Let’s face it: an escape from reality doesn’t sound like such a bad thing nowadays. Even with a potential end to the pandemic in sight, recreational drugs have become an activity of choice for many to keep COVID stress at bay. In particular, psilocybin mushrooms—commonly referred to as “magic mushrooms” or “shrooms”—have increased in popularity since the beginning of the pandemic last March. In fact, a recent study from the University of Buenos Aires found that psychedelics were linked to “increased positive affect and…personality traits that favor resilience and stability in light of the ongoing crisis.”
The truth is, the idea that psychedelics promise mental clarity is appealing to a rapidly widening majority. And as psilocybin treatment for mental illnesses continues to get the green light for legal framework across the country, more people are turning to shrooms than ever before. However, given that magic mushrooms have been used since the Stone Age, there’s an excessive amount of information out there. Luckily for you, I’ve gone ahead and compiled the five basic principles of tripping on shrooms that any beginner should know.
- Find a safe space.
Identifying an ideal location for tripping isn’t as easy as it sounds. If you get anxious easily, don’t pick a place that you typically associate with feelings of overstimulation when sober. If you don’t get anxious easily, a safe space is still the way to go. Loud, crowded areas are places worth avoiding in general, such as busy malls or popular restaurants. Uncontrollable environments, such as a rowdy house party, will always prove risky for first-time users. Instead, opt for somewhere you’ll be comfortable. Whether that location is your friend’s house or the safety of your own bedroom, it all comes down to preference. Some swear by tripping outdoors, vouching for the benefits of keeping the natural world at arm’s length. If nature sounds appealing to you, consider choosing a space that you’re familiar with (the likes of a local park or nearby beach) to keep any chances of having a bad trip low.
2. Surround yourself with people you trust.
No matter who you decide to take shrooms with, it’s recommended that you keep your circle small. This isn’t crucial, but a smaller group of people will likely be less overwhelming for any first-time users. In addition, people that know you and your mannerisms may be the wisest choice. So if it comes down to taking shrooms with a close friend or someone you met five minutes ago, always go with the familiar route. Of course, if a friend isn’t an option, the next best thing is someone who has taken shrooms before, or a “trip sitter.” Having a sober, experienced figure in one’s presence while tripping is never a bad idea. On the contrary, a “trip sitter” is often the key to fully relaxing and giving in to psychedelic sensations.
3. Stay occupied!
A trip on shrooms varies for everyone, but they last about 8-12 hours on average. With this in mind, it’s in your best interest to find creative ways to fill the time. Avoid any activities that get your adrenaline pumping: nothing high-stress. Looking for a soundtrack to your trip? Type “shrooms” into the search bar on Spotify and check out the hundreds of pre-created playlists meant to enhance your experience. Perhaps you’ll want to get in touch with your creative side. In that case, grab a coloring book, some paints, or sidewalk chalk. Maybe you want to stay zen and opt for a relaxed trip with a blanket and a beloved book. The options are endless when it comes to finding things to do while on shrooms, though it’s encouraged to keep activities low-stress—ventures that get your adrenaline flowing may increase chances of having a bad trip. Of course, have snacks and water handy so as to avoid any hunger pangs or dehydration.
4. Keep your expectations in check.
Here’s the hard truth: you’re not going to unlock the secret of life on your trip. At least, you won’t if you go into the experience hoping for a life-changing epiphany. It is vital to stay realistic when setting intentions for a trip. If your expectations are too high, you may be in for some major disappointment. Don’t set yourself up for regret! It’s wisest to go about a trip with no expectations at all. Relax, take a few deep breaths, and succumb to whatever psychedelic sensations come your way. What is meant to be will be!
5. Be safe.
Shrooms aren’t always reliable. Like any drug, they have strong side effects that vary from person to person. It’s always wise to do some research beforehand on what a trip might entail both psychologically and physically. If you know you are in a bad place mentally, or looking for a way to avoid problems, you could be signing yourself up for a bad trip. Never take psychedelics with hopes of avoiding anxiety or coping with problems. Regardless of level of experience with psychedelics, no one is immune to having a bad trip! Check if shrooms interfere with any medications you’re taking, recruit a “trip sitter,” and stay busy.
All recreational drugs should be approached with caution, but shrooms can reap big benefits for those who decide to partake in them. Psilocybin treatment has been transformative for many—addiction, depression, and anxiety being among some of the most researched avenues for psilocybin therapy. And with more and more investigations exploring effects of the drug, analysts have found several indicators that promise one may exit a trip better than when they entered it. While psychedelic substances may be intimidating at first, any experienced user will testify to how they’ve benefited from psilocybin. If anything, shrooms promise adventure—so here’s your sign to pack a bag, buckle up, and embark on a new, strange, magnificent trip.