The word Psychedelic was coined in 1957 by Canadian born British psychiatrist Dr. Humphry Osmond. He combined the Greek words “psyche” meaning “mind or spirit” and “delos” meaning “manifesting.” The dictionary definition of the verb manifest is “to become clear or apparent” which is congruent with many reports of deep personal insight and creative epiphany gained through the use of psychedelic substances. Psychedelics are typically used in one of two contexts, recreational use, or therapeutic use. The altered state of consciousness induced by psychedelics is an experience that anyone can benefit from, if proper care and attention is paid to preparation.
Psychedelic experiences are often referred to as ‘journeys’ or ‘trips’, because they transport the user into a vividly immersive alternate realm of consciousness that is associated with intense emotion, increased perception and self-awareness, and allows the mind to freely and deeply explore your own psyche. It is a powerful, profound experience, and it should be treated with healthy caution. The risk does exist of having a challenging or negative experience. The most effective ways to mitigate the risk of having a “bad trip” are to increase your knowledge and awareness regarding;
- The effects and time-frame of a psilocybin experience
- The proper dosage level (based on body composition and level of experience with psilocybin)
- The important role that “set and setting” play in a psilocybin experience.
- Psilocybins psychological and physical effects
Set. Your mindset and mind-state going in.
Your mental state going into the experience can have significant effect on the outcome. Make sure to set aside enough time to complete the 4-6 hour experience, try to not have plans or things you need to get done after your experience. If you are interested in resolving a particular emotional or psychological challenge in your life realize that this is a perfect time to analyze it. Consider writing your thoughts down. You will likely chuckle looking back on your notes.
Setting. This refers to the physical environment you will be in.
Make sure you are in a comfortable, familiar, and safe environment. Consider having a sober friend of family member nearby. This will subconsciously reassure you that your body is safe, leaving your mind free to explore. Studies at Johns Hopkins university have shown that visual and auditory stimulation play a crucial role in any psychedelic experience. The Psychedelic research department at Jonhs Hopkins have curated a playlist after 1000’s of research hours therapeutically treating patients with psilocybin. This research has found that with adequate dosage music can significantly affect many aspects of a psychedelic experience.
Sensory enhancement and synesthesia (mixing of senses) eg hearing colours
Altered sense of time
Visual stimulation, closed eye pattern hallucination (often geometric patterns)
Altered thought or speech patterns
Heightened self awareness and perception
Temporary Cognitive impairment
Cold in extremities
Elevated heart rate
Anxiety (due to unusual thoughts or feelings)
Confusion (due to unsual thoughts or feelings)
Discomfort (due to unusual thoughts or feelings)
Aside from the physical effects listed above, psilocybin’s psychological effects can include intense euphoria, a sense of wonder and delight, openness to thoughts and feelings that you usually avoid, a sense of peace, a sense of connection to the world, clarity about relationships and people in your life, , strong emotions, spiritual or mystical feelings of unity and connectedness, out of body experience, intense emotion, and even contact/communication with either what the subject perceives as otherworldly entities, or are otherworldly entities. These effects peak between 1 and 2 hours after ingestion, and gently decline for the remainder of the 4-6 hour experience. It is commonly reported that smoking cannabis during this “comedown” period can re-intensify the effects of psilocybin.
Typically, people feel very free and open in the days following a mushroom experience. You should try to get a good night’s sleep afterwards, and you may feel a little tired the next day. Most people find that they have an afterglow from their mushroom experience that can last days or weeks, improving their mood and outlook and keeping them very open to others. Ideas and issues that you explored during the experience will have a new clarity to them. Emotionally difficult topics, memories, and experiences are likely to feel much safer and will bring up less fear when you remember them. You are likely to feel better able to tackle challenging emotional experiences in your life.
The positive effects of mushrooms can last for years, even from just a single experience. In a recent study at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, an incredible 94% of participants who had a single dose of mushrooms said it was “one of the top five most meaningful experiences of their lives.” Another study found long lasting changes in openness more than a year after a single mushroom dose.