While going on a psychedelic trip can be fun and enlightening, there are certain things that could drastically change the tone of it. Practicing good harm reduction skills can prevent your trip from going south and will maximize your enjoyment.
Psychedelic trips can be fun, but it is important to know about certain things that could change their tone. Even if you are experienced with psychedelics, it isn’t uncommon for a trip to turn south after a seemingly inconsequential action. It is best to do your due diligence and be as prepared as you can be, in order to maximize your trip’s enjoyment. Whether you are tripping on acid, mushrooms, DMT, mescaline, or any other psychedelic, we have compiled a list of things that are either best to avoid or should be approached with caution while tripping. Follow good harm reduction practices and have a safe trip!
1. Don't Neglect Proper Research:
Embarking on a psychedelic journey without sufficient knowledge is unwise. What to avoid while tripping? Psychedelic ignorance. Educate yourself about the substance you plan to use, its effects, duration, potential risks, and recommended dosage. Understanding what to expect and being prepared will help you navigate the experience more confidently. Going on a psychedelic trip without proper preparation can lead to a bad experience. Be aware of what to expect during a trip to maximize your benefits.
2. Don't Rush into It:
Psychedelics demand careful consideration and the right set and setting. What to avoid while tripping should be the impulsive decision of tripping without preparing and ensure you are in a stable mental and emotional state before trying them. Rushing into a psychedelic experience without proper mental preparation can lead to overwhelming and challenging trips. Not only that, but make sure your environment is conducive to tripping, too. Proper set and setting are one of the most important parts of a psychedelic trip. If you rush or ignore these two things, you are asking for a hard time. Prepare your space before you trip, set out water and light snacks, and place yourself in a good mental headspace. It is better to wait than to rush a psychedelic trip.
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3. Don't Resist or Control the Experience:
Psychedelic experiences can be intense and profound, and attempting to resist or control them can lead to increased anxiety and discomfort. Embrace the journey with an open mind and surrender to the unfolding experience. Trust the process and allow yourself to explore the insights and emotions that arise. The more you try to control a trip, the higher chance it has of becoming challenging or a bad trip. An important part of going on a psychedelic trip is learning how to relinquish control; there are certain things you cannot control, so just let the trip happen. If you are in the middle of a bad trip, leaning into it and going along on that ride can actually help you get out of it. The best way to approach a psychedelic trip is by pretending you are floating down a river. Let the river guide you. Even if it feels like you are approaching a cascade, it’s ok to fall down it. You will always make it out the other end fine during a trip – just continue floating down that river and let go of control.
4. Avoid Uncontrolled Environments:
When taking any psychedelic, it is vital to choose your environment wisely. Another thing of what to avoid while tripping are uncontrolled or unfamiliar settings where unexpected situations or challenges may arise. Chaotic or crowded spaces can amplify feelings of anxiety or confusion, potentially leading to a negative or overwhelming trip. Opt for a calm, safe, and comfortable space where you feel at ease and have control over your surroundings. If you are going to plan to trip at a crowded space, ensure you have a good mindset and proper intentions set. Be with a trusted person who can take care of you or can deescalate a situation if it gets overwhelming.
A common crowded place where people take psychedelics at is music festivals. Tripping at a music festival can be fun, but it should be avoided if inexperienced. Being in this environment poses a couple of risks that you should be aware about. First, the unfamiliar setting may disorient you and can cause you to have anxiety if you get lost. Make sure that you are not tripping alone, in case you need a friend’s help. Stay with your group and make sure you employ some sort of buddy system or set a location where everyone can meet in the event that the group splits up or someone gets lost. Additionally, ensure you are properly hydrating throughout the day. A music festival can be an extremely hot environment, and it only gets hotter being surrounded by sweaty people. This, combined with the sweating you’ll be doing from dancing, can make you extremely dehydrated. Also, the time distortions that occur while tripping can make it hard to remember when the last time you drank water was, so always remember to carry some water with you and sip throughout the day. If you are feeling lightheaded and faint, locate the first aid tent at the festival grounds.
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5. Beginners, Do Not Trip Alone
For those new to psychedelics in general, it is strongly recommended to have a trusted friend or experienced trip sitter present. A trip sitter can provide reassurance, support, and guidance throughout the journey, helping to navigate potential challenges and ensure physical and emotional safety. Their presence can be invaluable in providing comfort and grounding during intense or disorienting moments. They do not have to be in the same room as you and could be in another room available to talk to if you begin to feel uncomfortable. Additionally, a trip can be unpredictable sometimes, so being alone can be frightening. Once you go on enough trips with someone and know what to expect, feel free to experiment with a solo trip after proper planning and precautions. But until then, it’s best to stick with a friend.
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6. Avoid Mixing with Other Substances:
Combining psychedelics with other substances, including alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs, should be avoided. Substances like alcohol, while at low risk of being unsafe mixed with certain psychedelics, can damper the trip and change the effects of psychedelics. Certain psychedelics can have dangerous reactions when mixed with other drugs. For example, combining acid with certain pain relievers like tramadol could have potentially dangerous side effects, such as heart problems.
Another drug that is often mixed with psychedelics is weed. Mixing these two amplifies the effects of the psychedelic and could prolong the effects of the peak and sometimes even cause the peak to return in waves during the comedown. Additionally, weed could amplify the physical side effects of a psychedelic, such as changes to body temperature, nausea, or increased heart rate. Weed can also make a psychedelic experience much stronger, so if you are not experienced with smoking while tripping, it is best to avoid it to prevent the trip from getting too overwhelming.
Be aware of all the types of effects that can arise from mixing psychedelics with other drugs. It is good to refer to a drug-drug interaction chart, if unsure, and always be properly educated on harm reduction practices. Since a psychedelic trip can be incredibly powerful and spiritual, it is best to take these drugs by themselves to respect the experience they bring.
7. Don't Drive or Operate Machinery:
Under no circumstances should anyone under the influence of any psychedelic attempt to drive a vehicle or operate heavy machinery.The altered state of consciousness induced by psychedelics can impair cognitive functioning, coordination, and reaction times, jeopardizing both your safety and that of others. It is imperative to prioritize responsible decision-making and plan transportation accordingly. Driving is definitely what to avoid while tripping.
Driving on psychedelics can be incredibly dangerous because of the hallucinations that occur while tripping, as well by the time distortions that can affect your reflexes and spatial awareness. If you take a psychedelic at a place you drove to, and decide midway to go home once the effects kick in, it is best to order a taxi, Uber, or call a friend to pick you up. Do not put your life or that of others at risk.
8. Avoid Confrontational or Stressful Situations:
During a psychedelic trip, emotions and perceptions can become highly intensified. What to avoid while tripping? Confrontational or emotionally charged situations that could potentially trigger distressing or negative experiences. Arguments, conflicts, or any form of stress should be minimized to create a supportive and harmonious environment conducive to a positive and transformative journey. Additionally, psychedelics can make you misconstrue what other people are saying, which can lead to arguments occurring over a misunderstanding. It’s best to avoid heated topics or conversations that can be twisted to sound like personal attacks.
Emotions can become highly intensified during a trip, so make sure the emotion that is being intensified is that of joy, calmness, and/or enjoyment rather than any negative one. The last thing you want is to be sad or mad while tripping and have those emotions intensify. Also, being exposed to any form of stress can cause the trip to turn sour and lead you down a spiral. When this happens, it can be hard to climb out of the spiral of rumination, which can lead to a bad trip. This goes hand-in-hand with the first tip of avoiding uncontrolled environments. Keep your vibe cool, calm, and collected, and ask others to do the same.
9. Don't Underestimate the Duration:
Some psychedelic trips can be whole-day commitments. While DMT trips are the shortest in duration clocking in at an average of 10 minutes, there are also drugs like acid and San Pedro cactus that can make a trip go well past the 12-hour mark, sometimes even 24 hours, in the case of the latter.
It is crucial to be aware of the duration and plan your day accordingly. Fully avoid scheduling any important commitments or responsibilities on the day you decide to trip, as the altered state of consciousness may affect your ability to handle them effectively. It is also recommended to take it easy the day after a trip, too, as you may be processing whatever you experienced, especially if it was a revelatory trip. Give yourself ample time to fully integrate the experience and rest afterward.
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10. Avoid Overstimulation:
Psychedelics enhances sensory perception, making individuals more sensitive to external stimuli. It is advisable to avoid overwhelming environments with bright lights, loud noises, or crowded spaces. Excessive stimulation can lead to sensory overload and increase feelings of anxiety or unease. Opt for soothing, calming environments that promote relaxation and tranquility. Even in calm environments like your home, you can get overwhelmed by the sound or colors of the television, your own music, or simply by the disorientation from the experience. If you begin to feel a sense of anxiety and unease, practice some deep breathing to oxygenate your brain and prevent the experience from getting out of hand. If possible, control the external stimuli to a manageable level, such as turning down the volume on the TV or of your music. Switching focus to a new activity can help with overstimulation by distracting your brain from what was causing the overstimulation. Take control of your environment during any psychedelic trip.
11. Don't forget to stay hydrated and nourished:
While tripping, it is easy to lose track of time and neglect basic self-care needs. Remember to drink water and eat light, nutritious snacks throughout the trip, especially if you took a psychedelic on an empty stomach. Maintaining proper hydration and nourishment will help you sustain your energy levels and support your overall well-being. If you took your psychedelic of choice on an empty stomach, especially if on a long-duration drug like acid, it is very advisable to eat a little snack during the trip. This can prevent feeling even more drained and exhausted by the end of the trip. Fresh fruit are a great light snack to eat while tripping – a personal favorite of mine are tangerines. If you are moving a lot while tripping, such as being in nature or dancing, definitely make it a priority to stay hydrated. It is good practice to keep a large water bottle nearby throughout your trip.
If you are tripping in nature, certain hiking places do not have any sort of water refill stations, so it is paramount to bring plenty of water. I speak from experience when I went hiking in Topanga Canyon in Los Angeles on acid with little to no water. It was my first time there, so I foolishly thought there would be water along the way (for whatever reason?). I hiked 7 miles and thought I was going to pass out, so…don’t be like me. Bring water.
11. Be Wary of Mirrors
Ok, this isn’t a particularly dangerous thing, but staring at a mirror can be really weird on psychedelics. The way a person is affected by a mirror can depend on their personality and if they have any self-esteem or body image problems, so be aware of that. A common visual effect of psychedelics, especially on acid and mushrooms, is for facial features to morph and look wonky, so looking at yourself in a mirror while tripping can be an eerie thing. Thus, this could be what to avoid while tripping.
You may see your face morph into younger and older versions of yourself, certain features may get highlighted, or you may hyper fixate on certain parts like your skin, eyes, imperfections, etc. If you deal with self-esteem issues or body dysmorphia, seeing a mirror may trigger these issues as you may see your body change sizes and shapes. It can be very easy to lose track of time when staring at a mirror, so be aware of that. Some people get stuck staring at themselves for long periods of time, which can cut your trip experience short. A personal anecdote that happened while I was on acid once was that the whole room around me began to disappear as I stared at the mirror. Only my face was left floating in white emptiness. This caused the trip to intensify and elevate the trip to a whole new high. This got me a little anxious, but I was able to take control of the situation before I spiraled and caused a bad trip. Thus, it can be possible that the hallucinations you see in a mirror could make you experience a stronger trip or even a bad trip, so approach your reflection with caution.
On the other hand, some people enjoy looking in a mirror while tripping and see it as just another weird, fun thing to do. They may hyperfocus on their eyes or the texture of their skin, but this does not affect their trip at all. You may find yourself wasting more time than you thought you would be staring at a mirror and nothing more. You could go in for a quick pee and come out 30 minutes later without realizing so much time had passed while you were staring at your face. So just approach a mirror knowing that it may either be a fun waste of time or an intense experience. It is not always bad, but just be aware why it is in our list of of what to avoid while tripping.
When embarking on a psychedelic trip, responsible and informed decision-making is paramount. By adhering to these guidelines on what to avoid while tripping, you can maximize your safety, comfort, and the potential for positive and transformative experiences. Remember to choose a controlled environment, have a trusted companion, and avoid mixing substances. By prioritizing safety and mindfulness, the journey into the depths of the psychedelic realm can be a profound and enlightening adventure.