[UPDATED July 7, 2022]
The Himalayas are the home of all matters of mystery, from the Parvati river to the fields of wild cannabis that grow all the way to the nutrient rich material that oozes out of mountainous volcanic rock every Summer. On first appearances, Shilajit and its constituent compounds have nothing in common with cannabis other than that they share the same geographical origin. But a book isn’t a cover, and while cannabis and Shilajit look and behave completely differently, they are surprisingly complementary to each other.
Cannabis growers in the Himalayas use Shilajit during the grow cycle to stimulate cannabinoid synthesis on account of a rare set of metabolites present Shilajit known as humic and fulivc acids as well as dibenzo alpha pyrones. This might also explain why the Indian and Tibetan Himalayas are home to some of the strongest cannabis on the planet.
Western growers interested in organically produced crops have been using the active components of Shilajit, humic and fulvic acids, for decades. They have reported stronger and healthier plants which were more resistant to diseases as well as 20% or higher yields without the use of chemicals.
Aside from how Shilajit plays a role in the synthesis of cannabinoids in soil, it also targets many of the same neurotransmitters and receptors in the human body as phytocannabinoids (CBD and THC) do.
The main remedial compounds present in Shilajit are fulvic and humic acid. They are important mineral compounds that are formed during the degradation of organic material like compost. It can take up to 40 million years to form a layer of humus in soil (the source of humic acid). Both humic and fulvic acid play a vital role in the transportation of nutrients into cells in both humans and plants.
While all fruits and vegetables should contain humic and fulvic acids (they are formed in soil), the use of chemical pesticides, fertilizers and over farming has depleted the humus layer of soil. Now, it is only harvested in a handful of special places in the world.
When Shilajit and cannabis are used together, they complement each other in a way that makes them stronger than if they were used on their own. This is especially beneficial for those who suffer from chronic pain or anxiety.
For everyone else, the effects of Shilajit and cannabis can simply potentiate each other, creating a more euphoric and relaxing experience.
Shilajit, Cannabinoids and The GABA Receptor
GABA receptors are a class of receptors in the human central nervous system that respond to a particular neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This neurotransmitter is one of the chief inhibitory neurotransmitters in the CNS, responsible for slowing down neuronal excitement.
Shilajit’s GABA-mimetic actions have been investigated with respect to anxiety in particular. The same is true of THC, except that THC only mildly potentiates the response of the GABA receptor.
Although the two have not yet been scientifically questioned in the same study, it is possible that the two potentiate each other by acting on the same receptor.
Activation of the GABA receptor is linked with anxiolytic response, a decrease in muscle spasticity and a better quality of sleep. And in fact, a GABA deficit is implicated in major depressive disorder, anxiety and panic, as well as in sleep disorders such as insomnia.
Interestingly, cannabis has been more thoroughly researched for its effects on the GABA signalling system, and especially more so on its effects on depression, anxiety and insomnia.
Shilajit has been investigated less so, although it can be hypothesized that its stimulation of the GABA receptor also induces a similar response of relaxation and sedation, potentiating the effects of cannabinoids.
Shilajit and cannabis mediate CNS function via the glycine receptor
Cannabis and Shilajit also share the quality of being glycine-mimetic. The glycine signalling system is, much like the GABA system, made up of glycine (a non-essential amino acid) and the glycine receptor.
Glycine is biosynthesized in human cells and binds directly to the glycine receptor in the brainstem and spinal cord. Stimulation of the glycine receptor mediates CNS function, affecting muscle tissue growth, gastrointestinal function and hormone regulation.
Cannabis in particular has been researched for its potential to treat pain via the glycine receptor system. Again, little research has been conducted on Shilajit with this specific activity, although the scientific community accepts it as being glycine-mimetic.
Shilajit has been historically used remedy for stomach pain. This isn’t surprising considering its effect on the glycine receptor, which plays an essential role in gastrointestinal function.
Many people also report less joint pain. This is likely through a combination of mechanisms relating to the glycine receptor system and fulivc acid's potent anti-inflammatory effects.
Using Cannabis and Shilajit Together
Most literature on the topic of using cannabis and Shilajit together is speculative, but with good grounding. The two target some of the most vital components of the central nervous system to the function of mood, stomach health and even muscle pain. When we consider the therapeutic potential of these two staples in herblore, there are a number of demographics that can benefit from this kind of combined therapy.
Cannabis and Shilajit for Athletes
For athletes, maintaining physical health and performance is a number one priority. Cannabis has only recently entered the picture for athletes, with CBD on the rise as a way to deal with recovery after training and competition. And if you’ve ever wondered why athletes swear by using Shilajit, it’s for the exact same reasons. Shilajit has been scientifically proven to speed up muscle recovery time for athletes and decrease muscle fatigue post-workout.
For athletes, using these two natural substances together can potentiate the effects of each other, helping to recover not just faster, but ultimately better. When it comes to nutritional supplementation for athletes, it’s almost always preferred to go down the road of natural medicine.
There are virtually no side effects from using cannabis or Shilajit (at least that we know of), and there’s no threat of disturbing any other vital organs.
Combined Therapy For Anxiety and Depression
As mentioned earlier, both cannabis and Shilajit have an effect on the GABA-ergic system. This receptor is responsible for slowing down the central nervous system in times of over-excitement.
Neuronal excitement often ends in symptoms of anxiety, and combined therapy of cannabis and Shilajit might help to reduce excitation. GABA deficiencies might also play a role in major depression, something cannabis is well known in both public opinion and the scientific community to remedy.
Shilajit promotes overall brain function and this too is beneficial for those who suffer from mood disorders. Cognitive function is at the heart of productivity and physical wellbeing, and while cannabis may help to reduce symptoms of anxiety, Shilajit may complement this by increasing productivity.
Cannabis and Shilajit Are Both Anti-inflammatory
Inflammation is at the heart of so many diseases that afflict the modern world, it’s almost impossible to list them all in a single article. Those who have fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer and asthma are almost always prescribed a kind of anti-inflammatory in the treatment of these conditions.
Whenever inflammation is left untreated, it can lead to any number of the diseases just mentioned and even more. Pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen can cause acute kidney problems after overexposure, and this is why anti-inflammatories such as cannabis and Shilajit are always called into the picture as herbal alternatives.
In fact, one of cannabis’ most popular medical applications is its anti-inflammatory quality. Aside from being immunosuppressant, it is also immunoregulatory and can even help inflammatory conditions of the liver. It is often recommended as a topical or internal treatment for those with rheumatoid arthritis. Shilajit, too has been demonstrated to have an anti-inflammatory effect on arthritis.
The two used in tandem could suggest the most powerful anti-inflammatory team of herbs that we know about. And this is increasingly important because many of the processed foods we consume in the Western world have inflammatory effects which can ultimately lead to cancers, diabetes and autoimmune diseases.
Cannabis and Shilajit for Simple Relaxation and Euphoria
A lot of the medical benefits of Shilajit and cannabis have been discussed in this article, but we shouldn’t neglect the simple relaxation and euphoria that can be experienced from both substances.
Shilajit is not psychoactive in nature and is not considered an intoxicant, and it shouldn’t be thought to potentiate cannabis in this way. Rather, Shilajit stimulates natural relaxation functions of the body, easing a person into the cannabis experience.
The euphoric effects of cannabis can be attributed to the psychoactive compound, THC. It has effects much like the human body’s very own cannabinoid, anandamide. In fact, the two compounds look almost identical, and anandamide was discovered in the process of THC research!
Anandamide is appropriately nicknamed “the bliss molecule”, because when the body produces large amounts of it, sensations of euphoria and happiness ensue.
THC’s euphoric effects in conjunction with Shilajit’s relaxing and sedative effects on the central nervous system can lead to one of the most profoundly relaxing and ecstatic experiences.
Modern medicine often neglects how important relaxation is to the overall health and wellbeing of a person, but herbal medicine has never forgotten the vital importance of chilling out.
Even for those don’t necessarily use cannabis or Shilajit for medical purposes, the two can still have a therapeutic effect simply by inducing ecstasy.
The Heavenly Himalayan Experience of Cannabis and Shilajit
If you’ve ever been lucky enough to visit the Himalayas, then you understand why it is considered a heaven on earth. These epic mountains aren’t just beautiful, but rich with culture abundant in herbs that are extremely important to Ayurvedic practice. Cannabis grows wild on the sides of river banks and Shilajit basically comes pouring out of the mountains during the warm Summer months.
It’s a shame that there hasn’t been any strong scientific research into how these two substances can be used together optimally, and that we are left to hypothesize for the time being.
Ongoing research and testing on this subject is currently being conducted by INVIKTVS Scientific Innovations, the makers of the popular fulvic and humic supplement AEON which is a purified version of Shilajit. At this time the data is still being collected, analyzed and is so far inconclusive. They will continue to explore this theory and provide updates.
There is no doubt that the two complement each other, though it is just as mysterious as some of the folklore and mythology that come from these very same mountains.