Magic Mushroom Tripping: Beginner’s Tips
A shroom trip can be a wonderful experience. Its effects can be euphoric and enlightening, and a first shroom trip can be a grand, life-changing experience. A good trip.
But it can also be vicious, taking control of your world and your senses, throwing you into a terrifying, horrific magic mushroom world. A bad trip.
As Dr. Timothy Leary likes to say, “set and setting” do have a lot to do with one you end up with. But there are plenty of other factors that influence shroom trips, including the dosage, the species of the magic mushrooms, and simply the wills of your subconscious brain. Anyone new to magic mushrooms should learn up before tripping (if you’re someone I’m talking about, good job; you’re reading this!), but as they grow more experienced, they’ll learn to take psilocybin mushrooms in the right way, achieving a good, if not amazing shroom trip.
But what are magic mushroom trips really like?
Well, if you have heard of the effects of acid or LSD (or have even taken it), a psilocybin shroom trip is roughly the same, with a different “edge” to it (and usually less intense per dose compared with acid). If you’re in to chemistry and want to know: Part of the known background on this is that both psilocybin and psilocin, two of the psychedelic compounds in shrooms, as well as acid are confirmed either partial or full agonists at different serotonin receptor (an agonist is a chemical that actives a receptor in the body; an antagonist is one that reverses its effects) throughout the brain and body. Psilocybin and psilocin have similar chemical structures to serotonin chemical, A.K.A. 5-HT, too, although LSD’s 3D shape is quite different. All three psychedelics also have confirmed effects in different areas of the central nervous system.
By the way, there’s a myth floating around that magic mushrooms, as well as LSD, don’t cause “hallucinations”; they simply “distort” what you perceive with your senses. This is exactly what shrooms and acid do at average doses today. But at much higher, A.K.A. “spiritual,” doses, intense hallucinations will come along with both magic mushroom trips and acid trips, enveloping the world around the tripper as they lose themselves to the world of the psychedelics.
With lower doses, a shroom trip is much like impossibly high on some sativa. First, the colors of objects become vivid and saturated, gaining a “clearness” to them. Euphoria will take over, and soon giggling and laughter at literally nothing will ensue. Sounds will echo over and over, and then you might not be sure whether the sound had really existed at all in the first place. If you manage to eat, tastes are vibrant and exotic, and can even change flavors in your mouth as you eat.
But that’s the first bit. Closing your eyes now, you’ll see intense geometric patterns, in full 3 dimensions, sliding, rotating, and morphing through different complex shapes. Open your eyes, and on the sides of walls, on floors and ceilings, on rocks and on furniture, you’ll see the patterns, in their full light, continuing to morph in their complexity.
Then the thoughts come. Many describe it as a sense of “freedom,” as if the filter that divides your conscious and subconscious had been suddenly shut off. Trains of thought will flow freely and easily, without effort, taking their own paths, sometimes even splitting into two complete separate sequences of thought, occurring simultaneously until they re-emerge again. Close your eyes now, and if the dose is right, full, life-like dreams will take over your mind’s eye, engulfing your senses and playing out whatever stories your subconscious brings to stage. Even at this stage, which can be reached by someone with no magic mushroom tolerance by just a small to average dose, some shroom trippers already achieve a ”better perspective on their role in life,” as well as, in some cases, talks with divine beings or beings of intelligence from “different dimensions” or worlds.
How can a new magic mushroom user ensure a good trip?
First off and foremost, every person reacts different to different drugs, and that includes magic mushrooms. That’s why it’s important to start small; feel out the mushroom world, and judge for yourself how much you should take next time.
With that in mind, decide how intense your first set of trips to be. Do you eventually want to dive into your subconscious brain, swimming around its various landscapes while connecting different meanings of life; or do you just want a nice, relaxing magic mushroom high with some colorful and visuals and interesting shapes? You’ll need to stock up accordingly, based on how many trips you’ll be having and how much you want to take; but hang on, we’ll get to psilocybin mushroom dosage in just a second.
Before you even start thinking about the intensity of the trip, the dosages, and thinks like that, you need to establish a safe, calm tripping environment, i.e. Timothy Leary’s “set and setting.” For most, this means not out on the streets or in the bushes or washes, but in a home where you can explore the trip, walking outside if your goal is to enjoy the beauty of nature.
“Set and setting” also includes your state of mind. Don’t start taking magic mushroom.ms the day before you have an exam or job interview. Don’t pick a “safe” house where someone you don’t want to know about your shroom using is likely to show up (or is already there). A mix of anxiety and annoyance before a trip can quickly turn into a terrifying, chaotic bad trip afterward. Be calm, enjoy the shroom experience with an open mind, and know that whatever comes, you’ll be okay. And you will be.
By the way, a trip sitter is the way to ensure that, in reality, you’ll actually be okay. Find a trip sitter, or a sober person that has the time and experience to take care of you, to aid you through your magic mushroom experience. More often than not, any trippers who take psilocybin mushrooms more than once end up finding out that having a trip sitter helped them out, whether it was simply to bring them a blanket when they were in need of one, or if they ended up saving the tripper from police trouble or worse, physical harm. So if you’re tripping on psilocybin shrooms, grab a trip sitter.
(Side Note: Some mushroom users say that cannabis is great for combating a lot of the negative effects of shrooms, keeping nausea and stomach problems to a minimum and battling bad trip-induced anxiety and panic. If you’ve had good experience with cannabis and trips, or want to keep some on hand, make sure to gather a supply beforehand.)
How many magic mushrooms should I take?
Once you have the set and setting figured out, you have a good time with a buffer specifically set aside for the shroom trip, and you’ve got a good tripsitter by your side, it’s time to start thinking doses.
(The following doses are good guides, according to Erowid, for new to medium magic mushroom users. More experienced shroom trippers will have built up a good tolerance, and will probably want to adjust accordingly; but, being an experienced shroom tripper, hopefully you know how to judge your own body well already. Also, these doses are based on Psilocybe cubensis.)
The Erowid Psilocybin Mushroom Vault says about a quarter of a gram of dried magic mushroom is a threshold dose. A threshold dose is a dose that will get a shroom user just barely noticing the effects. A threshold dose of psilocybin mushrooms sometimes brings a light feeling of cold along with a slight vividness to colors and light, but not much more.
The dosage page goes on to say that a “light” dose of psilocybin mushrooms is around a quarter of a gram, the threshold dose, to around one gram of dried shroom.
Some peoples’ eyes can dilate at this point. Sensitive trippers might feel a bit of the classic mushroom nausea kick in at this stage. Slight visual “hallucinations,” though they are more like fleeting distortions, can start to show themselves at the edges of peripheral vision, and bright colors and intense lights can take on a “starry” look, according to the page. The distinct “mushroom aura” is noticeable.
A “medium” dose, Erowid says, is about a gram to two and a half. But remember, everyone’s mushroom experience will be different. Some people feel hardly more effects than they would from a light dose chewing down two and a half grams of shroom for the first time, while other people taking that amount have tripped hard, reaching a full on psilocybin experience complete with intense visuals and whirling thoughts. The best thing to do here, if you’re not sure how much you want to take, is to start at around a gram and a half, or even a light dose if you’re had a history being sensitive to psychedelics.
At medium doses, physical effects will be fully evident, including the shroom nausea for sensitive trippers and beginners. Pupils are visibly dilated at this point, and blood pressure and heart rate can rise to a safe degree. Some users experience the “cooling” sensation felt at threshold dosages get stronger as the trip progresses. Full blown, open eyed visuals come on at this stage, and the dream like images of shroom trips will start to take form. Most people say that, with a medium dose, their thought patterns are significantly different; it’s likely for “enlightened” thoughts and apparent realizations about the world to manifest. At the same time, emotions will be dynamic and exaggerated, and intense mood swings between euphoria and dysphoria that mirror the mood swings of LSD can occur.
Finally, the dosage page defined “strong doses” as anywhere between two and a half to five grams of dried mushroom, with over five grams of shroom listed as a “heavy” dose. Magic mushroom beginners that want to experience a real, full mushroom trip often take up to an eighth of an ounce (around three and a half grams) on their first dose, and the trip can be a euphoric, eye opening experience. But at trip intensities nearing that level, a bad trip can get, well, bad, and new shroom users who aren’t used to dealing with bad trips can be in for a hard time. (Like a bad first acid trip, a bad first shroom trip has convinced numerous people to swear off the drug, or psychedelics in general, completely. While their choice should be respected, if they had taken more care with their original “set and setting” as well as dosage, they might have found the experience to be much more significant, in a good way, than it turned out to be.)
If a beginner is reaching this level of intensity, they probably overdosed (Side Note: overdose is a term means, literally, to take more than intended; overdoses don’t imply that death or any lasting physical harm is done), and the onset of the shroom trip will be rapid, jarring, and probably not enjoyable. Pupils will be round and big, and nausea can wreak full havoc on a tripper’s stomach at this point; even experienced magic mushroom users can have a hard time if they weren’t prepared for the severity of the effects. Inexperienced users on Erowid describe panic attacks at high doses bringing thoughts like, “How far am I going?” and even, “What have I done to myself?” In contrast, if a psychonaut is intending to reach the level and is fully prepared for what it brings, high doses can be extremely euphoric and life changing in a profound way. Psilocybin, in concentrated doses or taken in potent magic mushrooms, can even induce an experience known as “ego loss,” which is essentially the loss of the feeling of one’s “self.” The “sensation” of ego loss is sometimes described as a literal enjoinment with one’s environment, becoming lost in the flow of the trip without any central desire, conflict, or control. Sometimes, it’s called being “one” with the universe.
So How Many Magic Mushrooms Do I Buy?
This is a good question. The answer is none. You really shouldn’t buy mushrooms buy the number, unless you’re a psilocybin mushroom grower buying seeds (and if you are, then why read this?). You should buy them by the gram, or by the ounce. And if you’re serious about not getting ripped off, you’ll either buy from someone who weighs the shrooms out on a scale in front of you, or you’ll have access to one so you can check the amount yourself. Really, you should have access to a scale regardless, to measure out doses, but a lot of people can get by with eyeballing the pile of shrooms if they know how much they’ve bought.
If you’re just planning to trip a couple times, you don’t need to get yourself more than an eighth of dried shrooms, and you could do with even less (as always, this still depends on the potency of the magic mushrooms your source stocks up on). It being your first trip, you probably won’t get access to people who buy psilocybin mushrooms by the bulk, and your connections will be limited. Be happy getting an eighth for around $30 or €20 to €25 for your first shroom purchase, or around $10 to $15 or €8 to €10 a gram, if that’s your buying unit. People who trip often usually by psilocybin mushrooms by quarter ounces, half ounces, and ounces or more, getting prices of around $100 to $200 or €75 to €150 per ounce, and it’s not unlikely for some psychedelic enthusiasts with good connections to ask for or be given free doses.
If you really have to judge the amount of magic mushrooms you’re getting on the spot, just by looking at them, you can estimate about ten to fifteen individual mushrooms to weigh around an eighth of an ounce. If you have the time beforehand, just search Google for “an eighth of shrooms” or something similar to get a perspective of what it’ll visually look like. Overall, though, it’s still best to weigh out your doses, and if you can access a scale in any way, do it.
So, after all this, you finally might be wondering,
Are magic mushrooms dangerous?
There is no one simple answer; but on the whole, no.
Psilocybin, just like LSD (or lysergic acid diethylamide) and cannabis (or THC, CBD, CBN, etc.), and psilocin, is a United States Schedule I drug (also a Schedule I drug ever since the United Nations 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances) that has no well-documented overdose that led to death. You can “overdose” on magic mushrooms, getting very sick, dry heaving and, rarely, actually vomiting, which, after a matter of hours (a lingering “haze” or other after effects might last a few days), fades and disappears. The LD-50 dose of psilocybin for humans, which is the dose at which an average of 50 % of the people who take it die, is several hundred to thousands of times larger than the normal amount taken to trip, and the pile of P. cubensis shrooms containing that amount of active chemical would weigh more than a kilogram and a half.
Likewise, psilocybin mushrooms will not make you lose track of reality, you won’t become a schizophrenic from their use, and no, you won’t ever take too much and end up tripping permanently. But, people with pre-existing mental conditions or family histories of schizophrenia, severe bi-polar disorder, and other mental illnesses have encountered chronic problems associated with psilocybin mushroom use. Many doctors think that psilocybin can not only make existing mental conditions worse, but that it can also stir up “dormant” or asymptomatic conditions. If you legitimately have reason to worry about your mental health apart from the use of magic mushrooms, you might want to ask your doctor or talk to a trusted source before starting your first trip.
But for most of the population, shrooms are one of the safest psychedelics available, along with LSD (and cannabis, if you classify it as a “psychedelic”), and it’s a great choice for beginners wanting to get their first taste of what psychedelics can really do.
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