For thousands of years, drugs and magick have been used to facilitate experiences that are beyond the ordinary senses found in everyday life.
From ancient China, India, Greece, Europe and the Americas, mixtures of smokable herbs and herbs in drinks have created experiences for shamanic and spiritual journeys to gain insight, wisdom and knowledge; even the honour the gods themselves or to become “like them.”
In the 21st century, cannabis has become more mainstream and destigmatized in some areas of the U.S., even become legal in Canada for recreational use as well in some U.S. states.
The non-psychoactive component CBD (cannabidiol) and the psychoactive component THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are some of the most commonly known cannabinols in the cannabis plant.
Cannabis has over 480 known elements and at least 100 phytocannabinoids; the other components of cannabis include: terpenes, phenols and flavonoids.
The human body already creates cannabinoids similar to what is in the cannabis plant, which learned about in the 1990s when the endocannabinoid system (ECS) was discovered that it exists in all vertebrate animals.
A study has shown that very low levels of cannabinoids in the human body that create a deficiency can produce symptoms of fibromyalgia. However, more definitive studies are still needed in this area.
Cannabis & Witchcraft
To explore more about strains (chemovars) and what their effects and side effects are, Leafly has a wide database of different strains and peer reviews on the strains listed within the site.
When looking for a strain as a meditative strain, find one that:
- doesn’t sedate, cause tiredness
- doesn’t overstimulate the mind
- calms and relaxes the body and mind
- doesn’t overwhelm the senses
When looking for a strain as a magickal assistive strain, find one that:
- doesn’t cloud the mind
- allows some cognitive clarity (able to think clear headed)
- doesn’t sedate, cause tiredness
- that heightens awareness, promotes creativity or imagination
For either of these purposes of using cannabis for meditation or magickal workings, you will want to avoid strains that cause excessive:
- Hunger (“munchies”) (but it’s always a good reason for that cakes and ale afterwards!)
These side effects may become too distracting while trying to focus or meditate.
Some side effects that may be tolerable or minimally noticed by experienced cannabis users:
- Red eye
- Dry mouth
- Hallucination (mostly rare)
This will also depend on the THC and/or CBD percentage (%) of the strain and finding the right strain percentage that works for your purpose and how you respond to high or low percentages.
Cannabis and the Book of Shadows
If beginning a journey of using cannabis in your magickal workings and if you’re an avid record keeper of your workings, you may wish to record your spells and/or rituals, the outcome, anything that happened during the work, including the name of the strain and how much was consumed.
Be sure to include the date, time and what your health status was before beginning the ritual or spell, and also after the spell work (even a few hours later.)
By keeping a detailed record, you will be more likely to recreate the same ritual and effects, particularly if the same strain and amount is used the next time.
Keeping a journal about different strains is also effective to keep track which ones work, which ones don’t and which ones would be best suited for certain magickal workings depending on the effects that are felt.
Indica vs. Sativa vs. Hybrid
Depending on your tolerance, your experience with cannabis, and the type of strain that you’re working with, it will depend if you work with an indica, sativa or hybrid strain.
Indica strains are generally the more “mellow” strains that relax the body and mind.
Sativa strains are the “upper” strains that invigorate the mind, promote creativity and give motivation.
Ruderalis strains are commonly bred with sativa or indica because of its durability.
Hybrids are a mixture of sativa, indica or ruderalis strains that can be a mixture of two or more.
It can be difficult to determine if a strain is “pure” indica or sativa because many on the market today are a mixture or hybrid of other strains, which some include ruderalis.
Working with an indica-dominant strain can be ideal for magick that is slower which doesn’t require to raise your energy and is perfect for meditative work or journey work.
Working with a sativa-dominant strain can be ideal for magick that requires movement, higher vibration and concentration in ritual where focus and attention is needed.
A sativa-dominant strain can be excellent for workings where vivid visualization is required.
Working with Flower, Edibles, Oils, Tinctures in Cannabis Magick
The use of cannabis in magick, spells and ritual is similar to the use of any other herb that can be used in witchcraft.
The effects of cannabis can vary from person to person and also depending on the strain (including if sativa, indica or hybrid) and the desired effect of using cannabis in the ritual or spell working.
The use of flower, edibles, oils or tincture is based on the preference of the practitioner and how they want to use the herb in the working.
Some practitioners may not prefer to inhale the herb, so using an edible will create a slower release of the herb’s effect (~4 to 6 hours) which may be ideal for a ritual that will take place later after consuming or to have the effect last after the ritual or spell work is complete.
Oils and tinctures can also be used to this effect, which cannabis can be added to create ritual oils whether for perfumes, anointing or for consumption (if using food-safe grade ingredients only.)
Smoking the herb releases it into the air, which combines the elements of fire and air and can be used for spell work or ritual where offerings are being made.
Cannabis Healing Properties
While it’s know that cannabis has healing properties to treat a variety of illnesses and symptoms, it can also be used to alleviate mental stress and even some common afflictions such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and some forms of anxiety.
However, some strains may exacerbate these symptoms which is why it’s important to note that not all strains of cannabis are the same and many even within the same category can have different effects on different people.
Cannabis can be used in ritual to enhance healing whether used in a spell bag, a candle, ritual oil, consumed or inhaled during the ritual.
These are some of the common illnesses and symptoms that cannabis is used to treat:
- Chronic pain
- Multiple Sclerosis
- CDS (Cannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome)
- Eating disorders (e.g. Anorexia)
- Side effects of chemotherapy
- Effects of palliative care
- Opioid withdrawal
- PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
- Anxiety disorders (including obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety/agoraphobia)
While magick and ritual shouldn’t be the first step to treating an illness or symptom, it can be used in conjunction with approved treatments if those treatments are working for you.
It’s always advised to seek medical advice or medical recommendations/approval before attempting to self-treat a condition at home.
Magick has been used for healing for millennia as well as cannabis has been used as a therapy and treatment for a variety of illnesses.
Many times, magick and alternative therapies are seen as a “last resort” when other methods have proven ineffective or haven’t produced the desired results to treat a condition or illness.
Some alternative therapies, including magickal healings, are used in conjunction with traditional/Western medicine to provide a holistic approach.
Uses of Cannabis and Hemp in Witchcraft
Hemp can be used in different ways from traditional magick to every day magickal uses.
Hemp is a variety of cannabis sativa which can be used as a versatile material that can be used for clothing and textiles.
The hemp material can be used as an alternative to cotton or other cloth materials to store magickal items, divination tools or to use as everyday or ritual clothing, altar cloths, bags, etc.
Hemp oil and hemp hearts can be used in ritual as offerings and also to add to food, which is an excellent alternative to add to some recipes made by any green or kitchen witch.
Hemp products and hemp oil are legal in many places and can be more easily attained than cannabis products because it contains the lowest amounts of THC and CBD.
Cannabis can be used for different rituals and spell work such as:
- shadow work
- shamanic journeys
- astral travel
- new moon magick
- full moon magick
- dark moon magick
- spell bags / charm bags
- honouring deity
- manifestation magick
- physical or spiritual healing
- sex magick / self-love / self-care
- goddess / feminine magick or spells
- spirit communication
Safe Magick and Cannabis
While using cannabis with witchcraft, magick, ritual or spell work it’s important to make sure your work area and space is safe, clear and suitable for the type of working that you’re doing.
This ensures that:
- working with candles, incense or any flames are safely guarded to avoid accidents
- uninterrupted to perform the ritual or working where you’ll be “indisposed” to outside commitments or obligations for the duration
- any hazardous materials (herbs, oils, etc.) are safely out of reach of pets
- you know how the strain will effect you before attempting any spell work or ritual
Communication with the Plant Spirit of Cannabis
Working with plants and herbs is often more than simply adding the herbs or plant materials to a candle or spell bag.
Plant spirit communication can be therapeutic; wisdom from the plant or herb can teach about healing methods on a physical and spiritual level.
Shamanic practices often communicate with plant spirits as teachers and allies when it comes to healing and learning medicine.
When working with cannabis (or any other plant or herb) for any magickal purpose or study, it’s important to have some of the plant with you so that you can connect and feel the energy of the plant.
To communicate with the plant or herb, you will want to enter a meditative state and connect with the essence of the plant spirit.
You may feel that you’re connecting with a specific energy of a plant or herb and/or the collective energy of the species of the plant.
For some practitioners, working with a plant spirit can be done through from the start of growing the plant to harvesting the plant.
This allows the practitioner to see the beginning and end cycles of the life of the plant, taking care of every stage of the plant and therefore developing a relationship with the spirit and essence of the plant.
While other practitioners may not be able to grow cannabis or have access to live cannabis plants and may instead purchase the dried flower from a seller.
When working with the cannabis plant spirit, it’s always better to work with the flower (or “buds”) rather than other items of cannabis that have been refined into oil, capsules, tinctures, shatter, etc.
To connect with the cannabis plant spirit, this can be done before smoking or using the flower in magick or spells by simply holding it while meditating and allowing any visions, insights, impressions or words come to mind.
Any impressions or words that are seen, felt or heard can be recorded in a journal to keep meditation sessions or your workings with cannabis witchcraft and magick.
Working with Terpenes in Cannabis in Witchcraft
Cannabis has terpenes which are also found in other plants which gives them their aromatic scents.
These terpenes can also have a physiological effect, the same as essential oils are used in aromatherapy.
Just like essential oils can be used in magick, the terpenes in cannabis strains can also be used to match your intention for magick and healing purposes.
Here’s a list of terpenes found in cannabis strains and their properties that can be used to align with magick.
These can be added and combined with other plants/herbs/fruits in ritual or spells to enhance the properties of the terpenes:
Effects caused: elevated mood; stress reliever
Medicinal properties: anti-depressant, gastroprotective
This terpene is found fruit rinds, juniper, peppermint and rosemary which can be combined with cannabis that has limonene prominent in the strain.
Effects caused: alertness, focus
Medicinal properties: anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, pain reliever
This terpene is black pepper, rosemary and hops which can be combined with cannabis that has beta caryophyllene prominent in the strain.
Effects caused: anxiety relief, sedation
Medicinal properties: anti-convulsant, pain reliever, sedative
This terpene is found flowers, candy and citruses which can be combined with cannabis that has linalool prominent in the strain.
Effects caused: alertness, creativity, euphoria
Medicinal properties: bronchodilator, anti-septic, memory improvement, anti-bacterial
This terpene is found pine, parsley, basil and rosemary which can be combined with cannabis that has pinene prominent in the strain.
Effects caused: relaxation, body high
Medicinal properties: muscle relaxant, anti-carcinogen, antioxidant, sedative
This terpene is found mangoes, thyme, lemongrass and hops which can be combined with cannabis that has pinene prominent in the strain.
To work with the terpenes in cannabis, the corresponding herb, fruit or tree can be used with the cannabis in a spell to enhance the effects of the terpene and each of their magickal correspondences.
Cannabis Magickal Properties
Cannabis like other plants and herbs has astrological associations and with deities also which cannabis can be used as an offering to a deity.
Here are some magickal associations/properties of cannabis:
Astrological sign: Capricorn
Element: Water, Earth
Deities: Hestia, Venus, Freyja, Osiris, Bastet, Isis, Dionysus, Pan, Santa Muerte
The cannabis plant’s magickal correspondences have a combination of water and earth with Saturn, that creates a balance of love and death.
This creates a cycle of life of the cannabis plant that must be cultivated, “die” (burned) in order to bring beauty and love.
Crafting spells or rituals can be done with cannabis and aligned with the planetary aspects/transits, working with the element of water or earth or connecting with one of the deities associated or connected to cannabis as an offering or a way to invoke/channel messages from the deity.
Working with Cannabis and Witchcraft
While combining cannabis to a spiritual practice is experimental, it can be done methodically and safely if caution and care is taken during the process, ritual or spell work.
Recording experiences, amount, strain, etc. to document the workings may assist with the development and progress of the practitioner.
The use of cannabis for magickal purposes and in witchcraft is always a personal experience and can vary from practitioner to practitioner.
Even the use of the same strain and spell/ritual by two different practitioners may cause different results and experiences due to the variable factors such the strains (even by the same name, there is variation based on batch and grower) and the physiological differences between each practitioner and how they respond/react to the strain.
These differences are common with all spiritual, witchcraft and shamanic workings that the experiences are personal in nature and often aren’t duplicated by other practitioners, however, there may be some similarities.
If interested in further study of cannabis in witchcraft or spirituality, check out these links:
High Magick: A Guide to Cannabis in Ritual & Mysticism by Philip H. Farber
It’s Kushcraft! Weed in Witchcraft by The Fat Feminist Witch
Aleister Crowley, Francois Rabelais and the Herb of Thelema by Cannabis Culture
Working with Goddesses of Witchcraft, the Underworld and Death
How to Create a Dark Goddess Altar
Images designed in Canva.