Using psychedelics safely
Effects of Psychedelics
Links / Further reading
A psychedelic substance is a psychoactive drug whose primary action is to alter cognition and perception. Psychedelics are part of a wider class of psychoactive drugs known as hallucinogens, a class that also includes related substances such as dissociatives and deliriants. Unlike other drugs such as stimulants and opioids which induce familiar states of consciousness, psychedelics tend to affect and explore the mind in ways that result in the experience being qualitatively different from those of ordinary consciousness. The psychedelic experience is often compared to non-ordinary forms of consciousness such as trance, meditation, yoga and dreaming. Despite the fact that many governments deem many hallucinogenic or psychedelic substances to be dangerous, classifying them as schedule I drugs, many scientists have dared to study their effects. They’ve found over the years a startling, promising and powerful picture of potentially game-changing medicines. The “war on drugs” policies severely limit research on psychedelics, forcing scientists to jump through an expensive tangle of hoops and red tape in order to accomplish their mission. Restrictions aside, over the years researchers have collected a database of research showing that many psychedelics have an unprecedented potential to treat cancers, addictions and psychological traumas, among other things. The most popular psychedelic drugs are Cannabis, Ayahuasca, Lysergic Diethylamide Acid or LSD, Opium, Dmt, Psilocybin mushrooms, Ecstasy, Iboga, Peyote and Salvia Divinorum. Psychedelic substances have been used for thousands of years for religious and therapeutic purposes. These drugs differently affect the senses and how people see the world, that’s why before starting to use any of the above, one must take in consideration a number of facts.
Effects of Psychedelics
Psychedelic drugs each have different effects, depending on which type is taken, on where a user is experiencing them, their mood, expectations, and level of experience with the drug. Each drug’s effect can be different, but they all share certain qualities, depending on the environment the user is in, for example, if he’s in a stressful or noisy situation rather than somewhere peaceful and quiet. Someone may feel a sense of doubt or uncertainty, especially someone who has never tried drugs before, which can affect their experience. This could lead into extreme anxiety and can be dangerous for the user, psychedelics altering a user’s perception of space and time, as well as their thoughts and feelings.
Most commonly psychedelics effects may feel like:
- Colors may seem more intense, textures richer, and contours sharpened;
- People may feel a keener awareness of their bodies;
- Depth perception is heightened;
- Synesthesia, which is a blending of the senses and can cause people to ‘see colors’ or ‘hear sounds’ etc., is common;
- Distorted sense of time;
- Seeing things when eyes are closed (can be things that were there before, patterns, or entirely new images);
- Hallucinating when eyes are open, also can be seeing things as different than they are or seeing entirely new images;
- Heightened sensitivity to changes in the environment;
- More profound emotions and feelings, possibility to have swift mood shifts;
- Introspective reflection often with feelings of deep insight into oneself or the nature of humanity and the universe;
- Alterations in memory, usually with impaired short-term memory at the time
Some people take psychedelic substances and get to experience a very
distressing time while under their influence, this being referred to as a “bad trip”, and can be very dangerous due to the alarming effects they may cause. The reasons of bad trips are often fear and doubt in the beginning of the experience or an unexpected event while under their influence. Bad trips are associated with the following feelings:
- Panic or intense anxiety
- Intense fear
- Episodes of psychosis
- The desire to cause self harm or harm to others
Psychedelics effects are mostly unpredictable, which makes them dangerous. Hallucinations have been known to lead people to do very serious things, such as jumping off of roofs or running into traffic. Some people, however, report religious, spiritual, and enlightening experiences while using psychedelic drugs. Someone’s experience during a psychedelic trip is strongly influenced by two things, the set and the setting. The set is the state of mind, the internal environment, the beliefs of the user, and the setting is the external environment, the atmosphere the user is in. The user’s trip is as positive or negative as the set and setting is. If someone uses a psychedelic in a safe, supportive environment, the experience will develop in a pleasant, coherent, meaningful manner. But if someone uses the drug in a chaotic, unsettling atmosphere, the experience will be likewise.
Here are some of the coolest things scientists have discovered about psychedelics over the years.
- LSD can mitigate end-of-life anxiety. Was associated with a lower rate of outpatient mental health treatment and psychiatric medicine prescription. LSD might, in time, be able to help other kinds of addiction and anxiety disorders, including OCD.
- Lifetime use of psilocybin or mescaline and past year use of LSD were associated with lower rates of serious psychological distress.
- DMT occurs naturally in the human body, and taking it could simulate death.
- Ayahuasca can treat drug addiction and possibly much more.
- The drug MDMA (aka ecstasy, or Molly) promotes release of the hormone oxytocin, which could help treat severe anxieties like PTSD and social anxiety resulting from autism.
- Psilocybin, aka magic mushrooms, actually calms, rather than stimulates, certain brain functions, and could kill smoking addiction.
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Here are some tips on how to start using Psychedelics:
- A trustworthy source – Be absolutely sure that you know what you are taking. Only take substances from a trusted source and only take substances that you are confident are pure and high quality.
- A peaceful and relaxing set, and a comfortable setting – Empty your mind of harmful thoughts, of problems, make sure to eat something light so your body can be relaxed and undisturbed. Always use psychedelics in a place where you feel comfortable and safe, like your home or a friend’s home. Make sure you have plenty of time to stay in the space for the duration of the experience. Feeling any time pressure can introduce stress or anxiety to an experience. Setup the room that you will be in so that it feels cozy and pleasant. Have a comfortable place to sit or lie down, have pillows and decorations. You may want to have some music to listen to as well (music without words is recommended, as it is less likely to pull your thoughts away). Keep in mind that going from place to place, being in a public setting, or dealing with logistical matters can be difficult while using psychedelics and can also be a source of anxiety. This is not recommended and can distract your focus.
- Careful dosing – It is strongly recommended to know the dose of the substance you are taking. Carefully weigh any substance and consult sites like salviaextract.com to determine appropriate dose amounts. If you are unsure about the right dose level to begin or if you are feeling anxious, start very small and try more another day.
- Have someone beside you – Don’t take a psychedelic for the first time without someone present who has experience with that substance. Make sure it’s someone who you trust to help talk you through any stressful or confusing moments. Having someone around to help with practical needs (like getting you a glass of water) will let you focus on the process. Even if you have lots of experience with psychedelics, we recommend having a trusted person present (they don’t need to be in the same room, just on hand).
Psychedelics have been misunderstood and misrepresented for decades. We can help each other change that. Please help us share safe, responsible information on using psychedelics by sharing this site on any social network you use.