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 more from Michelle Janikian via Double Blind:
How to Make Shroom Tea: The Ultimate Mushroom Tea Guide
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. Here’s another guide from those legends at Double Blind here.
Lemon Essential Oil
On the citrus note, one of the members of the R/EVOLUTION 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.
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 R/EVOLUTION. 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.
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.