People have been using magic mushrooms for centuries as they have been part of divination, prayer, and healing for a minimum of 10,000 years. There are ancient cave and rock paintings showing how important they have been to people throughout history.
Magic mushrooms started expanding in popular culture during the 1960s. This followed the 1955 visit of R. Gordon Wasson to Mexico to visit Maria Sabina, a medicine woman. Wasson and his photographer were considered the first white men to eat these “divine mushrooms” in recorded history. Since then, magic mushrooms have expanded greatly in popularity.
One of the more daunting things about magic mushrooms is that your trip may be good or bad. When used for spiritual or religious ceremonies historically, this is typically seen as part of the experience, such as providing emotional release or letting you face demons. For recreational purposes, however, you want to have an amazing trip, not a bad one.
The good news is that there are some precautions you can take to help ensure that your magic mushroom trip is amazing. While there is never a guarantee that you will not have a bad trip, following these tips makes the possibility almost nonexistent.
1. Treat the Mushrooms Like Medicine
Before you even start planning your trip with the magic mushrooms, make sure that you have the right perspective. For the best experience, treat magic mushrooms as a sacred medicine, just like indigenous cultures have done for thousands of years. This will significantly help you get the most from your trip.
This contrasts with the idea of just using magic mushrooms as a recreational drug, like you would cannabis. That being said, you can always work to combine the two intentions and have a recreational purpose that is influenced by the view of magic mushrooms as sacred medicine.
If you are having trouble wrapping your head around the idea of treating mushrooms like medicine, then either look to the traditional uses of it as sacred medicine or turn to more recent studies. Researchers are starting to believe and find some supporting evidence that mushrooms could help with cluster headaches, PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
2. Choose the Right Environment
It is very common to feel disoriented during a magic mushroom experience, but you can minimize this, as well as the associated feelings of being overwhelmed, by choosing the right space to try the mushrooms in. Ideally, this environment will be safe and familiar.
Remember that you will likely experience hallucinations during your trip, or you may find yourself unsure how normal things work. You will likely feel overwhelmed if you are not somewhere that you are used to or feel safe in. You can somewhat counter this potential for being overwhelmed by choosing a familiar, safe space and ensuring that it has limited external stimuli.
Your environment is among the most important factors to determine whether your trip is good or bad. You do not want your experience to be ruined by confusion or concerns about the space you are in. You also certainly do not want to disturb the peace during your trip, given the patchwork legality of magic mushrooms.
As you plan the safe space for the trip, remember that you will be there for between six and eight hours. Do not forget to consider physical safety since your coordination and thoughts will be impaired during your trip. Accidental injuries are a possibility if you are not in the right type of space.
3. Surround Yourself With the Right People
In addition to making sure that your environment is comfortable and safe in a physical sense, ensure that it includes people you trust and can count on to support you through the journey. It is universal advice to have an experienced guide with you the first time you try magic mushrooms. There should always be someone in the group who remains sober and cares for those on trips, and they should ideally have experience with magic mushrooms themselves. For your first trip, it is best to have someone who can provide you with one-on-one guidance.
Having the right people around you during your trip will help prevent you from freaking out or getting overwhelmed when you begin experiencing hallucinations.
4. Get Comfortable, Including Your Clothing
During your trip, you will not necessarily find yourself capable of changing clothes or adjusting your comfort too much. Because of this, you should plan ahead and ensure that you are wearing something comfortable and appropriate to the conditions. If you are somewhere warm, keep that in mind, and if you are somewhere cold, remember that as well.
In addition to choosing temperature-appropriate clothing, make sure that you choose something easy to remove to go to the bathroom. Your coordination may be impaired during your trip, and you do not want to have any accidents.
5. Be Open – Mentally and Emotionally
Ensure that your mind is in the right state when thinking about your future trip and during the trip itself. You want to be open to everything, from receiving insights to feeling bliss to laughing. You must also be open to the potential less-than-stellar feelings, such as discomfort or confusion. Only by being open to those reactions can you prepare for them.
It is very important that you are open to your experiences during the trip since there is no way to tell how you will react until you are in the trip. Everyone reacts differently, which makes it slightly harder to plan for specific reactions.
Just remember that if you experience any challenges during your trip, remind yourself that it is temporary and just accept it and let it pass.
6. Select Your Dosage Carefully
Another crucial thing to plan for your magic mushroom trip is the dose. You are much more likely to have a bad trip if you accidentally overdose. The good news is death from an overdose is incredibly rare. In fact, most deaths from magic mushrooms are due to accidents, which is yet another reason to be in a safe environment.
Even so, once you consume your magic mushrooms, there is not much you can do to reduce the effects other than riding them out. Because of that, it is crucial that you chose your dose carefully.
So what dose should you use? It will depend on your body weight, your sensitivities and experience, and the type of mushroom. You should always start with a lower dose at the beginning of your trip. If, after a few hours you want to increase it, go ahead, but make sure you wait several hours before deciding. If you want some numbers, try about one gram of psilocybin cubensis for the average adult. Five grams would be too much for most people.
7. Plan Ahead for Food and Water
It is somewhat common to feel queasy when you eat magic mushrooms, so most people suggest using them when your stomach is nearly empty or completely empty. If you overeat beforehand or immediately after consuming the mushrooms, your experience may end up focused on your nausea.
While you do not want to eat too much before or right away during the trip, you’d want to plan ahead about eating after the trip when the hunger hits. Simple tasks become very challenging during a trip, so if you need a snack, you may not be able to open a can easily. Ideally, you should have some healthy snacks on hand and plenty of water. Many people find that healthy foods sit better than unhealthy ones during a trip. Sometimes, the trip leads you to “getting well” from the shamanic perspective. Of course, do not make yourself eat until the end of the trip unless you want to; nausea may still play a role.
8. Have a Goal But Be Open-minded to the Unexpected
Before eating magic mushrooms, think about what you want to get out of it and your intention for the trip. Having a purpose will help guide the wisdom, revelation, and information you receive. It is a great way of keeping your trip on track instead of having an overwhelmingly chaotic experience. Your intention can be anything you want, but many people keep it simple with a general spiritual intention like receiving wisdom. Other possible intentions include having fun, having a deep conversation, evaluating yourself honestly, or experiencing strong visuals.
Just keep in mind that your intention is not set in stone. Going back to the previously mentioned openness, you should be open to the unexpected during the trip, even if that takes you off the path of your original intention. Part of having an amazing magic mushroom trip is being open to unexpected reactions.
If your goal is to have some deep introspective thoughts and you remain in control of your trip, go ahead and follow that original intention, thinking about the issues you are experiencing. If you are not in control, just go with the flow and accept and ride through the trip. You will still get something out of it, even if it is not necessarily what you expected or planned for.
9. Talk to the Mushrooms
During your trip, take the time to talk and listen to the magic mushrooms. For the best experience, you should relate to the mushrooms as if they are a conscious entity instead of a drug. The Mazatec people of Mexico call the mushrooms “holy children,” and they consider them wise teachers, in addition to the mushrooms being holy medicine. It is common across shamanic traditions to believe that when you ingest a sacred plant, like the magic mushrooms, you create a life-long relationship with the plant as your teacher, with yourself in control of how deeply you engage with this teacher.
If you regularly take the time to talk to the mushrooms on your trips, you will start to form a relationship with them and get a spirit guide during your journeys.
As a bonus, talking to the mushrooms can help you overcome a bad trip or even avoid having a bad trip.
Other Tips and Information to Know
To supplement the above steps and get you on track to having an amazing trip, keep the following additional information and advice in mind.
What to Expect
If you have never taken magic mushrooms before, it is common to wonder what will happen during the trip and how it will feel. Remember that everyone reacts differently to magic mushrooms. That being said, you are likely to experience significant changes to your perception of reality. Some of the more common effects include your ego dissolving, spiritual or mystical experiences, euphoria or an elevated mood, creativity, enhanced sensitivity to external stimuli, and changing perceptions of your environment, yourself, and/or time.
Some of the potentially negative reactions can include paranoia, nausea, physical discomfort, disorientation, and fear.
Duration of the Trip
In most cases, the psilocybin in the magic mushrooms will continue its effects for between four and seven hours. Depending on the amount you consume, you may notice the effects for as long as six hours after your journey ends.
Consider Your Mental Health
Recent research is starting to show that magic mushrooms may help those with mental health issues when used in a controlled environment. However, without proper planning and guidance during the trip, it is possible for psilocybin to worsen mental disorders or even trigger psychotic episodes. Because of this, you should be particularly cautious if you have a history of mental health conditions in your family.
To have an amazing magic mushroom trip, you should take a low dose, find a safe environment, surround yourself with those you trust, be comfortable, have food and water on hand, and have an intention in mind but be open to new experiences. Doing all of these things should help reduce your chance of a bad trip and enhance the possibility of having a great one.