Important Concepts in Psychedelic Therapy
The psychedelic field is quickly evolving, therefore it is important to have working definitions of important concepts, services and credentials in place to begin our conversation. When we started this program, “Cannabis-Assisted Psychotherapy” wasn’t really a named thing, and although it is somewhat accurate, the term doesn’t fully describe the potential of cannabis as a psychedelic when used therapeutically.
We believe we are co-creating a new professional field that doesn’t quite fit in the boxes of current mainstream paradigms. This page attempts to provide a starting place for defining the services we provide and teach to our students and how to be credentialed by us to facilitate these experiences.
Medicinal Mindfulness is not a “top down” organization. We are an evolving program growing “from the ground up” and are co-creating a quickly evolving psychedelic professional identity. Psychedelic Cannabis is a path in and of itself, but is also a foundation for working with other psychedelics.
As other psychedelics become legal to use we will continue to develop the program in ways that incorporate these medicines, and which build on previous trainings. Cannabis-assisted practices were developed from other psychedelic medicine practices and therefore easily translate to other medicines.
At Medicinal Mindfulness we use the following definitions to describe our work:
Psychedelic Therapy and Psychedelic Therapist
Psychedelic Therapy is a term used to describe a specific multi-paradigm approach defined by the Medicinal Mindfulness training program, which includes psychotherapeutic/clinical elements and assessments, but also mindfulness practices, ceremony & ritual, somatic approaches, spiritual orientations, and within an energetic/transpersonal paradigm.
Psychedelic Therapy can also be used for the treatment of clinical disorders, but is a full body/soul holistic practice that is not solely limited to the psychotherapy/clinical/medical model. While not necessarily named “Psychedelic Therapy,” this modality conforms with how most skilled/experienced/ethical “underground” psychedelic practitioners work today. Sessions may include music and periods of the client turning inward and the therapist “holding space.”
Psychedelic Therapy is most often used with MDMA or high dose Psilocybin Psychedelic Therapy sessions, these sessions may also include even stronger psychedelics such as N,N-DMT, 5-MeO-DMT, any Ayahuasca analogs, etc. Appropriate for individuals, couples and small groups.
Cannabis-Assisted Psychedelic Therapy, which Psychedelic Sitters School specializes in, draws from other medicine therapy practices and is the only plant-based psychedelic that is legal to use in the United States outside of a research setting.
Psychedelic Psychotherapy and Psychedelic Psychotherapist
The skillful use of psychedelics in conjunction with psychotherapy by a licensed or registered psychotherapist, psychologist or other mental health professional. Sessions might be psycholytic in nature and often have a clinical purpose, for example, for the treatment of trauma/PTSD, depression, anxiety, etc. This is the most common term being used in the field, and specifically denotes a base credentialing within a clinical/medical framework and additional psychedelic training. Sessions may include psychedelic harm reduction, psychedelic education, preparation and integration support. Medicines typically used are MDMA, psilocybin, LSD, ketamine and cannabis. Sessions can run from as short as two hours with cannabis to as long as eight or more hours with other medicines.
Cannabis-Assisted Psychotherapy, which Psychedelic Sitters School specializes in, draws from other medicine psychotherapy practices and is the only plant based psychedelic that is legal to use in the United States outside of a research setting.
TransCannabis, Psychedelic Cannabis, Conscious Cannabis Experience
A Psychedelic Cannabis Experience is a Medicinal Mindfulness designed synergistic fusion of a “full-spectrum” cannabis sativa blend with set, setting and skill (music, somatic awareness & breath), within a multi-paradigm facilitated process. These experiences mimic a fusion of MDMA and Psilocybin and often reaches Ayahuasca/DMT level experiences, particularly when combined with gentle breathwork practices.
The Psychedelic Cannabis experience does not require extremely high doses, but is exponentially stronger than an experience that is typically associated with cannabis alone. Experiences with psychedelic cannabis however generally exhibit far more personal agency than other strong psychedelic medicines. Cannabis is legal in most of the United States and is the safest psychedelic medicine available. It can be regularly and safely used for ongoing Psychedelic Therapy and Psychedelic Exploration purposes.
Cannabis-Assisted Psychedelic Therapy
The use of cannabis as a tool for full Psychedelic Therapy experiences as defined above. Typical duration is 3 to 6 hours, depending on the number of psychedelic cannabis “cycles” and type of cannabis product used (smoking, vaping, tinctures, extracts, etc). Advanced practices can also include the use of breathwork practices.
The use of cannabis as a tool for psycholytic/psychedelic psychotherapy purposes. Has multiple advantages over traditionally used psychedelics, including legality, additional client agency over the experience, and a shorter duration than psilocybin and MDMA, yet can be as deep an experience as other classic psychedelics. Typical duration of a cannabis-assisted psychotherapy session is two to three hours. Cannabis-Assisted Psychotherapy is a subcategory of Cannabis-Assisted Psychedelic Therapy as defined by Medicinal Mindfulness.
Another term used to describe this process is “Clinical Cannabis.”
Description of a Psychedelic Cannabis Experience
Cannabis sativa is a safe and sacred medicinal tool which supports clients in turning inward, resolving tensions stored deep within the body, tracking inner sensations, and releasing traumas from the nervous system. Cannabis-Assisted Psychedelic Therapy is different than “getting high.” When used in a particular therapeutic container with a professionally trained psychedelic therapist, this modality deepens the therapeutic process and makes somatic (body-centered) trauma work more efficient and more effective. As psychedelic medicines become more and more mainstream, Cannabis sativa is leading the way.
Cannabis-Assisted Psychedelic Therapy isn’t all that different than MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. The clinical orientation and theoretical orientation is congruent with the MAPS MDMA for PTSD protocol but adapted to a therapeutic and non-research context, but the plant based psychedelic nature of cannabis allows us to work with it as a psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy session as well.
Working outside of a research context also offers some significant advantages, such as a treatment plan that can be tailored specifically to the individual, a treatment timeline that is flexible and based on specific client needs, and ongoing integration support.
Clients frequently report full psychedelic experiences that include:
Significantly increased body awareness
Active imaginations and a deep connection with intuition
A feeling of being very present in the room and with the therapist
Remaining in control and lucid the whole time
Profound new levels of nervous system regulation
Developing a sense of agency in their lives, feeling more in control of life situations and having more choice
Feeling a deeper connection with their sense of purpose
Psychedelic Sitters School works with Cannabis Sativa, not only because it is legal, but also because it is an incredible medicine to work with in Psychedelic Therapy. Since Cannabis has a “shapeshifting” nature and can mimic other medicines, psychedelic cannabis practitioners are required to learn how to competently work with all the other medicines in a single session, ranging from gentle MDMA to extreme DMT states. No other medicine creates such a diverse psychedelic experience. Because of this, learning to work with cannabis as a psychedelic is actually one of the most advanced psychedelic therapy practices available.