Elevated. Cannabis as a Tool for Mind Enhancement.

Sebastián Marincolo has produced a landmark book on the widely reported mind enhancements experienced during the cannabis high. Marincolo, philosopher and polymath, summarizes more than 20 years of extraordinary interdisciplinary research and explains how cannabis can indeed be used for a whole range of temporary mind enhancements, such as a stronger focus of attention, enhanced imagination, creativity, introspection, and empathy, as well as for a life-long journey of personal growth.

Published 2023 by Hilaritas Press, Publishing House of the Robert Anton Wilson Trust. Foreword by R. Michael Johnson.

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Philosophy of Mind & Neuroscience

Cognitive Science & Psychology

Altered states of Consciousness


Cannabis as a Tool for Mind Enhancement

Praise for
Sebastián Marincolo

“In Elevated author Sebastián Marincolo takes a deep dive into the many and various ways that cannabis can enhance conscious experience, stimulating greater creativity, insight, and awareness. Drawing on history, psychology, popular culture and dozens of sources, he makes the case that cannabis is an ally, and a good one. Marincolo urges readers to go past long held fear-based and risk-based notions of cannabis to appreciate what it truly is, a marvel of health-imbuing and inspirational value.”

Chris Kilham, medicine hunter and author of “The Lotus and the Bud” 

“With the same masterful precision captured in his photography, Marincolo urges us to turn the lens inward. Elegantly, he maps his journey, reasoning, and the process in allowing cannabis to take us to new heights in the exploration of consciousness. Elevated is a joy to read and will shine a light for the novice and the experienced user toward a pathway to the inner journey.”

Valerie Corral, co-founder of the first medicinal cannabis collective in the USA, Executive director of WAMM Phytotherapies

“For many, Elevated will be taking the understanding of cannabis to a new level. It’s well-reasoned, well-researched, and well- written for both cannabis consumers and professionals in fields such as research and healthcare. While clearly touting the many benefits of cannabis, the book takes a grounded and balanced approach that avoids facile claims about the risk-free wonder of the plant.”  

Stephen Gray, teacher and writer on spiritual subjects and sacramental medicines, author of Returning to Sacred World: A Spiritual Toolkit for the Emerging Reality, and Cannabis and Spirituality

“I agree with Marincolo’s argument about the connection between Benjamin’s meditations on hashish and his meditations on art in the Work of Art essay and elsewhere. I believe, as Marincolo suggests, that there are a good many connections with other areas of Benjamin’s thought as well (…)”

Howard Eiland, lecturer at MIT School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, co-editor of Benjamin’s Selected Writings and author of a biography on Walter Benjamin, on “What Hashish Did to Walter Benjamin”

“It was not until some years after I began these studies that I initiated personal use of marijuana and I gradually began to discover its capacity to enhance some of my capabilities. I have now arrived at the point where I view this substance as a nature-given blessing. And I am thankful that Sebastian Marincolo has provided us with his timely “High. The Positive Potential of Marijuana” which, as the reader will discover, does much to illuminate this wonderful phenomenon.”

Assoc. Prof. emer. Lester Grinspoon, medical marijuana expert and Harvard Associate Prof. Emer. for Psychiatry, on “High. Das positive Potential von Marijuana”

“Nobody has ever broken down the nuances of cannabis psychoactivity quite like Sebastián Marincolo in what he calls a bouquet of cognitive effects and enhancements.”

Gregory Frye, international storyteller, journalist, and cannabis advocate

“Cannabis is a dazzlingly powerful tool for the expansion of consciousness, heightened sense of presence, increased creativity, exalted aesthetic sensibility, and overall bliss… Sebastián Marincolo has written an exquisite manual for getting high responsibly, deliberately, and productively”

Jason Silva, storyteller, futurist, keynote speaker, known for hosting National Geographic’s BrainGames, on “The Art of the High. Your Guide to Using Cannabis for an Outstanding Life”

“Marincolo’s writing and manner of thinking are excellent – I am enthusiastic about recommending his work.”

Michael Backes, author of „Cannabis Pharmacy – The Practical Guide to Medical Marijuana, on “High. Insights on Marijuana”

“Marincolo’s research on the marijuana high is years ahead of others working in this field”

Joe Dolce, author, Brave New Weed and host, Brave New Weed podcast
Founder, Medical Cannabis Mentor, on “What Hashish Did to Walter Benjamin”

“Marincolo’s book is great evidence that he has further developed a theory of consciousness, taking a highly original path. Good philosophers are as comprehensible as possible – they have arguments and do not need to hide anything. It is wonderful to see how his photo art contributes to his research; the photos are magnificent. I have read the book and enjoyed watching the photos with much delight.”

Prof. emer. Manfred Frank, German philosopher, on “High. Das positive Potential von Marijuana”

ELEVATED. Cannabis as a Tool for Mind Enhancement

Voyage Into the High

“How do you research an altered state of consciousness like the elevated state of a cannabis high? After making my own experiences, my research included a critical analysis of hundreds of detailed reports from various sources, some of them quite recent, while others came from older literary reports. The French poet and writer Charles Baudelaire, for instance, had founded a ‘Hasheesh Club’ in Paris with other important intellectuals and writers of his time to eat hashish marmalade and write about the cannabis high.” (from the Introduction)

Twenty Years of Research

“I have researched the cannabis high also as a psychonaut – the notion was termed by the German writer Ernst Jünger and denotes the act of finding out about one’s psyche through the use of mind-altering substances or techniques. My psychonautic journeys were used as another source of knowledge for my overall approach to investigating the nature of the human mind by researching the cannabis high. From a philosophical perspective, this approach is also inspired by the tradition of phenomenology, a philosophical movement founded by philosopher Edmund Husserl in the early years of the 20th century. Phenomenologists approached researching the human mind by systematically analyzing and focusing on the phenomena, the subjective experiences of consciousness.” (from the Introduction)

The "New Guinea" Approach

“I integrated the careful and somewhat anthropological analysis of anecdotal reports of the high and my psychonautic approach in a much larger research effort. In my 2015 book What Hashish did to Walter Benjamin, I called this approach GUINEA, a Guerilla-Neurophilosophical Approach to researching the cannabis high. It is Guerilla because it also integrates knowledge from illegal growers and breeders of cannabis as well as (often) illegal users, as well as from the interdisciplinary field of philosophy of mind, cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, pharmacology, Gestalt psychology, cannabinoid medicine, evolutionary biology, and other related disciplines.” (from the Introduction)

A Spectrum of Mind Enhancements

“Many users experience an enhanced ability to vividly remember past events in amazing detail, they experience hyperfocus of attention, their sensations become more intense, and they often experience them with more complexity and detail in structure. They report an enhanced imagination, a heightened perception of more nuances in music or art, or become more creative when cooking or in sexual encounters. They generally discover new patterns of which they were previously unaware – visual patterns in star maps, acoustic patterns in music, or complex behavioral patterns in human actions. Many users report an enhanced ability for introspection or tell us how a cannabis high helped them to better empathically understand others. And many users report spontaneous, deep insights, which they often evaluate as positively life-changing and incredibly useful for their personal development.” (from the Introduction)

An Elevated Perspective

“The visual concept of the book aims to circumvent learned associations concerning ‘cannabis’, ‘marijuana’, or ‘hashish’, based on earlier disinformation campaigns. I have abstained from showing the cannabis leaf in its prototypical symbolic representation. My artistic macrophotography shows the living plant, the buds, leaves, as well as other plant parts throughout the growth and flowering phases of the cannabis plant. The last photos in the series show tiny parts of the plant which are only a few millimeters in length, making the fine stigmas of the plant look like a strange tree from another planet. The limited art photo series from 2012 shows the fascinating world of the crystalline mushroom-shaped trichomes on the plant’s buds and leaves, which produce the psychoactive cannabinoids” (from the Introduction)

ELEVATED. Cannabis as a Tool for Mind Enhancement

In a special bonus episode, Mike Gathers chats with Sebastián Marincolo, author of Elevated: Cannabis as a Tool for Mind Enhancement.

Get the inside scoop on this new Hilaritas Press publication!

Sebastián discusses his research into “mind enhancement,” and the funniest part of this podcast came when Sebastián described “dumb things” people do while high.

Hilaritas Press Podcasts are available in all the usual podcast locations, and on Youtube. 

Portrait Sebastian Marincolo 2021-bearbeitet klein

Sebastián Marincolo

Sebastián Marincolo aka Dr. Sebastian Schulz studied philosophy and linguistics at the University of Tübingen in Germany and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the USA. He was a student of philosophers Manfred Frank, Gianfranco Soldati, Dorit Bar-On, William Lycan, and Simon Blackburn. His research focuses on human and artificial consciousness and altered states of consciousness.

Harvard Medical School Assoc. Prof. of Psychiatry Emeritus Lester Grinspoon was a longtime friend and mentor for his research. Marincolo has published four books and numerous essays on the cannabis high. His work has received international recognition and has been covered in many media outlets, including SPIEGEL-Online, the 3sat/ZDF TV magazine kulturzeit, Aidan McCullen‘s The Innovation Show, and Joe Dolce‘s Brave New Weed podcast. The cannabis advocate Gregory Frye published an Ebook on Marincolo’s work in 2021.

Marincolo has worked as a photographer and writer and as a creative director and communications consultant, primarily for foundations. In 2017, he took on the position of Director of Communications and Marketing Germany for one of the largest cannabis producers in the world for three years. During this time, he helped educate both health professionals as well as the wider public about medical cannabis.

He currently lives with his family near Frankfurt on the Main and works as an author, researcher, and consultant.


Psychoactive substances such as cannabis have a great medicinal, nutritional, and inspirational potential, but also bring risks. Among other things they temporarily alter our perception, which ensures our survival in the world. This book focuses primarily on a better understanding of the positive mind-enhancing potential of cannabis.

Some risks of cannabis use are described herein and advice is given on how to minimize them. However, this book does not intend to be a substitute for a full benefit-risk assessment of the use of cannabis or for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

It is still a criminal offense in many countries to use cannabis products. This book is intended to summarize experiential reports about the cannabis high as well as to convey medical, historical, evolutionary, biological and other perspectives on the enhancement uses of cannabis. It does not intend to encourage anyone to break the law. The author explicitly disclaims any liability, loss, or risk, personal or otherwise, that is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the contents of this book.

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