WARNING: the compounds mentioned in this blog post may be illegal where you live. Please act responsibly and according to your local laws and regulations. We are not qualified doctors or researchers, and you should consult with a licensed practitioner before taking anything. By reading this you acknowledge that you are 18+ or of legal age where you reside. Use common sense.
Greetings, future astronauts! Welcome to our guide. Psychedelics are by far and away our favourite extracurricular supplement here at The BoozeGames. They make everything else look like child’s play, and they have done nothing but enrich our lives. We can't say the same for some other substances (*cough* party drugs) that just ruin our week afterwards and seem to turn everyone into selfish monsters. Psychedelics though... psychedelics are love over hate, unselfishness and empathy over narcissism, afterglow over hangover. Fun. Funnies. Insights. All the good stuff. However, psychedelics can be intimidating… There has been a lot of governmental and societal propaganda and false narratives force fed to the world over the years… But no worries. Humans have been using psychedelics for millions of years, and we’ve got you covered. So, if you’re feeling curious, nervous, or just want to plan your first recreational trip and do your best to guarantee it’ll be the time of your life, read on. We’ll give you 14 things to look out for that will put you in the best possible and most prepared situation you can be in. You should read them all, as for the most part they're in no particular order.
Sidenote: when we’re referring to psychedelics in this article we’re referring specifically to the main two “classic” psychedelics: LSD and psilocybin mushrooms.
1. Health considerations
This is extremely important to read, and important to mention first. While we are seeing massive forward societal progress as the politically fuelled (and ridiculously ineffective) anti-drug laws put in place in the 70s are slowly rolled back and the benefits of many psychedelic compounds being studied by proper science again, it is important to remember that these compounds are not without risk. There is a trend currently of framing psychedelics as the solution to everything and completely, 100% safe. This is not entirely true. With regard to toxicity, yes, they are extraordinarily safe and non-toxic (you’re in much more physical danger ingesting paracetamol or ibuprofen), and while yes, they are certainly the most promising tool we currently have with regard to psychological health treatments for things varying from addiction, PTSD, to depression… they nevertheless have a risk group. For a very small percentage of the population, psychedelic drugs pose a risk of triggering schizophrenia or psychosis. The percent of the population to whom that applies to is less than 1%. However, this is important to know, because if you take these compounds blindly and you happen to be in that risk group, you are playing Russian roulette with your own sanity (FYI this actually applies not only to what you might think of as psychedelics, like substances we will be discussing here, but also for high dose THC (weed), particularly high dose THC taken at a young age). The point is - before you try any psychedelics for the first time, please do some proper family research. Have any of your ancestors experienced a psychotic episode? Have any of them experienced schizophrenia? If the answer is yes to any of these, stay away from psychedelics. If the answer is no, you are likely very safe to proceed. The mental effects of these compounds can still be very destabilising (we will help you with that), but if you have checked your genetics properly, they will at worst probably only be very temporary. The last thing we’ll say before we stop mothering you is that we would also suggest waiting until your brain has finished developing and is less neuroplastic. That means wait until you are 25 or older.
Ok, assuming you’ve passed those checks, let’s get into some things you can do to lock in a good trip…
2. Consider some preparation.
Being aware of your own thoughts is one of the greatest skills you can learn in life. Being aware of your own thoughts means you can realise where they are or where they are going and redirect them accordingly. Being aware of your own thoughts means you can implement self-control and not live a reactive existence. Learning to detach from thoughts emotionally and simply to notice them instead will improve your mental health exponentially. Not to mention, in the age of smartphones, the ability to control your focus is a superpower… And yes, oh fuck yes, a glorious side effect of being aware of your thoughts will be that this will also massively enrich your experience when it comes to mind expanding substances and the ability to navigate your way safely, happily, and positively through them.
So how do you train your thoughts, awareness, and attention? Meditation obviously! Ten minutes a day is enough. All you need to do is pay attention to the sensation of your breath. The feeling in your nose or in your lungs. You’ll be shocked at how short of a time you stay focused on that; you’ll be lucky to make it seconds before the mind wanders… But that’s fine!! If meditation was a squat in the gym, the rep of the squat – the part that counts - is simply bringing your attention back to your breath when you notice that it has wandered, without judgement or stress. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. That’s meditation at its most basic. Try Sam Harris’ app Waking Up if you want to get serious, that’s my personal favourite. Look... Meditating will make both your day-to-day experience and your experience on drugs better. That’s just facts.
Now, you also want to go into the trip with a reasonably good mindset if it’s your first time and in a recreational setting… So what do we mean here? Well, control what you can to be in a good mood! Get a good night’s sleep the night before for starters, then work out or do something physically demanding and do some ice plunge and sauna beforehand on the day of.
Now, let’s get down to some nuts and bolts. Pro-tips, even. Hacks, variables, that will help to lock in your first trip being awesome…
This one is simple. If it’s your first time, we strongly suggest doing psychedelics during the day. Put simply, it’s less spooky during the day. It's more subconsciously warm and relaxing and you are less likely to be tired and for any side-effects that tiredness might bring in to affect you. You don’t want to be in bed your first time lying there by yourself, unable to sleep to with your monkey mind going bananas, wishing it would all end. Your average psylocibin (mushroom) trip lasts 4-6 hours. Your average LSD trip 10-12 hours. Plan accordingly.
This is a huge one. If it’s your first time, you want to keep in a safe bubble and not be forced to interact with the public. You want privacy. While public interaction can be fun, let’s save that for the more experienced veterans of the game. Trust us, you do not want to be seeing the weirdness and dealing with the paranoia that is other people during your first time unless you absolutely have to!!! So, stock up on the necessary supplies (food, speaker, water, a couple of adult beverages, etc) and get out there into some nature (safely). Find somewhere beautiful that you can marvel at and be relaxed in. A warm beach, a lovely waterfall or creek... you get the drift. This alone will make a huge difference.
Another crucial aspect. Remember that this is a recreational post, not therapeutic, so we are not talking about shamans or guides here. If you’re doing these compounds recreationally for the first time you should only do so with or around people you are comfortable with. Do it with close friends. Friends with whom you have fun, and whom you have open honest loving communication with. Don’t do it with a crowd you are insecure around, who unsettle you, or who you don’t really have fun with. Do it with people who you will look out for, and who will look out for you. Just do it with good friends and you’ll have a blast.
Bring a speaker. Bring headphones. Trust us. You want to be able to control the music to shape your mood. Plus… listening to music on psychedelics is basically the meaning of life. It’s the best, no ifs ands or buts. A lot of the best music of all time was written under the influence, you’re about to see why.
7. What to do?
If it’s your first time, go for the mushrooms (or truffles). The psylocybin. Why? Simple: duration. It’s a 4-6 hour experience, as opposed to the 10-12 from LSD. Play it safe.
Remember with all of this there is variation; psylocybin is not distributed evenly throughout mushrooms, and you don’t necessarily know how the blotter was used and where on the tab. Regardless, here are some guidelines:
- A low dose is generally around 1 gram of dried mushrooms, and let’s say around 50ug of lsd (half or 1/3 of a standard tab). This is above a microdose, as you will notice heightened mood, euphoria, and brighter more vibrant colours. It’s all good stuff, but it’s background noise - you ain’t really trippin’. You don’t need to be as careful with preparation and such for a dose like this in our opinion, and if you’re looking to have a classic first psychedelic experience, this isn’t it. However, as we said, it’s all good stuff. If you want a bright bubbly day without hallucinations or too much loss of control, go for it.
- A medium dose is around 1.75-2.25 grams of dried mushrooms, and 100ug of LSD. This is what we would recommend for many first timers. You will have a lot of fun and see some visuals. You might think some wonderful thoughts or come to some powerful insights. You will not, however, be going anywhere near the the deep end. You should not experience anything close to ego death or a true journey through space and time, everything should be very manageable, and you should have a pretty chilled, fun as fuck time.
- A high dose is 3.5 grams of dried mushrooms or 175-200ug of LSD. This is a full blown classic psychedelic trip with both visual and cognitive distortions. You may experience some blurring of the senses and synaesthesia. We wouldn’t necessarily recommend this for your very first time, but if you’ve had a good amount of experience with other mind-altering drugs (THC, MDMA, Ketamine etc) you might find this more to your liking than the pretty chill medium dose. Certainly, as you get more experience with handling yourself, you will likely find these sorts of doses become your preferred protocol. If you’re unsure we’d suggest taking less; you can always take more later.
- A heroic dose is 5 grams of dried mushrooms and higher, or around 4-500ug of LSD or higher, in our opinion. We’d class a heroic dose as anything that results in ego death and massively different cognitive and visual function… or... anything that slightly scares you. If it’s par for the course for you, how can it be heroic? And there we come to it; a heroic dose is somewhat subjective. If you’re at the stage of considering this, you’re definitely not a first timer and don’t need this guide anyway. We would never recommend a heroic dose to beginners unless you are under literal trained professional supervision in a clinical or therapeutic setting.
PS if you’re consuming truffles as opposed to dried mushrooms, a rough calculation is to multiply that shroom dosage by 4.... I.e.: 2 grams of dried mushrooms = somewhat equivalent to 8 grams of truffles.
Ok, all your preparation and logistical planning done, let’s move ahead to some things to bear in mind after you’ve dropped your dose and are heading for launch.
9. During the trip
You’ve dosed up and it’s off to Narnia for you. If you’ve followed our advice, you should not have done too high of a dose and so the come-up as the compounds hit should not be too gnarly, and in fact warm and joyous as the colours brighten and everything starts getting a little weird... However, you should know that, depending on the dose, come-ups (mostly LSD come-ups) can be incredibly disconcerting. Nausea, sweats, all sorts of weird feelings thoughts and sensations. Ride it out, you will be ok. Read on and we’ll give you some important tools.
10. Go with the flow, observe, and don’t fight it.
If you are trying to fight everything that’s happening or run away from it all, you are going to have a rough time on your trip. You’ll end up in your room staring at the clock hugging yourself for the next few hours. So. Surrender.
The issue that makes these compounds intimidating for so many people is the loss of control. However, that’s also the most enjoyable aspect if you have the right mindset! Relax and understand that you are not in control, and instead be curious; observe where your thoughts are going and follow them, notice the weird hallucinations, notice the sounds, soak it all in and just be curious.
Surrender to the river, instead of trying to swim against the current. And remember…
11. What you focus on becomes your world; use this
Psychedelics magnify everything, put everything on steroids. What you focus on becomes your entire world. So, if you put on a blindfold and earplugs and lay still in a room, you will go incredibly deep internally into the workings of your own mind. If you’re outdoors on a beautiful beach and thinking about the nature, you will be stunned by it’s beauty. If you’re with a friend and cracking jokes with each other, you will feel close to them and laugh your ass off. If you’re sitting down relaxing, you’ll feel incredibly relaxed. If you decide to go to a rave, you will rage your ass off. If you start making out with someone, you will probably get insanely horny… And, of course, what we’re also saying is that if you focus on unpleasant sensations, anxiety, or sadness, that too will consume you.
The point is, be aware of this and use it as a tool to change your mood and energy as needed. Change the location, change the lights, change the music, change the activity. These are override buttons. Psychedelics are chaos. You might find yourself coming to some deep realisations or crying in your friends’ arms one minute, but when you decide it’s time to switch it up, throw on some bangers and you’ll probably switch into party mode immediately. It's not an either or situation, trips are normally multiple different experiences in one.
12. Have a sense of humour about it all.
This one helps us a lot. We like to wave hello to the little creatures we hallucinate and say gday to them. We like to crack jokes with each other and use it to diffuse each other’s anxiety. We like to ask each other what narratives they have going on inside their heads. If you’re doing these compounds in a recreational setting, it can be anything you want… but probably you want it to be fun. So have fun! Take the piss, make jokes, and enjoy!
13. It will end.
Time distortion can be crazy on psychedelics, and the feelings and thoughts experienced can be overwhelming. You might find yourself disappearing through space and time and worried that you’re going to be like this forever. You won’t, it’s ok. It will end. There is a limit on the duration these substances affect you. Come back to the present and change something up to keep yourself occupied if you need to.
14. One last override button.
There is one last button you can press if all else fails.
Something that will hijack your mental and neurological system such that it will redirect your focus away from the scaries no matter how hard you try to be anxious.
A last resort.
But seriously, it works. You can take over your ancestral brain with some good old-fashioned fantasy and orgasming. We call it the panic wank. Best reserved for late nights alone on the bed when you wish the trip would stop and you could go to sleep. Probably more relevant for nocturnal veterans who drop the goods at parties, and probably not what you’re gonna do around your friends. Still, keep it in mind. It’s good to have a parachute.
And that’s all from us. That was a massive guide, but we hope you got what you needed from it. Psychedelics can be the best of times if used in the right circumstances, and incredibly healing when used in others. They can also be destabilising and difficult. Use them appropriately, take into account everything we’ve said, do more of your own research, and chances are you’ll be fine and have a blast.
Stay safe out there. Stay silly.