Ranking Psychedelics: Beginner To Spiritual Guru
4 min

Ranking Psychedelics: Beginner To Spiritual Guru

4 min
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Perhaps you’re an aspiring psychonaut, or maybe you’re interested in trying psychedelics for the first time. This guide is constructed as a general ranking of psychedelics from least to most intense, so you have a better idea of what to expect.

Choosing To Take Psychedelics For The First Time


When it comes to taking psychedelics, there are some general ground rules that can help you to have a more comfortable time. This is a best practice for ALL interactions with psychedelics, no matter how strong you believe them to be:

  • Be well-versed on the drug you’re taking, the side effects, and what to expect. Also, make sure to source from a reliable supplier.
  • Have a trip-sitter nearby—someone sober whom you trust to keep an eye on you. Ideally, this person should have some psychedelic experiences of their own.
  • Be sure you’re aware of the drug laws where you are. Some drugs are illegal to possess, and a criminal record can be damaging.
  • Start low and go slow. Depending on how you’re feeling, you can always increase the dose. Once you’ve taken the drug, there’s no going back.
  • Make sure you’re in a safe place, and that you can’t get into any trouble. Psychedelics can affect everything from time and space to your coordination, so be sure you’re not going to walk into busy traffic, etc.
  • This should also go without saying, but under no circumstances should you drive while under the influence.
  • Trips can last hours; give yourself enough time to process your experiences before you resume normal life again.
  • Your trip will also be affected by your state of mind—the best trips happen when you’re feeling calm, in control, and comfortable.

Ranking Psychedelic Substances Based On Intensity


When it comes to the following list of substances, we’ve ranked them based on a subjective scale of intensity. “Intensity” includes variables related to the onset and duration of the experience, as well as the visual and cognitive effects you might experience.

As a rule of thumb, smoking, vaporizing, or sublingually administering substances will result in the quickest onset, and an earlier peak too. Eating or drinking a substance leads to a slower onset and a longer trip.

This isn’t a case of one substance being better or worse than the other; our list is simply to help you prepare, and to give you an idea of what you can expect with certain psychedelics. Beginners are advised to proceed with caution and select psychedelics with a shorter duration and a less-intense peak.

1. Marijuana

People enjoy marijuana for its psychoactive component THC. It can be smoked, vaporized, or ingested as food or a tincture. Smoking and vaping are the quickest ways to experience a high from marijuana. Edibles take longer to kick in, but will also be felt for longer.

Beginner Dose

If you're smoking marijuana from a bong or joint, aim for less than 10% THC. In an edible, aim for less than 5mg THC.

Average Length Of Effects

If smoked, the effects of marijuana will be felt around 5–15 minutes after inhaling. Typically, the high will last for between 1–2 hours, depending on the strength. The same is true of tinctures.

If you're enjoying edibles, expect the effects to be felt around 45–90 minutes after ingesting, and to last for between 2–6 hours.

2. Magic Mushrooms

Magic mushrooms, or psilocybin, are a natural psychedelic that can be consumed either by eating the mushrooms directly or drinking an infused tea. Some effects may vary depending on the type of mushroom you choose.

Beginner Dose

The most common variety of mushroom available is Psilocybe cubensis; a typical beginner dose of dried mushrooms is about 1.5–2g.

Average Length Of Effects

The effects of mushrooms will be felt 30–60 minutes after ingesting, peak at around two hours, and last around 4–5 hours total. Drinking mushroom tea will help you feel the effects more quickly, and may prevent an upset stomach as is common when eating shrooms.

Related article

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3. Lsd

Lysergic acid diethylamide, known as LSD or acid, is an isolated chemical usually taken as a small square of paper, a pellet, or as a liquid dropped onto the tongue or on food.

Beginner Dose

A beginner dose is around 75–100µg, although if you are feeling particularly nervous about trying LSD, then a dose of 50µg will introduce you to a shift in awareness without leading to significant changes in consciousness.

Average Length Of Effects

Generally, an LSD trip will last between 8–13 hours, peaking around 3–4 hours after ingestion.

4. Mescaline

Mescaline is a powerful psychedelic found in several cacti, most famous of which is the peyote cactus. Popular ways to enjoy mescaline include eating dried cactus chips, or a traditional multiple reduction brew. Mescaline teas can be easier on the stomach, or you can enjoy gel caps.

Beginner Dose

Dosing mescaline depends entirely on the type of cactus. A normal dose is around 300mg, equalling around 20g of dried peyote.

Average Length Of Effects

Around 30 minutes after ingesting, you will notice cramping or feelings of queasy discomfort. The peak will be reached around 2–4 hours after dosing, and the experience will last for around 8–12 hours more. A total trip with a milder dose can be expected to last for around 16 hours.

Related article

Top 5 Mescaline Cacti

5. Salvia

Salvia divinorum is a member of the sage family, and the only one that seems to induce a psychedelic effect. Typically, the leaves of the plant are chewed or vaporized. Extracts can also be made to take as a sublingual tincture. Smoked salvia is known to produce an extremely depersonalised effect that can be quite alarming.

Beginner Dose

It is not recommended to smoke salvia in a joint, but rather from a water pipe. A beginner dose is around 0.25–1g of dried leaves.

To chew: 8–20 leaves or 3–8g, steeped in water for 15 minutes, then chewed for around 30 minutes. It can be sweetened with honey, and there is no benefit to swallowing it.

If you are taking an extract, start with around 0.1–0.3g.

Average Length Of Effects

Smoking salvia will typically induce effects within a minute or so. Extreme effects will last for around 5–6 minutes, before tapering off over the next 20 minutes or so.

When chewing the leaves, a mild effect will be experienced after 15 minutes, peaking at around 30 minutes. This will last for around an hour, before gradually coming down.

If taken sublingually, the effects will kick in after around 10–15 minutes, peaking after about 30 minutes and lasting for around an hour.

Related article

Salvia: Everything You Need To Know

6. Dmt

DMT, or N,N-dimethyltryptamine, is a chemical found in various plants and animals. Traditionally, it has been used in various cultures for ceremonial or religious occasions. Normally, it is vaporized, or taken orally in combination with an herbal MAOI like Syrian rue for a longer, more intense trip.

Beginner Dose

When vaporized, a light dose is typically 10–15mg, and a standard dose is 15–25mg. If consuming orally, a typical beginner dose is around 30–50mg.

Average Length Of Effects

Vaporizing DMT will provide a fast onset of anywhere between 30 seconds and 2 minutes. Typically, a trip will last for around 3–10 minutes, with after-effects lasting for up to an hour.

Consuming DMT orally with an MAOI will extend the onset time to between 20–45 minutes. The trip itself will last around 3–7 hours, with a gradual come-down period.

Building Your Psychedelic Experience


There is no right or wrong way to build your psychedelic experience. Everybody responds differently to drugs, because everybody is coming from a unique physical and mental place.

As a general rule, stronger psychedelics like salvia, mescaline, and DMT require some building up as they often have a "purge phase" that can be difficult. It’s important to remember that it’s possible to experience challenging trips that may result in a startling degree of personal insight.

If you want to build your psychedelic experiences, it’s highly recommended to keep a journal on each drug, the dose you took, how it made you feel, etc. It’s always a good idea to take your time and proceed slowly with what you’re doing. This way, you can savour each experience, benefit from any potential insights, and limit the possibility of a bad trip.


Written by: CJ
CJ is a London-based word nerd and writer who loves to write about the mind-bending and consciousness-expanding. They’re a non-binary poet with a healthy dose of wanderlust.

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