music sky mdma playlist

MDMA has long been known as a party drug but it’s effects have shown it to be an ideal tool for use in therapy. If you are planning a therapeutically oriented MDMA session and looking for a ready made playlist to use, this post contains links to two music playlists.

mdma effects therapy tool music playlists

Ben Sessa, speaking at Beyond Psychedelics 2018, explaining why MDMA is such a useful tool for therapy

Playlists:

1. Psychedelic Therapy Playlist 3 – Mendel Kaelen
2. Heart Playlist – Shannon Clare

Timeline and Dose

Similar to the psilocybin playlists, these have been designed to follow the arc of the drug’s effects. The music is more gentle at the beginning, then intensifies and becomes more evocative as the drug’s effects reach their peak. The music then winds down in sync with the drug, gently bringing the session to a close.

You will notice that these sessions are both over 5 hours, which is longer than the effects of a single dose of MDMA. That is because these playlists have been created to cover a session which includes a supplemental ‘booster’ dose. In most research studies, a full 125 mg dose of MDMA is taken at the start of the session, and then a booster dose of half that, 62.5 mg, is offered 1.5 to 2 hours later.

When I am doing an MDMA session, I will typically weigh out both the initial and booster dose before the start of the session. I make a note of the time of the first dose in my journey log, and set an alarm for 70 minutes later for the booster dose (I have personally found this to be the best timing for me). When the alarm goes off, I take a moment to check in with myself and make a decision on the booster. This timing extends the duration of the session by around an hour, without increasing the intensity. Due to the short length of MDMA’s effects, you might consider doing something similar.

Psychedelic Therapy Playlist 3 – Mendel Kaelen

  • Psychedelic Therapy Playlist 3: Spotify

Here is another one from Mendel Kaelen, who designed two psilocybin playlists for use at Imperial and now Usona. If you are especially interested in the role of music in psychedelic therapy and would like to learn more, I recommend keeping an eye on Mendel’s current project, Wavepaths, who are providing adaptive music for psychedelic therapy.

This playlist was originally created for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy studies at Bristol University, Imperial College London, and MAPS. It is a similar vibe to his psilocybin playlists, and even contains a few of the same tracks. I have not personally used it, as I generally prefer other styles of music with MDMA. However, a good friend of mine has and highly recommends. Also, knowing it’s from Mendel Kaelen, I’m sure it’s excellent.

Heart Playlist – Shannon Clare

Shannon Clare has been working in key roles in some of the most important modern day research involving MDMA. After graduating with a masters in Integral Counseling Psychology at CIIS, one of the leading institutes in psychedelic education today, she has worked a co-therapist in MAPS-sponsored clinical trials, researching MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with life-threatening illness. She has also served as the therapist training program coordinator at MAPS.

This playlist has a somewhat similar vibe to other modern therapy playlists, using similar styles of music, such as neo-classical, ambient, but also some more indigenous type music, including drumming and more traditional instruments such as flutes.

Shannon also has collections of music for various stages of a session in playlists on her spotify profile, such as Active, Returning, Inner Exploration, and Joy Peace. These can be very helpful if you’d like to make your own playlists. You can find more information about what role the music will play on the top of each’s spotify page. For example, the Active playlist contains ‘music that energizes or activates, may be evocative or stimulating, possibly triggering’.

As a bonus, Shannon also has a playlist called MDMA Mountain Magical Movement, which looks like a very fun one 🙂

I wish you wonderful journeys!

Music is such an integral part to the setting of an experience, so finding a good playlist is an important part of preparing. If you have any other playlists, please get in contact, I am always on the hunt for more!

Best of luck in your sessions!

mushrooms how often should i trip psilocybin

‘How often should I take psychedelics?’

This is a question I am often asked. And of course, there is no single right answer. So instead of trying to give one, I’ll share my thoughts on the topic.

What is the right amount?

You can’t really put a number such as ‘x times per year or month’ and say ‘that’s the right amount’, because it totally depends on the person and their circumstances. It’s like asking ‘what’s the right dose?’. It can’t simply be answered in any meaningful way. It depends.

It depends on you, your intentions, and your current circumstances. Why are you taking psychedelics? Where are you at in your journey, and where do you want to go next?

If using psychedelics for recreation or leisure, it’s like asking ‘how often should I watch a movie?’. With the intention of using psychedelics for healing or growth, there still isn’t a set answer. For many people, it seems like once or twice a year is enough to gain valuable insights and allow time in between to integrate the lessons. For others, a more frequent pattern may be most beneficial. I’ve also heard of people saying that once in their lifetime was enough.

Frequency varies depending on culture

There is a variety of frequencies in different cultures and types of use around the world. This ranges from modern clinical use to more traditional shamanistic use.

Within the field of modern research and clinical trials, there is variation. In a study with people who suffered treatment resistant depression at Imperial College London, participants received two doses a week apart. From just two doses, most participants saw statistically significant improvement in their wellbeing. That said, many patients saw depressive symptoms beginning to return after six months, so it seems they could’ve benefitted from another session or two around this mark.

In various smoking cessation studies at Johns Hopkins University there have been between one and three doses given. People have successfully quit with one session, whilst others had three. It is noteable that quit rates were higher for people who had more than one than one session.

With shaman of various Amazonian traditions, people drink ayahuasca on multiple consecutive nights, or on alternating nights. So it might be three or four nights of drinking ayahuasca in a row, or six nights of drinking over twelve nights total. There are also variations between. In some religious communities or churches that use psychedelic plants, groups drink monthly or weekly.

Philosophy professor Christopher Bache did 73 high dose sessions over 20 years, and as far as I know, no one in the psychedelic community has said it’s too much. In fact, he is seen by many as a courageous explorer and his work an incredible contribution to the field. He is a special case and was extremely conscientious in his use, I should add.

This variety shows that there is not really any standard which could be said ‘this is the right way’.

Can you take psychedelics too often?

When I would say taking psychedelics is too much is, the same as any other activity, when it starts interfering with one’s life in a negative way. When the downsides outweigh the upsides.

Gabor Mate’s view of an addiction can be useful here:

A behaviour which provides temporary pleasure or relief in the short term but has negative outcomes in the long term.

For some, psychedelics might be used as an escape from reality, or to avoid dealing with one’s problems. This can be known as spiritual bypassing. If one is re-entering journey space before or instead of integrating the lessons from the last journey, this could be seen as too soon.

However, I’d say that one’s problems can be shoved back in one’s face on a journey, so it’s not always an easy escape. In fact, for that reason, not taking psychedelics could be seen as an escape.

Is there a minimum frequency?

No one can say that someone should be taking psychedelics at least x amount of times per month or year. Although with medicalisation on the way, perhaps doctors or pharmacists will in fact be prescribing them in this way.

‘Go for three psilocybin journeys per month over the next 12 months and then we’ll meet back and reassess your treatment plan. If you feel you need a recalibration of your dose just give me a call and we’ll set up another consultation.”

I can see it already. But anyway, I digress.

Psychedelics can show us things that we are afraid to see and therefore unconsciously avoiding. Avoidance is no long term tactic to resolution, so for those that psychedelics have shown to be a useful tool for inner exploration and therapeutic shadow work, then there could be cases where it could be argued that someone should take them more often than they currently are.

The best amount and frequency is one that will bring the most healing over the long term. Knowing exactly what that is is difficult. We like to have answers or steady plans we can follow, but in the case of psychedelics, it can’t be pinned down as such. It needs our own continued consideration and adjustment, as well as our honesty. It also depends on the doses we are taking.

When should I pick up the phone again?

You’ve probably heard the Alan Watts quote, ’When you get the message, hang up the phone’. This has been commonly interpreted to mean ‘don’t trip too often’. Once you have some useful information, act on it before seeking more. What I would add to that is, feel free to pick up the phone again to get a reminder of the message.

Oftentimes a psychedelic journey will make absolutely clear an insight to be acted on. Good progress can be made on integrating that insight in the weeks directly after whilst the insight is fresh. As time passes, however, the clarity and raw obviousness of that insight may fade. And though the insight may not have been 100% integrated yet, touching back in with ourselves on a journey can be a refreshing reminder. If meaningful change has been made, space will have been cleared in our psyche for other useful messages, insights, and ideas to pour in. Integration is a life long journey and our lives are imperfect, so aiming to have integration of an experience totally complete before journeying again can be unrealistic.

The common interpretation of Watts’ quote also doesn’t consider the question of what ‘the message’ is, or if there are different levels of understanding the message. Or even, if there are multiple messages to be received.

 

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Final Thoughts

I see the advice that ‘one should not journey too often’ commonly put out there, yet most of the people I know in the psychedelic community have ample experience and have journeyed dozens of times themselves.

In general I think there are many people could stand to benefit from more psychedelics sessions, rather than fewer. This is almost something of a faux-pas to say these days, but it’s what I believe, so I’m saying it. That is why the thoughts I have shared here have leaned towards illustrating this viewpoint, and not going into the dangers of overuse, which of course absolutely do exist. I should also make clear that I am talking about respectful, intentional, and careful use, done with the intention of learning or growth. And also that if insights are revealed, one should invest ample time and energy in to integrating them as best they can.

If we consider psychedelics to be teachers that allow us to access wisdom, what is wrong with visiting that teacher? Sure, you do not want to spend your whole life with that teacher, never stepping out of the classroom to practice your lessons. But likewise, you’d want to attend lessons to make the most of the wisdom they have to offer.

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This post was day 20 of PSYJuly 2021.

Food Suggestions for Before, During, and After Psychedelic Sessions

‘What should I eat before my trip?’

This is a common question I get asked by people planning their psychedelic sessions. In this post I will give my recommendations. As a bonus, I will also include suggestions for during and after the trip.

Pre-psychedelic session meal

I recommend eating a light, healthy breakfast about three hours before the start of a day time session. At least two hours. A green smoothie or a bowl of oats with seeds and fresh fruit are both good options. I think it’s good to be hungry by the time the session starts. That hunger will disappear during the trip for most people, and return later on. 

The aim is to not have any food digesting in your stomach. Firstly, it’s better if your body isn’t expending any energy on the digestive process during the onset. Secondly, the feelings of digestion can be heightened and this can be uncomfortable. It can also contribute to feelings of nausea.

The best pre-session food does vary for different people, but I’ve found the empty-stomach-but-not-starving approach to work well for most people. If doing a session later in the day, I recommend having the same period of two-three hours without food before dosing. 

 

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Session food

For most people, hunger disappears entirely during the session. It may begin to return in the later stages after the peak, so it can be good to have some snacks ready. Hand food like fruit and nuts are good for this purpose. They are easy to handle and eat, ideal for grabbing a bite. I don’t really recommend eating much during an inner journey style session as it brings attention to the outer world. That said, it’s fine on a short break, or if the hunger is becoming distracting and actually a hindrance to the purpose of the session. 

After the session

After a long journey some people do not experience much hunger at all and can barely eat. Others return ravenous, and enjoy eating a substantial meal. Others still, like myself, do not feel hungry or find the thought of food particularly appealing, but as soon as they take a bite, they realise that they are actually really hungry and enjoy eating a good meal. Bear this in mind and if you don’t feel hungry, consider trying a small amount.

I recommend having something healthy, hearty and wholesome ready to eat afterwards. You can prepare something before the session day that can be easily heated up on the stove or in the microwave when you’re ready to eat. This ensures minimum fuss in the kitchen after your session when you might still be feeling some of the after effects. Good options include a vegetable stew or curry because they often taste better after having been left to sit for a day 🙂 Including potatoes or bread can help bring a grounding, comforting element to the meal.

I recommend vegetarian or plant based dishes because if you have any kind of conscience around animal products, this can be magnified under the influence of psychedelics. You might well find that food very unappealing.

Food in the run up to a trip

Leading up to the trip, and at least for the day directly before, I again recommend eating light and healthy. Avoid any particularly greasy or spicy food the day before. You want a settled stomach for the big day. A friend of mine once had a really spicy curry the evening before a session and had a few more ‘spicy’ trips to the bathroom during the day than he would’ve liked. For the same reason, and also to ensure a good night’s rest, I recommend avoiding alcohol the day before, ideally for a week leading up to the session.

Any difference for psilocybin or LSD?

My advice is the same for both LSD and psilocybin because most of the same still applies. Nausea is more commonly experienced on psilocybin so might be of greater importance, but it can also be experienced on LSD (and 2-CB), especially in the early stages of higher dose journeys. Like a flight, there can be turbulence on the way up. The best you can do is try to weather the storm, surrender, and remember that it will pass.

Ginger

It can be useful to have some raw ginger to chew on. The ginger is anti-nausea, and having something to chew on can also be comforting. If eating mushrooms, this can also help to cover the flavour which in itself makes some people gag. Another option is to drink a nice strong brew of ginger tea before hand so it’s already in your system when you take off. One thing to bear in mind is to not drink too much, as this can lead to multiple trips to the bathroom.

For more tips, read how to avoid nausea when taking psilocybin.

Food in the days and weeks afterwards 

After the journey, listen to your body.

‘Listen to my body? What does that even mean?!’.

I’ve thought the same thing myself before. If it sounds strange, I invite you to just try it. Before deciding on what to eat or buy from the supermarket, take a moment to tune in to how you feel in your body. See if anything comes up. You can even ask: ‘what food would you like to receive?’ or ‘what would you like to be nourished with?’. This tuning in to your body is a good integration practice in general and also useful for embodying emotions and feelings that surface in the days, weeks, and months afterwards. 

Try to follow a healthy diet but not to the point where it becomes stressful to maintain. It’s important to remember that happiness is important to health too, so treat yourself to nicer, and sometimes more celebratory meals too. Practicing mindful eating, to savour each mouthful, can make these types of indulgences more enjoyable, and the need for them less frequent too. Also, sometimes a heavier, more substantial meal might be helpful if you are feeling a bit ungrounded.

Improving your diet can be seen as a long game in the part of improving physical health, so take care and be mindful if making big changes that might shock your system or be hard to maintain.

Final Thoughts

Of course, as with anything, the best diet before, during and after your trip will depend on the person. If you haven’t yet found a personalised approach that works for you, I recommend starting a drug journal and collecting your own data. You can make a few simple notes after each session so you have them in one place for future reference. Until then, I believe this advice will serve you well as a solid starting point.

Thank you and safe journeys!

 

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mountain nature

Hello and welcome back for day two of PSYJuly! So, we are well and truly in the midst of a psychedelic renaissance, boom, even. How do we each go about navigating this chapter in human history? Today we have Leia Friedman with a step by step guide…

How to Survive the Psychedelic Renaissance

What will they say about this moment in time 25 years down the road? 100 years? 1,000 years? Will humanity survive for that long?

Clinical trials of psychedelic therapies show promising results. Public approval of and interest in psychedelics increases by the day. More and more jurisdictions have decriminalized psychedelics, some even all drugs. Venture capital pours into the psychedelic field. 

Meanwhile, indigenous peoples face violence and a legacy of threat to their way of life from globalization, colonialism, extractive industries, climate change and more. The American public remains divided on issues of identity, equity, access and oppression. The number of suicides may match the rates we saw at the height of the Great Depression. The pandemic made it abundantly more clear that distribution of power in our human race is grossly disproportionate. Climate change charges forward, yet there is little sense of urgency to address it. 

How can we embody the psychedelic values of oneness, exploration, connection and interdependence as this psychedelic renaissance unfolds? 

From a political, social, ecological and psychological (OK, psychedological) lens, I offer some tips and prompts to help psychedelic activists, therapists, enthusiasts, researchers, and beyond as we traverse this uncharted territory. 

  • Practice nonviolent communication

Nonviolent communication (NVC) is a technique that can help us embody self-connection, honest expression, empathic presence, self-empathy, and awareness of/right use of power. Learn more about the theory here, and a foundation of the practice here

  • Do your own healing work

“We have to be called into our own healing sometimes. We have to be called out into the desert, to the wilderness, to do the work on behalf of others.”

In a podcast conversation on Finding Our Way, Lama Rod Owens, Buddhist teacher, author and activist, shares his concerns about healers not doing their own work. He quotes Whitney Houston: “show me the receipts.”

Lama Rod continues: “There are a lot of us who don’t have receipts. Who are trying to put our hands on people and heal them when in fact we’re the ones who need to be healed. It’s nothing more than a perpetuation of violence and trauma on the bodies around us.” 

Indeed, we can do more harm if we try to heal others when we ourselves have not done our own work. It can be an ongoing process, an upward spiral; invest in your own healing, especially if your intention is to help others on their healing journey.

  • Learn about and engage in accountability

Accountability is the responsibility that we each have over our own behavior, especially behavior that impacts others around us and in our community. 

Although psychedelics are regarded as having tremendous healing potential, psychedelic communities are not immune to consent violations, interpersonal and systemic harm and abuse. 

A transformative justice facilitator once told me, “we don’t hold people accountable. People get to be accountable.” It is a privilege to have the opportunity to look at our harmful behaviors and get the support needed to change, even to repair harms what we have participated in in the past. 

Before we can actually hold people accountable (or give them the chance to be accountable) in our communities and on a wider level, we need plenty of practice with accountability in our own social circles and with our trusted loved ones. 

  • Connect with nature

Have you ever taken a trip and felt the planet supporting you? Or looked at a tree and watched the leaves shimmer, felt the trunk breathing, heard the gentle hum of water moving up the roots and spreading through the branches? Nature is all around us, giving life to us, sustaining us, teaching us about ourselves. Studies (like this one and this one) have shown that psychedelics can increase our nature relatedness. This is so incredibly important, especially now as the consequences of human activity run the risk of destroying the delicate ecosystem on our spaceship, mother earth.

Side note: a carpenter ant crawled up my arm just as I finished writing this paragraph. 🙂

  • Connect with yourself

Modern society seems determined to disconnect us from ourselves. Taking time and space to connect with yourself and nurturing the connection between your body, mind and spirit is a revolutionary act. 

A guideline that I try to live by is that I am responsible for my own emotions, needs, boundaries and desires. (Side note.. It is challenging AF to actually do this). In order to uphold this commitment, I need to prioritize connecting with myself enough that I can be aware of those things and advocate for them appropriately.  

  • Know where you come from

If you have little or no connection or awareness of your ancestors, know that we all have roots that were once deeply intertwined with land and tradition. 

Through the colonization of ancient Europe over the last 2,000 years, my ancestors were separated from their traditional ways of being. Millions of “witches” were burned for working with the healing power of plants. I believe that some of my relations (and their knowledge of plant healing ways) perished in those fires. 

Rather than communing with nature, the cosmos, and the spirit and tradition of my people, I prayed to the gods of media, capitalism and superficial beauty standards for the first 24 years of my life, until I began working with psychedelics.

Studying permaculture, engaging in my own anti-racism and anti-oppression work, and sitting in tender presence with the fragility that still arises in me sometimes has been part of my process of finding belonging. Psychedelics and psychedelic community has taught me that it is never too late to come back to who I am and where I come from. It is a painful and intimidating process, but worthwhile. 

If you, too, are disconnected from your lineage, I invite you to embark on the psychedelic journey of looking back to find your roots. You may also want to explore the idea of tending to your relationship with your ancestors. 

  • Listen to, support and co-conspire with indigenous people

Many psychedelic plant medicines have been stewarded by indigenous cultures for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. I offer thanks to the wisdom keepers, the water protectors and the healers. 

Have these peoples consented to the widespread use and commodification of their sacred traditions? Will the money being generated by this psychedelic gold rush actually end up back in the hands of those who we have to thank for these medicines? Can the psychedelic renaissance stop the spread of colonization and the devastation of people, land, wisdom and culture that comes with it?

I don’t know about you, but I went through 13 years of public education, 4 years of undergraduate education at a state school and 2 years of grad school and I never once learned about the genocide of indigenous people on this continent. Colonization wasn’t a word in my vocabulary until I deliberately sought to learn about it. 

Psychedelic communities must talk about colonization. Equally as important, recognize that decolonization can only be done in collaboration and alliance with indigenous peoples. Our groups, conferences, and organizations should become accurately informed about the true history of the plant medicines and the people that they come from, and committed to justice and equity as we move forward. 

If you don’t already know, learn about the land you are on because sure enough, it once was stewarded by peoples who may still be struggling for their autonomy and continued existence amidst increasing deforestation, development and destruction of the land and their ways of life. It will probably be painful to recognize the reality if you don’t see it already, so be sure to tend to your own body and nervous system as you learn how to be a better ally and co-conspirator. 

And please, listen to indigenous people. 

  • Recognize that all of these issues, including our personal traumas, can be traced back to capitalism

I believe it to be true, and I don’t have the capacity to unpack it all here. But I will say this..

If you are free, if you have access to resources, if you were born into a body that this society confers certain privileges to, let’s use that to help usher in a new era of collective liberation and healing. 

Kai Cheng Thom writes,

“I think the major difference between a social justice and a white/colonial lens on trauma is the assumption that trauma recovery is the reclamation of safety—that safety is a resource that is simply ‘out there’ for the taking and all we need to do is work hard enough at therapy. 

“I was once at a training seminar in Toronto led by a famous & beloved somatic psychologist. She spoke brilliantly. I asked her how healing from trauma was possible for people for whom violence & danger are part of everyday life. She said it was not.

“Colonial psychology & psychiatry reveal their allegiance to the status quo in their approach to trauma: that resourcing must come from within oneself rather than from the collective. That trauma recovery is feeling safe in society, when in fact society is the source of trauma.”

How much longer can we operate under this lie that if we just work hard enough, we’ll be safe, healed, and whole? In the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “no one is free until we are all free.” Let’s embody this truth in our healing work, our organizing, and our actions.

I am a queer, white, jew-ish, middle class, college-educated cis-woman with US citizenship. I can use the privileges that I have to protect others and fight to change the conditions under which such gross inequity currently exists in our society. I can put my body on the line and use my voice to advocate for access to psychedelic therapies for people belonging to historically marginalized identities. 

Reciprocity in the Quechua language is Ayni, meaning “today for you, tomorrow for me.” In the spirit of ayni, perhaps you can support the roots of the psychedelic movement. You may be in a position to offer financial support, especially to BIPOC-led projects and organizations, and those that have meaningful relationships with indigenous and traditional plant medicine communities. Let’s stand in solidarity through activism and advocacy, not charity or pity. Check out this list of foundations and initiatives that are engaging in sacred reciprocity.

Conclusion

This blog post isn’t about how you can survive the psychedelic renaissance. It’s about how we, as one human family, can survive and thrive, together in balance with the rest of the planet. 

The more that I do this work, the more I feel my ancestors encouraging me and guiding me in the directions of my own continued healing, and toward that fulfilling the dream of a collective liberation and belonging for all beings. 

May we thank the plants, animals, and fungi, and give back their right to take up space and thrive. 

May we all put our efforts toward achieving balance again. 

May we look within ourselves and find belonging. 

May we look at each other and see common humanity in the shared struggles, hope and dreams reflected back to us. 

May we contribute to a culture of freedom, agency and reciprocity, where all people can access nourishing food, clean water, good medicine, and room to grow, play and explore. 

May we all vision and manifest the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. 

May all the beings in all the world be happy, peaceful and free. 

About Leia

Leia Friedman loves to connect the dots as a teacher, writer, and permaculturist. Born and raised in Lowell, MA, Leia obtained her master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Rivier University and worked as an in home therapist before psychedelics turned her world inside out. She is now a psychedelic integration facilitator, a student in psychedelic somatic interactional psychotherapy (PSIP), a trainee in restorative and transformative approaches to conflict, a budding herbalist, and the host of a podcast called The Psychedologist: consciousness positive radio. Leia holds her permaculture design certificate from Starhawk’s Earth Activist Training, a program that emphasizes social permaculture and spirituality in regenerative land care. Leia has written for Wiley Encyclopedia, Psymposia, Lucid News, Psychable and DoubleBlind on topics relating to consciousness through the lens of social and environmental justice. You can find her teetering on a slack line in Costa Rica, up to her elbows in dirt from working in the garden, or nose in her laptop, grading papers for her psychology students.
nausea psilocybin peppermint

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.

twitter shrooms

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…

Tea

Making a brew seems to be a good option. Here’s a quick step-by-step:

  1. Crush or grind your dose of mushrooms or truffles put them in a mug or other container.
  2. Bring water to boil.
  3. 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.
  4. Give it a good stir and let it infuse for for 10 minutes. Periodically stir it to get those juices flowing.
  5. Add honey or a sweetener if you’d like to sweeten it.
  6. 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.

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Lemon Tek

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:

  1. Crush or grind your mushrooms well and put in a glass or bowl. The more crushed up, the better.
  2. Cover your dose with freshly squeezed lemon juice, enough to cover them, so they’re bathing in it.
  3. Let sit for 20-25 minutes (not longer), stirring every 5 minutes.
  4. 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.

Ginger!

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.

Peppermint

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.”
– @DitchTheEgo

Marijuana

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”
– @tylerfarnworth

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)”
@flakyfarseer

Acclimate through microdosing

It was also suggested to allow the body to acclimate to psilocybin by microdosing in the run-up to the trip.

Tomato Paste

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.

 

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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.

The practice of keeping a drug log is something I keep coming back to so I will probably write a more in-depth article at some point soon (update: I did it). In the meantime, you can find more in my articles on dose and nerdy drug taking.

Happy dosing!

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