Are Marijuana and Psychedelics Psych Drugs?

Question from my friend: Is Marijuana a Psychiatric drug in your context? Can it help those getting off of Psych drugs or hinder?

My Answer: Marijuana, is not what I would call a psych drug because I’m talking about pharmaceuticals (chemically synthesized substances) that are prescribed to treat supposed medical illnesses.

Pot can be prescribed medically but it isn’t a pharmaceutical.

The “pharm” in pharmaceutical indicates it is not from a farm but a “pharm”, which translates to a laboratory.

Pot is a natural herb, so it could be from a farm, but not a “pharm” or laboratory.

Any herb can be chemically synthesized in a laboratory, but its nature and effects would be vastly different.

This is often done to isolate certain desired constituents of a plant, to make it more potent or have a stronger effect of some kind.

Would it help or hinder people in withdrawal? I think either is possible depending on the person.

Pot is an herb, not a drug.

Here are some more thoughts I have written on marijuana and psychiatric drugs.

Question from Adelina (edited slightly for clarity):

One year after I got off medication I read in a book that psychiatrists take on the function of shamans in ancient times.

I didn´t understand why they use things to destroy the body rather than heal it…??

Four years after I thought that psychiatric medications and sacred plants had the same function, a bad function, to destroy the body.

I saw a documentary where some people taking ayahuasca suffered a lot (but I don’t know how many years, I didn’t know if those who suffered only suffered for month or maybe for years as us in psychiatric drug withdrawal).

From all that I have read and seen I can’t tell if they are the same or not. It is so confusing!

My Answer:

Interesting question. There are several differences between psychiatric drugs and sacred plants used for hallucination.

One difference is, as described above for marijuana, they are naturally occurring, and not chemically synthesized. LSD is a chemically synthesized hallucinogen, so that would be another discussion.

The other difference is their purpose in society.

Psychiatric drugs were created to mass market to people for the purposes of social control and mostly “calming people down” or alleviating unhappiness and the symptoms of trauma and other types of emotional distress.

They are generally taken daily and create dependence. They are often hard to withdraw from.

They have dangerous adverse effects and cause organ damage when used over time as well as sometimes short term effects that people like such as making them feel temporarily calmer or happier.

Sacred hallucinogenic plants can cause suffering in the body, but they are meant to be taken occasionally for the purpose of having a spiritual awakening or a vision quest.

Both can be dangerous and can harm the body.

Since sacred plants are usually only taken on occasion, they tend to cause less harm (if any), though they could cause more serious harm in individuals who are sensitive to them.

Psychiatrists may have replaced shamans, but in many ways they are quite the opposite because they tend to halt shamanic experiences/spiritual awakenings with drugs rather than support their process of unfolding with plants.

A shamanic experience may have a “crisis” quality, but if society can support that experience using ancient wisdom and plants, it would be more likely to emerge with greater wisdom about one’s life purpose.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Have you taken psychiatric drugs/marijuana/psychedelics? What are the similarities and differences?

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4 thoughts on “Are Marijuana and Psychedelics Psych Drugs?

  1. daniel says:

    Marijuana is safer than peanuts! That did it for me. Then again, the way they are growing plants in “labs” feel more potent than ever. Going fully clean is probably the best way to go anyway if trying to recover from dependencies.

    • Chaya says:

      Yeah, do you mean chemically synthesized marijuana? You’re right, since pot can have an addictive quality (even if it is mostly a mental addiction), it would probably be best to not take it up while trying to get off psych drugs. Though I know some who swear by it, that it helped them get off psychiatric meds.
      It seems like on the West coast, at least in less urban areas, the pot is grown naturally and is high quality. When I was growing up in NYC I never knew what I was getting (or what other drugs it was laced with).
      I once smoked some pot at a party as a teenager that was laced with crack or something. Who knows? But it definitely got me more than a regular high.
      Pot seems to effect people vastly differently.

    • Chamanit says:

      I used to think that marijuana was harmless, too. Then my son had a psychotic episode after having smoked it. Yes, of course, he has serious emotional issues, plus an imagination and a hot, rising temper in addition to this sensitivity to marijuana. I think that its harmfulness depends on the individual. Nevertheless, I despise drugs such as Haldol, Thorazine, Risperadine, and Seroquel and do not wish to give these to him. Sorry for the word “psychotic”. I am new to all this and have nothing with which to replace it yet.

      • Chaya says:

        Hi Chamanit. What your son experienced isn’t rare. Many have had that type of reaction from marijuana, and of course others have not. You’re right, it depends on the individual. It certainly isn’t likely to be as dangerous as the neuroleptics you listed, in terms of dependency and long term harm.
        But each individual needs to do only what is best for them. I wish you and your son the best.

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