Intensify your high with these easy practices

psychedelic mindfulness

Psychedelics can create an altered state of consciousness that instills a sense of oneness, things looking more vivid, and even a change in perceived size. These commonly reported trip experiences are called emergent phenomena (EP).

Many ancient and modern mindfulness practices promise to facilitate EP without drugs, and recent data shows that it is, in fact, possible. The data also points to a need for more clinical training for negative EP experiences because things don’t always go well, and illuminates a way to enhance a classic high.

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A recently published paper gathered self-reported data through opt-in surveys from two streams in the U.K. and one in the U.S. The survey aimed to measure the prevalence of non-drug-induced EP. Just over 3000 surveys qualified after duplicates and redundancies were filtered out.

The survey shows almost half of the respondents (45 percent) have experienced EP–like ecstatic thrills, vivid perceptions, feeling a different size than usual, out-of-body experiences, bodily heat, electricity, and seeing lights that didn’t exist.

There were limitations to what was found, like a need for data from more countries and ethnicities. It would also be ideal to take a finer look at religious and Indigenous practices that induce EP that may not be replicated outside of those cultures.

The need for psychedelic support services is clear

This isn’t a huge surprise, as ancient practices, like holotropic breathwork and those in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, promise the same. The vital takeaway from the survey wasn’t that these experiences happen but that people who have them need more integration and emergency support.

Participants had mixed outcomes after the non-drug-induced EPs, some positive and some negative. Those who had negative experiences during the EP were apt to feel negative in the long term. Respondents who weren’t stoked on their EP reported feeling disgusted with their lives or an overwhelming feeling that the world was “nothing but a dream or cartoon.”

The same goes for the positive side. This supports the notion that going into mind-altering experiences with the appropriate mindset and comfortable setting could lead to a positive trip and, in turn, a good outcome.

The data showed that 28 percent of people felt negative during the EP, and few who self-reported a need for support sought help from traditional medical and emergency resources.

“A significant implication is that those suffering from EP-related negative effects do not perceive clinicians as an appropriate source of assistance,” the paper read.

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Combining tools to enhance the high

More research is needed to understand the benefits and impact of mindfulness practices and EP. However, this study does support some value in cannabis-infused guided meditation and yoga classes. If these practices can bring on a psychedelic-adjacent experience, then imagine what they could do when actually on a mind-altering substance like cannabis or magic mushrooms.

Those who choose to combine the two must guide practitioners to trained psychedelic integration therapists, and practitioners should be discerning when selecting a teacher. The study shows a few relevant things. One, people experience EP without drugs, but there is a need for more clinical training and emergency psychedelic services.

With that in mind, the data supports the idea that combining mind-altering substances with mindfulness practice may enhance the high or potential benefits. A joint before yoga, vape puff before meditation, or gummy before breathwork may set the stage for an otherworldly experience.

Cara Wietstock is senior content producer of and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.