Running an ayahuasca healing center since 2010 and guiding more than 1300 people through this healing process, we have seen the many different kinds of ayahuasca experiences that people can have. One of the amazing things about this medicine is that it truly does work with people in a unique and individual way. No two people’s experiences are the same, and neither is the process of healing that they go through.
While most people have a very strong experience with ayahausca, there are some that the medicine does not seem to work for. Here at the Hummingbird Healing Center, we have at least one or two people per month for whom the medicine does not work well. The exact reason for this cannot be known with certainty, but the majority of these people have a recent history of heavy marijuana use.
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Approximately 70% of the people who do not have much of an experience with ayahuasca have been heavy marijuana users over the past few years, or they have been on a regimen of pharmaceutical medication. While casual, occasional use of marijuana (a few times per month) does not seem to have an impact on the medicine, the use of marijuana 4-5 times per week appears to significantly interfere with the work of ayahuasca for many people. Even if the marijuana use is stopped a couple of months before the ayahuasca retreat.
How Does Marijuana Use Affect Ayahuasca Healing?
Not only does ayahuasca healing tend not to work as well for marijuana users, but they often do a lot more purging than other people. It is not uncommon to see a marijuana user purging three times per night, for 30 minutes or more each time, during an ayahuasca ceremony.
Most ayahuasqueros are opposed to marijuana use. Some ayahuasca healers are against its use in any form, while others are not against its use in general, but state that it interferes with ayahuasca healing. Either way, they believe the plants simply are not compatible and should not be used together or in close proximity.
Can Marijuana Users Attend Ayahuasca Retreats?
Yes! All of our bodies are different and ayahuasca is especially unpredictable in the effect it will have on any given individual. While some people have come to the Hummingbird Healing Center to work with ayahuasca only to be disappointed with their experience due to their history with marijuana, we have also had people who had wonderful experiences and said they had been using marijuana regularly for years. So this is not to say that all heavy users of marijuana will have a negative ayahuasca healing experience.
One really cannot predict what is going to happen with ayahuasca. What is clear is that of those for whom ayahuasca is not working well, the overwhelming majority have been long term heavy users of marijuana in the recent past. However, there are a few things that may help clear this.
How Does Tobacco Help Clear the Way for Ayahuasca Healing?
Ayahuasca is very unpredictable. It is not rare at all for a person to not have much of an experience with ayahuasca the first few times they drink it, even if they have never done drugs. This usually lasts only one or two ayahuasca ceremonies, and then the ayahuasca healing works normally. If after two ceremonies it is not working, we recommend drinking tobacco to clean the system and allow ayahausca to work in a more typical fashion.
Tobacco is a powerful medicine and it can clear out energies that block ayahuasca from working, even for those who have not been using drugs or medications for an extended time. Often the individual will purge quite a bit during the ayahuasca ceremony that follows the tobacco purge, and then be in the normal range of ayahuasca experience moving forward.
We have also seen many people that were having almost no effect from ayahuasca have their healing open up in a major way with a San Pedro ceremony.
How Can Marijuana Users Prepare for Healing with Ayahuasca?
If you are planning on drinking ayahuasca and smoke marijuana, we recommend you stop as soon as possible before attending an ayahuasca retreat. If you are a regular or heavy user, it is best to stop at least two months before your ayahuasca retreat begins. The cleaner the body is when you arrive to work with ayahuasca, the more you will receive from it, and the better your experience will be.
The first few ceremonies with ayahuasca are usually about cleaning the body. The cleaner the body is when you arrive, the sooner you can get to the deeper healing, teaching and beauty that ayahuasca has to give. Eating clean and healthy is the best preparation one can do. Meditation and yoga will also be very helpful in preparation for an ayahuasca retreat.
Those who have taken care of their bodies for a few years by exercising and eating very clean and healthy, often go right into the ayahuasca healing without going through several difficult ceremonies of purging and cleansing. If you want the best from your time with the medicine, take care of your body first.