I am delighted that you are here, intentionally or not, it’s a healthy habit to be curious. Either you are looking to go down the rabbit hole, explore the unconscious mind or take a trip into the unknown, I hope this guide will make your first experience pleasant and memorable.
Psychedelics are nothing new to the inquisitive minds of humans. Traditionally used in tribes for sacred rituals, medicine for healing the mind and body. It is also practiced in several religious circles to expand one’s consciousness, to gain insight into the mind and nature of possible higher beings.
Throughout the counterculture of the 60s and modern-day psychonauts, psychedelics are considered to be a recreational drug used mainly to alter our minds, unlock the door of perception and to some extent, incorporate the use of it into our daily lives.
“Turn on, tune in, drop out”
– Timothy Leary, 1967
Even though some would indulge with the sole purpose to ‘trip balls’, appreciation of the dynamic energy should always be taken into consideration. As you explore the subconscious mind it can be an enlightening, fun and life-changing experience, or it could turn into a terrifying and uneasy trip.
*This guide will be discussing an overview of mushrooms together with truffles unless stated otherwise. I will clarify this point as we go on.
What to expect from the world of Shrooms?
The world of psychedelics is very different from other recreational drugs or alcohol. It is not something that you should partake every day unless you are microdosing or experimenting. Same as other pleasures in life, everything should be taken in moderation.
Mushrooms (and truffles) contains psilocybin and psilocin these two hallucinogenic substances creates a psychedelic experience once consumed. LSD/Acid is another similar mind-expanding drug where the effects are similar to mushrooms but gives sort of a more ‘manageable trip’.
Let’s say tripping on acid is like being the driver of the ride, you are still in touch with reality and in control but with mushrooms, you are the back seat passenger, enjoying the ride while cruising off into the universe.
The effects of mushrooms give you an introspective high (it seldom make you talkative or increase sociability). To each their own, it is not (or should not be) a social drug that you end up taking at a party or when you’re totally smashed. In those environments, it would be a safer bet to have a good time with stimulants or depressants of choice; alcohol, cannabis, ecstasy, MDMA or cocaine.
Everybody reacts differently to different drugs. Each will choose their own battles and chase their own desired high. Don’t let anyone force you into taking any drug, never feel pressured to do anything you don’t want to, even if it comes off as being lame or not one with the gang.
How to take Shrooms?
This guide is here to help make the trip safe and amazing for you. The experience will be heavily dependent on your personal mindset along with environmental factors, breaking them down to two main points 1. Set/Setting and 2. Dosage/Species
- Set & Setting
As Timothy Leary stated on exploring the world of psychedelics, set and setting are crucial in ensuring a good trip.
Set is your state of mind before taking psychedelics. You should be in a good place in life, physically and mentally. Don’t be taking them if you are worried about your job or exams at school, if you are fighting with your spouse or family members, if you are ill or feeling unwell.
Tripping will explore the subconscious mind, the dark corners where you hide your deepest thoughts and secret, that’s why a lot of people break down crying or just go hysterical. If you have underlying problems that you can fix, do it before taking mushrooms. But if it’s something out of your control then just let it be and hope that the trip with help sort things out.
The company you are while tripping with is also important, be with people you know and trust because you will see them through who they really are, bullshit and all. They can make or break your trip.
I can not emphasize enough how crucial it is to have a positive mindset. I know that now you are worried about having a bad trip. Don’t worry. Positive thinking like getting a haircut, relax and assure yourself that its gonna be great.
As for setting, finding a safe place to trip doesn’t mean staying in your house or your bedroom.
You can trip indoors but the effects are more noticeable outdoors. Keep in mind, several accidents happen on mushrooms such as falling out of windows and buildings, getting hit by a car or stumbling into a river or train track. So if you are going to walk around and explore, make sure there are no cars and stay away from tall buildings!
First-timers should go for a walk maybe in a park or around the city (Amsterdam is perfect because you don’t need to worry about getting run over). Being at the park on a sunny day is wonderful, you can lay on the grass, feel the sun on your body and listen to the sound of summer in the air. You can also go for a hike with friends, find a nice spot to lay down, watch the trees dance and trip together.
If you and your friends insist on staying inside, get some black lights and glow stick ready. Pick an awesome playlist and have fun together.
Later on, as you grasp how to trip properly you can explore such places like museums, art exhibitions or commuting around town.
Planning where you will be heading throughout the duration of the trip is good. Standing in the middle of the city with no sense of direction, confused as fuck to where you are heading just brings up unnecessary anxiety (or could possibly create a sense of adventure, you never know).
- Species & Dosage
Some might wonder the difference of mushroom and truffles and how tripping on them differs. Truffles or sclerotia is the part of the mushroom that grows underground. The two parts have the same exact active ingredients, psilocybin and psilocin.
The overview of tripping is similar but it is known that truffles gives a fun and enjoyable trip, whereas mushroom gives a deeper insight into the mind.
Anyone who has visited Amsterdam’s smart shops will only find psilocybin truffles for sale since psilocybin mushrooms were outlawed by the Dutch government in 2008 (due to death and accidents that is said to happen under the influence of mushrooms).
Today, truffles sold in Amsterdam comes in a standardized quantity for consumption in each box sold (making it harder to take too much than one should).
There will be several species and names of psilocybin mushroom/truffles to choose from such as Golden Teacher, Amazonian, Moby, Hawaiian, McK, Brazillian, Koh Samui, Cambodian, Flesh of God, Hollandia, Mexicana, Atlantis, Tempenensis, Philosopher’s stone, Liberty Cap, etc.
The best way to come around picking them out is finding a trustworthy place or someone to buy your goods with who can guide you with what you want from the trip and how intense you want it to be.
The potency of each batch could vary, storage and drying conditions can alter the experience too. Assuming that your goods are potent, a rough dosage overview will help you in choosing the intensity of your trip.
Do you want to dive into the meaning of life and explore your subconscious mind or just enjoy the change of colors, visuals, and distortion of your surroundings?
Mushroom VS Truffle dosage
- 5-10grams for beginners and up to 20-40grams for an intense trip
If you want to get a taste of tripping balls but still have a good grip on reality, 10-15grams is a good starter dose. You can get the strongest one and split it between a friend.
- 1-2.5grams for beginners and up to 3-6grams for an intense trip
I always get an 8th (3.5grams) of mushroom and I find that to be a pretty intense dosage.
- 5-10grams for a light trip and up to 30-35grams for the going into space
Have them drizzled over with honey, yum!
It is advisable to have a break from each trip, from 10 days to a month in between. When you are tripping it affects the serotonin receptors in your brain and it takes time until it returns to baseline state again.
Abusing it will only mess up your sleeping pattern and exhaust your brain to a point that tripping will lose it magic.
Having a good dosage measurement, planned preparation and a positive mindset should be taken into consideration if you want a pleasant psychedelic experience.
Preparation for the trip
- Read and do your own personal research as much as you can about other people’s experience so you will get an idea of how it’s going to be.
- Make sure you have enough time to trip, it would be great to trip all day and have the next day off. Make sure you have no important errands to do. You will not completely be yourself even after the comedown.
- Having a good night sleep and starting the day fresh with no alcohol, caffeine, medical drugs or cannabis will help give you a clean and clear trip.
- A lot of people say it works best on an empty stomach but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat because you’ll be needing the energy on the long trip. I suggest eating a good substantial breakfast with lots of fruits for at least 2-3 hours before. Avoid meat and dairy (burgers, steak, milk, etc.). It will mess with your trip and won’t give you a proper high.
- Wear comfortable clothes and a wristwatch to keep track of time.
- Get some good music going. Download them offline on Spotify or sync your favorite music on iTunes ready for shuffling.
- Leave your phone behind, airplane mode if possible.
- Have a good chat with your family and loved ones before the trip, to assure yourself that they are safe and you will be too. Some people panic while tripping and start calling everyone thinking they are in danger.
- Plan what and where you will be doing and going, or don’t, and see where you end up.
- Leave all your worries behind and be excited about the adventure.
What to expect when tripping balls
Everyone is different but you will go through 3 main stages of tripping with the duration of being out of this world between 4-7 hours.
- Chew them thoroughly, with a glass of water, juice, or soda. The enzyme in your saliva will help break it down making it easier and faster to digest. Truffles are exceptionally sour and taste like stale, rotten walnuts and mushrooms will taste of earthy bitterness, so be prepared.
The onset will take around 20-45 minutes, give or take, some might take longer to get rolling but never take more than what you’ve planned to take. Mushrooms are not like edibles, you will get totally mind fucked when it hits.
- The first signs will be feeling extremely nauseous and uneasy. Funny feeling all over that you can’t pin out what is going on.
“Take deep breaths” and it will be okay.
- Colors and shapes start to look weird, feeling of euphoria will arise. A sense of confusion and lack of direction come up every now and then. You just have to steer yourself out a bit.
A misconception about tripping is about hallucinations, the truth is that your visions will be distorted, shapes and colors will slide and rotate. You won’t be seeing things that are not there in the first place unless you are taking a very huge dose.
- Some might get heavy visuals at first and some might get them later on. Some might get visuals comes in waves throughout the trip.
- The gates of your inner thoughts will open. It feels like a door in the back of your head is unlocked. All your deep emotions, hidden fears and questions will all flood out. Don’t resist them. They can be good or bad depending on what you have hidden or unconsciously kept deep inside.
By this time you are sweating balls. Your hands are just dripping in sweat with a feeling of nausea which usually goes away after 30mins-2 hours.
Don’t resist your thoughts. Sometimes its so intense, you can close your eyes for a while. Take deep breaths, it will be okay.
When you fight to keep it down or keep it in, that is when the feeling of anxiety will kick in. The only way is to let go and let be, let your mind take you on this trip. and remind yourself that its okay and enjoy the trip.
Between those intense moments just tell yourself you are tripping and flow with it, enjoy it. Remind yourself, “I am in a safe space and I have more than enough time to be here.”
If you are in public you might exchange glances with people, wondering if they know you are out of this world. Keep cool, and roll on. People are just checking you out with good intentions.
The Ego-Less State (Existential moments)
When you are tripping a lot will happen, the control you have on your subconscious has faded away. Everything will flow through, questions about yourself, love, the meaning of life (some people freak out at this stage but you have to reassure yourself of your setting and that you are safe here).
- Your thoughts will talk to you. Things that are hanging or kept in the back of your mind.
It will feel like you are left alone with your thoughts for the first time, this might be overwhelming for people who have suppressed problems or underlying issues. Shift your mood when it steers into anxiety issues or being self-conscious, or you can let go and explore that part of yourself.
- Hold on to thoughts that you want to dig deeper, or let your mind wander. You can come to terms with a lot of things on the trip. Answers will be responded, uncertainties will be approved.
Time is unreal, it feels like forever, the world is happening around you and you are just a blimp in the universe. Your entire being and essence will be felt. You know where you are and where you stand in life and what you have to do to make the best of it.
It strips away your insecurity and uncovers the layer you wear in society. You will see who you really are for the first time. You will accept the things you can’t change and appreciate what you’ve done in life so far.
- Don’t try to resist the trip, the only thing it will do is twist around and cause you even more confusion. “Am I tripping? I don’t want to trip now. Are things looking funny or my eyes are fooling me? No! I am not tripping.” Anxiety and bad vibes kill it all, and you will be heading for a bad trip that leaves you suffocating.
The trick is to let go, completely.
TIPS on tripping
- Avoid social contact with people who are not tripping with you, but if you have to talk, regroup your thoughts and be ready with your question with a smile. And also be ready to answer back!
- Little things will be hard as fuck. Going to the toilet for a piss will be such a mission. Don’t get hung up in there. Get done and get out.
- Remind yourself not to stare at something for too long in public, unless its a place where people do like museums.
- People say to smoke weed to ease the come up and reduce the feeling of nausea. It does help in a way but the feeling of being high is suddenly replaced or combined with sudden confusion is a bit overwhelming. Think about it, you will already be tripping and adding the high will just hamper with the experience. Weed does increase the intensity of tripping, but as a first-timer, you won’t be needing it.
- Save the weed for the comedown. And get them rolled and ready, rolling a joint while tripping balls are one of the hardest things in life.
Coming down after the trip
Slowly coming back to reality, visuals will start to be less intense and you are more in control of your mind. It will be comforting to come back to the real world
You might come out with a lot of shame and embarrassing feelings. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Come to terms with it and let things that you can’t control go.
Coming out from the trip feeling like a new person is unreal, spread that positivity to everyone around you. Share your thoughts on things with people you just tripped with or write them down for later.
Smoking weed during the comedown could keep the trip going on longer and will help you build up and appetite too. A beer actually doesn’t sound bad and taste wonderfully salty, the best I’ve ever had.
So you’ve just tripped for the first time, take some time off to kick back and chill with that lingering positive attitude towards the world. Be grateful for the experience and truly appreciate the thoughts and feelings you’ve felt on the trip.
Each trip will be different but with a good first-time experience, you will be open to trying them again in different settings.
Final words to future Psychonauts
Letting go is actually easier said than done,
I still remember the first time tripping hard and it was one of the most life-changing events of my life. It felt like standing on the edge of a cliff and when you finally let go you don’t fall into the valley but fly above it instead. I trusted my wings and knew it was going to take me beyond the horizon of thought.
I personally trip on mushrooms to look into myself. It’s therapeutic for me personally to close off the world for a while, take a break from the rush and the ongoing momentum of life.
The lack of ego brings down the boundary suppressed by the conscious mind, I am able to be honest to myself and see the world differently. All my worries and the questions I’ve been pondering will somewhat be answered or I will come to term with them.
If you are curious space-cadet, I hope this guide will prepare you for your first mission to the moon. Enjoy the shapes and visuals around, see a distorted world from what you usually perceive. Explore and experience the expansion of your consciousness.
“Houston, we are ready for liftoff…”
Further reading and references
The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead
By the prophetic shaman-professors Timothy Leary
High Society: The Central Role of Mind-Altering Drugs in History, Science, and Culture
An illustrated cultural history of drug use by Mike Jay
Ego loss – Ego death
I suggest that after your first trip to come back and read more about it here.