become more enjoyable.
As for your mood, cannabis makes you feel upbeat. You’ll get funny spur of the moment thoughts, although they may also be insightful and in some instances paranoid. Thoughts that are at first clear become clouded as lethargy seeps in.
When you come down from the high you’ll typically experience the munchies, drowsiness and an altered perception of time. You may also feel more sensual and a heightened libido.
Generally, the effects of smoking weed kick in after about 30 minutes, but the high lasts for 1 to 3 hours. However, if you take marijuana as food or drink it takes longer to hit you, but the high lasts for many more hours than smoking.
The Magic Mushroom High
Like cannabis, psilocybin – the active ingredient in psilocybin mushrooms – works by binding itself to serotonin receptors in your brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that gives us a sense of wellbeing and happiness, in the same way that dopamine does with THC.
In smaller doses you’ll feel an uplift in your mood coupled with a sense of being connected to nature. Microdosing Mushrooms also makes you more focused, creative, and boosts your problem solving skills.
During a full-blown trip, psilocybin goes further than just making you feel good, it completely reboots your brain. All your senses are cued to respond simultaneously to a particular stimulus. Walls begin to breathe, colours have sound, while music acquires a texture. Visuals become more enhanced and you begin to see things like halos around lights and geometric patterns when you close your eyes.
So strong are the emotions you go through, that some describe this as ego death, whose effects can last 6 months after the trip. The average psilocybin shrooms trip can last between 3 to 6 hours, depending on dosage.
How they’re Different
Although THC is sometimes classified as a psychedelic drug, its effects aren’t as intense or as life-altering as those produced by magic mushrooms. Cannabis is really more of a “downer”, meaning that beyond the intoxication and euphoria, it creates a relaxing, sedative effect. How intense these effects are depends the THC versus CBD count of the strain you consume. A higher THC count means a more psychoactive high, while a higher CBD count means a more sedative high.
Psilocybin mushrooms, on the other hand, are “uppers” because they energize our mind and stimulate the body. At higher doses, they give us a psychedelic high that can include mind-blowing visuals and out-of-body sensations. Certain magic mushroom strains like the Transkei are known to produce shamanic trips that have been variously described as cleansing, deeply spiritual and life altering.
Can one substance outdo the other in terms of the level of satisfaction they give you? Not really. It’s all a matter of personal preference and the occasion you choose to take. Not everyone is looking for a life altering experience. Sometimes all we want to do is kick back and lose ourselves in the moment, before getting back to our ordinary lives.
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