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  • Author or Editor: Mark S. Ferrara x
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Abstract

This paper demonstrates that cannabis can evoke “peak-experiences”—the name psychologist Abraham Maslow gave to fleeting moments of expanded perception indicative of self-transcendence—when used alongside more traditional religious practices such as meditation, fasting, contemplative prayer, and sacramental ritual. For that reason, religious seekers around the globe have deployed cannabis as a deliberate psychoactive to trigger the peak-experiences that stir feelings of ecstasy, wonder, and awe and resolve the “dichotomies, polarities, and conflicts of life.” As such, peak-experiences exemplify a form of spiritual revelation that has played a pivotal role in the history of religion, and because of its ability to elicit unitive consciousness at the heart of mystical insight, cannabis has been utilized as a mild entheogen across culture and tradition for millennia.

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