Entheogens, psychedelics, hallucinogens, and other intoxicants are connected with witchcraft because they help us to escape the trappings of the mind and aide in spirit flight. Witches have been working with herbs to alter consciousness for thousands of years and the story is no different today. What is different however is the availability of these substances. The legal drinking age in the United States is twenty-one, younger in most others. Medical marijuana is currently legal in several states and without question will become legal recreationally soon. Herbs like Salvia are also available in the large majority of locations as well as Ayahuasca in South America and abroad. Even mugwort and Mexican tarragon when prepared the right way can induce intense dream states. Modern witches have all of these herbs at our disposal with just a few clicks on the Internet so I thought I would share with you some safe and effective ways to work with the most popular of psychoactive herbs available, Cannabis.

I started working with Cannabis to alleviate IBS symptoms that began some years back. Growing up in a place where it was available recreationally through unmentionable channels, I did have some exposure to it prior to my diagnosis but was largely unfamiliar with the plant as a spiritual ally. Once it became somewhat of a staple for alleviating the often-debilitating symptoms of IBS, I realized that I had a job to do as an animist; I had to familiarize myself with the plant spirit to continue to work with it responsibly.

I was never much of a user prior to getting sick and to be honest, I was not immediately into sharing my experiences with others, mostly because I didn’t want to be labeled as a ‘stoner’ in the eyes of other witches. That fear would melt away in my close circles and give rise to discussions and new experiences that would better my understanding of what having a spiritual relationship with this plant can offer.

Lets get one thing straight: You don’t have to work with Cannabis if you don’t want to, it doesn’t make or break you as a witch. It is a relationship that I developed as an adult with legal access to it. If you can’t enjoy it legally it isn’t really worth the penalties that can often come with possession of such a plant.

There are several ways to partake of Cannabis, the most popular being the smoking of the sticky cone like flower. Other products such as oils and tinctures are easily made or obtained through extracting the whole plant essence, not just the flowering bud. The psychoactive chemical of the plant known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) produces an immediate shift in the mind and is generally responsible for the euphoric feeling associated with consuming the plant. Cannabidiol (CBD) on the other hand is responsible for the medicinal effects of pain relief, nausea reduction, to reduce seizures, and in strong enough doses can actually stop the growth of and even shrink the size of tumors. For the majority of medical Cannabis users strains of the plant containing higher volumes of CBD are desired. When working with the plant spiritually to alter consciousness and raise vibration, we want to work with strains with higher amounts of THC and minimal amounts of CBD. Too much CBD can make the body feel heavy after sometime and will either put you to sleep for a few hours, or will make it difficult to maintain focus during spiritual exploration.

Cannabis strains I can recommend for spirit flight:

Sour Diesel: Has a very nice calming ability on the body, releasing anxiety and tension while sharpening the mind. The high lasts a moderate amount of time and is an easy transition back to sobriety without any crashing effects. Very stimulating and makes for an excellent soul flight experience. Probably my most preferred.

3D: A hybrid strain that combines three euphoric varieties which in small amounts will make you feel creative and social. In larger quantities has been said to bring deep states of shamanic awareness.

Voodoo: A strain that comes from Thailand, known for its long lasting euphoric effects and mind altering anti-depressive properties. This strain is excellent for long durations of soul flight and can be used in smaller increments over a longer period of time to maintain shamanic conscious states.

Blue Dream: Balancing full-body relaxation and gentle mental invigoration this strain hails from California and is a favorite among practitioners. A nice subtle shift in the mind, a euphoric body high and an almost immediate loss of anxiety makes this strain a go to.

White Widow: Another hybrid which boasts impressive effects for spiritually minded users, this strain comes from the Netherlands and is a cross between plants from both India and Brazil. It gets its name from the white crystals that coat the flower, this stain is perfect for deep emotional healing and all night spirit communion. Very strong, this variety should be used with caution for new users.

When working with this plant as a spiritual ally it can open doors to parts of the mind which beg for healing, speed the vibrational astral process, and enhance shamanic reality. The trick to this practice however is to not use so much that you lose the ability to actually do the work at hand. I worked with a group for years who would use cannabis to aid in spirit flight and by far the biggest challenge was in keeping everyone at a level of consumption that would allow us to remain task oriented. If you’re smoking then one or two puffs should do it, or a dose of THC that is somewhere around the 20-milligram mark.

I prefer to do this kind of work with a group where drumming, chanting, and singing can be done to raise the special vibration and provide a psychic stream of energy to slip into. If you’re doing this alone be sure to make music or have some playing that is faster than 100 beats per minute. The other reason to work this magic with others is that I like to have at least one sane, sober, and magical person around. This person acts as a “temple ward” and will help keep everyone safe and the experience directed if needed. For the most part the temple ward only needs to keep the space sacred and keep the people flying out of harms way. They are the designated fliers, who may enter a light trance state but should remain sober.

Cleanse yourself and your space beforehand and prepare an incense using three parts cannabis (leaves will work well for this), two parts myrrh, and one part honey amber. Blend well together and burn 2/3 of the mixture over charcoal while you prepare your mind by grounding and centering your energy. Load a bowl of your favorite green stuff or prepare your herbal remedy according to usage instructions. Using your dominant hand draw a pentacle of green fire over the herb and with a deep breath visualize the pentacle descending into the plant matter then say, “ Cannabidia! Cannabidia! Cannabidia! I call forth the green goddess from the eatheric realms! I summon her from the plane of spirits! Blessed is this herb which bares your name, holy is its power! Cannabidia, you who parts the veils, who flourishes on the mountain side, you who breaks the chains that bind and redeemer of the mind! Cannabidia as I inhale I take in your essence. As I partake I breathe in your spirit medicine! Be here now! Be here now! Cannabidia – Be here now!”

Take the recommended amount of herb and then immediately begin drumming, chanting, and singing, or playing your music.

Over the next thirty to forty minutes continue to do this and allow your mind to remain open but keep a conscious composure. During this time allow any visions or messages to come through and merely be present in the moment. Just allow for what comes to come, don’t over analyze it, don’t try to make immediate sense of it, just be present. After your work is done stop the music and burn the remaining third of the incense and as it burns simply breathe and focus on bringing your consciousness completely back into your body. Take a few moments to feel your bones and muscles, your skin and your hair as you slowly breathe and appreciate the silence.

Once you feel you are once again grounded spend the next few minutes writing down any messages you received and to the best of your ability, try to write down your overall experience.

To develop a continued relationship with the plant spirit use the herb sparingly and with intention. Lets face it, getting high off of cannabis is fun and far less calories than drinking, but any substance used without moderation can become a problem and in this case is abusive to the plant spirit. You also don’t want to grow the habit of relying on these methods solely because too much exposure to these substances will weaken the mind and your ability to protect yourself. Remember, 98% of magic is about being clear-minded and grounded. The 2% of the craft that isn’t really should only remain the 2% for the majority of us.

In addition to not overdoing it, you can also make the container in which you store your herb a shrine for the plant spirit. Be creative and make it beautiful! Cannabidia, the goddess I spoke of earlier is a deity that came to me during one of my own spirit flights and has been a constant ally. Her symbol is a burgundy seven-pointed star contained within a bright green triangle.

I hope you make the most of your experiences and that you take the time to consider the spiritual side of working with cannabis if you are already a user or are about to embark upon that journey. In my case, my IBS symptoms have almost completely disappeared and I no longer need to use this herbal ally as much as I once did. I credit the dramatic change for the better in my health to establishing a relationship with this plant and the spirit that resides within it. I also credit that relationship with intense breakthroughs regarding my own spiritual and emotional health. Sometimes being able to find relief from suffering is all you need in order to find an end to it.