How To Avoid Nausea When Taking Psilocybin
A reader recently reached out to me and asked about dealing with nausea from psilocybin. This is a common issue with shrooms so in an effort to find out more, I put it out there to the psychedelic Twitter community.
With the help of a retweet from The Daily Shroom I received a wide variety of answers. In this blog post I summarise them for other users…
Making a brew seems to be a good option. Here’s a quick step-by-step:
- Crush or grind your dose of mushrooms or truffles put them in a mug or other container.
- Bring water to boil.
- Pour hot water over your dose. You can add some fresh herbs, ginger or another type of tea for flavour. Ginger can help to lessen any nausea.
- Give it a good stir and let it infuse for for 10 minutes. Periodically stir it to get those juices flowing.
- Add honey or a sweetener if you’d like to sweeten it.
- Drink your tea! To be sure you get 100% of your dose, either do another round of hot water or eat up the mushies or truffles left in the bottom of your mug. If nausea if your concern, strain out the pieces and only consume the liquid.
This method breaks down the psilocybin to psilocin before entering the digestive system and apparently there’s some research which shows this helps with nausea.
To lemon tek:
- Crush or grind your mushrooms well and put in a glass or bowl. The more crushed up, the better.
- Cover your dose with freshly squeezed lemon juice, enough to cover them, so they’re bathing in it.
- Let sit for 20-25 minutes (not longer), stirring every 5 minutes.
- Drink the whole mix. You might like to mix it with a tea beforehand, to improve the taste.
It has been claimed that the ‘lemon tek’ method will make your trip come on faster and harder. I can’t neither confirm nor deny this claim, but I will say that the lemon flavour helps to mask the taste of the shrooms.
Lemon Essential Oil
On the citrus note, one of the members of The Conscious Psychedelic Explorer course has found luck with lemon oil:
“Out of everything I’ve tried so far, lemon essential oil (in a gel capsule) seems to work best for me at preventing nausea. Should also work with any other serotonergic substance, as it contains Beta-Pinene, which is a 5-HT3 antagonist.”
Take on an empty stomach
This is a technique that I personally use, though admittedly I do still sometimes have some nausea. It was a widespread answer on the Twitter thread so there must be something to it. It makes sense that if your body is not having to digest food then you’re not gonna have those stomach grumblings to be sensitive to during your trip.
Take with food
Interestingly many people advised taking food with the shrooms, or eating food shortly after.
This could be to mask the taste of the shrooms or to somehow settle the stomach in another way. Chocolate was a common recommendation, as was honey. A few people shared eating something fatty helps, like coconut oil, peanut butter or greasy chips, and a couple of people said they swear by this method.
Clean up your diet
This is something which can be done on the long term and also on the short term. On the short term this can mean eating very clean the day before or the week leading up to your trip. You might like to check out my post: food suggestions for before, during, and after psychedelic sessions
I do suspect, though I have no strong evidence for it, that cleaning up your diet generally and improving that aspect of your physical health will lead to a decrease in the experience of nausea from psilocybin. Consider what eating a clean diet means to you. Thinking about how to improve that aspect of your physical health might be a little ongoing side project for you that will aid your psychedelic journeys.
This was the most common reply and was something we also used on the New Moon Psychedelic Retreats. It seems that fresh ginger is the best and most effective. Chewing on raw ginger can also help to mask the taste and having something soft like that to bite on can be good when dealing with strong waves of nausea. Other options include tea, high-quality extract, and capsules.
I have never tried this but it makes sense as peppermint is known to relax the digestive system. Most people recommended a peppermint tea but it was also suggested to use essential oil:
“Rub some peppermint essential oils on your hands and inhale and exhale slowly, […] breathe in the smell.”
This one was competing with ginger for the most common reply. This is one I have used to excellent effect with San Pedro, where there can be very strong nausea. However, I have never used it with psilocybin. The Twitter thread shows that this is a widespread method for many people. One thing I’d mention is that you want to consider how the effect of marijuana is going to affect your trip. The psychoactive effect is a reason why I personally don’t use weed with psilocybin. Someone did mention CBD, so that might be a way of utilising the soothing effect of the marijuana plant without the psychoactive effect.
Grind and encapsulate
Drying and grinding is something I do. To me it just makes sense that having part of the breaking up of the matter itself already done makes it easier for the body to handle. More than one person mentioned the efficacy of encapsulating powder.
“Grind them into dust with a coffee grinder. Get gel cap stuffing tools and 000 gel caps. Filling a 000 cap as much as you can stuff it is within .05 of a half gram. I hate whole ones and have never had nausea issues this way”
If eating, try chewing very well before swallowing. The saliva can already begin the process of digestion and as with any food, chewing well helps aid digestion.
Breathing and stillness
Lying down, remaining still, breathing, relaxing into and accepting your current experience is always a good way of dealing with any unpleasant feelings that just won’t go away, nausea or otherwise. Acceptance.
Consider a synthetic alternative
You might consider switching to a psilocybin pro drug like 4-AcO-DMT. A couple of users said they swear by this so it might be worth a shot.
“I recommend try switching to one of the psilocin prodrugs such as 4-AcO-DMT. I actually prefer using 4-AcO than shrooms since dosage and potency is much more consistent, and it doesn’t make me nauseous at all (none of the toxins contained in normal shrooms)”
Acclimate through microdosing
It was also suggested to allow the body to acclimate to psilocybin by microdosing in the run-up to the trip.
This is another one that came from one of the founding members of The Conscious Psychedelic Explorer. The theory here is chitin (a fibrous substance found in mushrooms) causes inflammation, which can cause issues in the lower bowel or gut, and this can result in discomfort. Tomato paste contains chitinase which counters these effects by dissolving or digesting the chitin.
This journeyer noted that, whilst they used to experience discomfort…
“…I have not had any issues since I started adding the tomato paste.”
Here is their method, a mix of tea and paste:
“It is basically lemon tea plus tomato paste. I soak the ground up mushrooms in lemon juice (enough to wet the mixture – about a 1/4 lemon) and a dab of tomato paste (1/3 – 1/2 tsp). I let that sit for about ten minutes before steeping in hot water for another 10 – 15. I then make my tea adding honey and ginger to mask the awful taste….
Anti sickness medication
This is not one I would personally recommend. However, I will include it in the interest of brevity as it was mentioned by a few people. Names that were thrown up were Zofran and Dramamine.
Experiment, Document, Personalise
When it comes to taking psychedelics, I encourage all users to experiment and find their own personalised approach. There is no one-size-fits-all. We are all different and different approaches will suit different people.
I recommend keeping a drug journal or log and trying different methods and taking notes. In regards to nausea, you can note how you served your dose, what you ate and when you ate it relative to your dose, and how your experience of nausea was. Eventually, you will find what works for you and have your own personalised approach.
You can also find more in my articles on dose and nerdy drug taking.