Yesterday I posted three best practices for serious psychonauts. However, there was one key one that I left off because it deserves its own post. That is keeping a drug journal.
What is a Drug Journal?
A drug journal is a place to make a written record of all drug use. This includes key information of all ingestions, such as substance, dose, route of administration, and times taken. It also acts as something of a diary, and includes other things such as notes on subjective experience and musings of the mind. You can also include information such as company, the type of session, and the location.
Why Keep a Drug Journal?
We are all different. What works for one person and makes one person feel a certain way is not going to be the same for someone else.
Just as people keep food logs tracking everything they eat and making notes on how they feel after certain types of food, a drug log can be used in the same way. Keeping a personal drug journal is so useful because it allows the user to gain personalised data. It means we can refine and individualise our use.
There are many benefits to keeping a drug journal and many areas to gain valuable data for optimised personalised practice. Here are a few…
Types of ingestion
By keeping a drug journal, we can see how different types of ingestion affect us.
Making notes on different ways of ingesting psilocybin can help us find what helps with nausea. For some, it might be making tea. For others, using peppermint. If you are making a kratom smoothie, you can write down the ingredients you used. With some experimentation, over time you will find your favourite recipes. If taking MDMA, you can note down the last thing you ate before your initial dose and the time you ate it. You will notice how the time of onset varies from taking it shortly after a large meal or on an empty stomach.
You can try different methods of ingestion and find what works for you, finding and creating your own preferred methods over time.
Dose and Tolerance
What is a low dose for one person might well be a high dose for someone else. We all have different biological make ups and react in different ways. I’m sure you’ve been in a situation where one person has been really high, or drunk, and someone else has not been, even though they’ve had the same dose. This is because of individual differences which we all have. These may come from a variety of factors, such as diet, medication, body size, previous experience or genetic make up. Different bodies metabolize different substances in their own unique ways.
For example, five dried grams of magic mushrooms is known as a heroic dose. But for me it’s more of a medium dose. In general I’ve found that I have quite a high tolerance for most drugs which is funny because many people see me as someone able to smash down large quantities. Actually it’s just because I have a naturally high tolerance which I think is largely due to having a high metabolism, and otherwise I am actually quite a sensitive person. This type of individual variation occurs with all drugs.
Maintaining a written record can help track tolerance over time. This is useful as tolerance can change as we do. These changes may come from things like a change in diet or personality. As our personality changes, our relationship with certain substances and how we interact with them also develops. A drug journal gives us information on how certain doses affect each of us.
Having a written record of the times of ingestions is very useful if you are going to be taking boosters. Having the time written down is a very useful reference point to check before you take any additional doses.
It is well known that people often end up taking more edible marijuana than they really wanted because it takes a long time to kick in. Getting impatient, people redose before the effects from the first dose have begun to take effect. Then all of a sudden, whammy!
If you don’t make a note of the time then it can be anyone’s guess when the original dose was taken. This is especially true with drugs that affect perception of time. With times written down you have that reference point. You might see that ‘oh OK it was only 30 minutes ago we took the initial dose, let’s wait a full hour before taking any more’.
Making that decision of course depends on the time of onset for the substance in question and the route of administration. For example, oral onset is longer than intranasal, for ketamine and 2-CB. Having a written copy of various doses and times in the back of your journal is good practice.
Having the time written down can also be very helpful as a reassurance if you are having a difficult experience.
In this way your journal can act as something of a sitter. If it feels like the trip is going on and on, you can bear in mind that the effect will eventually wear off. You will be able to see exactly how far you are into the experience and how long you have left. There’s no question of how long ago you took the dose, wondering ‘was it 30 minutes, or three hours?’. The time that you took the dose remains objective and the numbers do not lie.
Raise Awareness of Use
Keeping a drug journal raises awareness of use. By logging every ingestion you are able to see exactly how many times you take a drug and how much you have taken of it. It can be useful to conduct a monthly review to keep an eye on use to keep an awareness of the frequency and quantity. When you have the information in front of you there’s no way around it. Again, numbers do not lie.
Keeping a drug journal is also just great fun. I really enjoy looking back through my journals from time to time because it shows me what was on my mind at various stages in my life. This ranges from issues in personal relationships to revolutionary plans to change the world. I also see lots of divergent thinking, creative ideas and fun explorations. In this way I’ve found it useful to nurture creative and divergent thinking.
Keeping a drug journal is how you go from being a drug user to a drug nerd. It has got to be the best practice I’ve ever adopted in terms of refining, developing, and improving my drug use. If we consider substances to be incredible tools, why not invest some time and energy into learning about how to best utilise them?