lsd shrooms psychedelics activities things to do

High doses are often seen as the ‘end goal’ of psychedelics.

Some psychonauts even have some level of pride around taking big doses. And while I certainly appreciate the benefits of a high-dose session, they are not the be-all and end-all of psychedelics.

Micro, mini and low doses-tiny to small amounts of psychedelics-can also bring a lot of value and benefit to our lives. It’s an area of psychedelics I’ve come to appreciate more over the last couple of years as I’ve expanded my repertoire beyond classic high-dose journeys.

Whilst high doses plunge us into deep journeys where it’s best to just lay back and take the ride, mini doses offer us the chance to explore activities and have other types of experiences.

Whether it’s psilocybin shrooms or LSD, in this mode, psychedelics can act as an enhancer, enriching and deepening our experience of other activities.

What type of activities? I’m glad you asked.

In this blog post, I will offer 6 types of activities that you may like to try with microdoses or mini-doses. We’ll look at nature connections, creative experiments, mindfulness, physical activities, learning, and social experiments. I’ll dive into each and offer you some ideas to help you get started. Then I’ll end with a couple of key considerations for your explorations.

And yes, I’ve tried them all!

As ever, I hope that this will help you to have more fruitful and beneficial psychedelic experiences.

Let’s get started…

1. Nature Connection

Time in nature has been shown to have many benefits on mental and emotional well-being. Adding a pinch of psychedelic to nature time is a classic combination for good reason: the benefits and enjoyment can be increased with a small dose.

The expanded awareness from a small dose can help us tune in more fully to our natural surroundings and deepen our appreciation of them. Connecting with fresh air and greenery can be rejuvenating and restorative. And something about nature can help us tune into the majesty of the natural world, the wonder of the universe, and the mystery of life. That sense of awe can be a key catalyst in positive psychedelic experiences.

The grandness and scale of nature can also help us to get a perspective on things. And, if we’re struggling with something about ourselves, in its unwavering presence, we can always rely on nature to fully accept us as we are.

You might explore parks, nature trails, national parks, or botanical gardens. If you’re heading out for the day, be sure to take the basic necessary precautions.

2. Creative Experiments

Engaging in creative endeavours or experiments can be an enjoyable activity whilst in a different state of awareness.

If you’re painting or working with crayons, you might have a deeper appreciation or joy at seeing how the colors fall onto the page, or how they mix together. I have loved seeing the ink spill from a pen and onto paper, seeing the lines appear before my eyes, like magic, to form an image.

If you’re a musician, you might like to experiment with your instrument.

Lower doses can be great for ideation, too. You might have new perspectives and insights bubbling up for your creative work. If you have a topic or project you’d like to expand your thinking or ideas on, take a pad and paper, and invite in any and all ideas. I’d recommend not to put a limit in this ideation stage: don’t judge your ideas, or put limits on them with voices like ‘that’s unrealistic’. Just allow your mind to explore.

You might try brainstorming under these loose topics:

Way to improve your social life/finances/health
Ideas for your next – song/poem/performance/drawing/piece of art/birthday gift

Your level of dose will affect the level of your ability to use specific tools, so take this into account. If writing is hard, you might dictate or speak directly to ChatGPT and ask it to summarize your thoughts for you.

If using paints or colours, just remember to take care of your setting so you don’t make too much of a mess.

3. Mindfulness Meditation

Why not combine psychedelics with another consciousness-expanding technology? I’m talking about meditation or breathwork.

A mini-dose can help us start at a slightly more expanded state to begin our meditation and may help to experience something deeper in our sit.

One study done in Switzerland, and documented in the great film Descending The Mountain, had long-term meditators take a dose of psilocybin and meditate in their monastery in the mountains. Their rates for peak experience were higher than in any other study! Though this study was done with high doses, I think it illustrates the potential of combining psychedelics with meditation.

Lower doses can also help us go deeper into other meditative practices like loving-kindness, tonglen, RAIN, or self-inquiry.

Breathwork can be used to intensify an experience, and has the added safety measure that you stop doing it if it’s getting too intense for you, and allow your experience to calm down again.

Take into account that it may be difficult to retain your focus whilst on a dose, so don’t be hard on yourself if you find it extremely hard and your mind keeps walking off.

4. Physical Activities

Of course, this comes with the usual caveat of being careful. But some physical activity with psychedelics can be a wonderful combo.

Yoga, much like meditation, is traditionally a spiritual discipline that can be paired with psychedelics. I once went to a yoga class on a mini-dose of LSD and it was a truly beautiful experience. I was incredibly present throughout the class with a great awareness of all my movements and breath. Even a few sun salutations can help to ground and become present.

You might also try tai chi. The wonderful flowing movements can help to loosen up, move energy, and find a greater sense of ease and peace. They can also help to tune into our bodies and breathing and enter a greater state of presence.

Depending on the person and the dose, psychedelics can also bring about increased levels of energy. Last year, I got quite into mini-dose runs. I take the dose and after 30-60 minutes, when I feel that surge of energy as it’s coming on, I lace up, put my headphones on, and head out. I’ve done 10-mile runs on LSD, feeling very present with running movements and flow of my breath. After a post-run bath and a lie-down, I’ve felt blissful in my body.

A mini-dose can increase awareness of the body and breath, and this can be utilized when considering any physical activity. Just remember that more complex movements may bring their own set of coordination challenges!

5. Learning and Study

Beyond using our bodies, what about our minds?

Reading philosophical or thought-provoking literature can be a great exercise on mild journeys. When exploring intellectual ideas, we may get new perspectives, a deeper understanding, or an enhanced contemplation of them. We may be open to a wider range of interpretations, seeing many ways to read the words. We might consider meanings on different levels; macro-micro, global-local, and societal-personal.

You might not read a whole treatise on ethics or society but just start with some great quotes. You can find some from your favourite philosophers or schools of thought. For example, the Buddha, Kierkegaard, or any intellectual you like.

You can also revisit some of your old favourite quotes. Reading and saying them out loud in an altered state of consciousness can help them enter your psyche more deeply.

Another way of taking in intellectual information is listening to podcasts. I sometimes like to combine a few of the ideas from this article and go for a long walk in a park with a good podcast. Podcasts you may enjoy could be around any topic. They could be dharma talks or interviews with spiritual teachers, conversations on creativity, personal growth, or any topic you’d like to explore more deeply.

6. Social Interaction

As humans, we are social creatures. Social interactions then, can also be worthy of experimentation.

Micro and mini-doses can help us to feel more connected to the people around us. This deepened connection can then act as something of a bridge to other people’s islands, enhancing our perspective-taking abilities, and helping us to see things from their vantage point.

You might try engaging in meaningful conversations with friends or loved ones. Conversations can become more than words. With the right dose and setting, they can even evolve into what feels more like a dance of souls, words penetrating a deeper level of interaction.

The psychedelic effects can help to heighten empathy and understanding during interactions. It can help to tune into and speak from the heart. This can help to deepen understanding and acceptance, and ultimately strengthen relationships and deepen bonds.

If you feel like trying something different and your company is into it, you might also try role-playing. You can play out imagined scenarios of certain interactions that one of you is nervous about, like a job interview or a difficult conversation that needs to be had. You might even try taking on the role of the person who will be opposite to you, to get insight into their headspace. I’ve done this a few times with a friend, and it’s been an enlightening (and fun!) experience every time.

Remember that when doing exploring social interactions on psychedelics, finding your own personalized and appropriate dose is important. As for some people, certain low doses may make them feel more agitated or irritated. Clearly, this won’t help to have an empathetic conversation!

If exploring this option in a one-sided format – with one person on a psychedelic and the other not – I’d suggest not doing it on the sly, but letting the other person know that you are on a psychedelic! That can help to keep a space open for understanding if the conversation becomes more challenging than anticipated, and the allowance of stepping away and taking a break.

With this in mind, it’s important to remember to be mindful of people’s boundaries and allow space when needed. Having a quiet room, or some agreements around the session can be helpful to create a safe space.

Considerations for Micro and Low-Dose Experiments

When considering your adventures in small doses, remember the importance of a safe and comfortable setting for you and any company you may have. This will vary for different people, so be honest with yourself and your company about what you are comfortable with and capable of. Some people may feel fine in public parks, for example, whereas others may find this setting to be uncomfortable. Some people may find talking to be easy, whereas others may find it very challenging.

If at home, create a conducive space for your experience. Try to create a clean environment and have any supplies you may need ready, like pens, colours, or instruments,

After your experiences, taking some time to reflect on them can be useful. You can highlight for yourself any key lessons or insights and make a plan to incorporate them into your daily life moving forward.

Final Thoughts

Exploring the realm of micro and mini doses of psychedelics can truly enrich our lives. Compared to higher doses, these smaller amounts have their own unique benefits. When used in this mode, they can enhance and enrich our experiences.

They can take our ordinary activities to new heights, deepening the connection we feel and intensifying the overall experience. They can help deepen our appreciation of nature, increase mindfulness, improve our relationships, and enhance our efforts to learn, create, and be present in our bodies.

Working with lower doses can also help to develop a healthy relationship with psychedelics, building the confidence to work with progressively higher doses – if that’s something you wish to explore.

Overall, I think it’s good to balance micro, mini, and larger doses. Working with psychedelics at the levels and in a rhythm that best suits you. If exploring psychedelics at the lower levels, then why not consider combining your dose with one of these activities?

If you already dose in this range, what are your favourite activities to explore with psychedelics? How do you spend those lightly bathed experiences? Did I miss something? Let me know.

Wishing you safe and wonderful experiences!

mushrooms microdosing protocol psilocybin

Can microdosing change your life?

Many people will tell you that it can. And not only that, but that it has already changed theirs.

Most people who know me know that I typically expound the benefits of larger doses, but I always like an experiment, and if that experiment includes psychedelics, even better. So I thought I’d give it a fresh go, and I recently finished a month of microdosing psilocybin.

In this post, I’m going to share a report of my experience. I’ll also share my protocol, how I incorporated it into my routine, and overall what I experienced during the month, including positives and negatives.

Let’s dive in.

My Motivation and Previous Microdosing Experience

Honestly, I didn’t have a specific intention for the microdosing month. The experiment came about because I wanted to incorporate taking Lion’s Mane mushrooms into my routine (a mushroom touted for a whole host of health benefits). Lion’s mane are regularly taken with psilocybin as part of the now fairly well known ‘Stamets Stack’. So I thought ‘why not give it a go’?

I’ve done microdosing experiments before with LSD to positive results. I’ve also experimented before with micro and low doses of psilocybin, but never consistently or on any kind of regimen.

As the results of microdosing are subtle, it’s hard to pinpoint what’s working exactly. And so far, there is no solid science that tells us that microdosing is more than a placebo.

That said, there is a whole, whole lot of anecdotal evidence that reports on the positives.

The best way to find out if something works for you is to try it yourself.

So, that’s what I did.

My Protocol

Here’s a high-level look at how I conducted the microdosing experiment. I’ll go into more detail on each below.

  • 5 days on, 2 days off
  • Taken in the mornings with mushroom coffee (including lion’s mane, chaga, and cordyceps)
  • Part of my morning routine
  • Kept a log

5 days on, 2 days off

stamets microdose schedule psilocybin lions mane

I dosed Monday – Friday and took weekends off. This is the pattern of famed mycologist Paul Stamets’ microdosing protocol I mentioned before. The main difference is that I didn’t take niacin, where Stamets’ recommends this. I typically work Mon-Fri so this fit in with my working schedule.

Served With Morning Mushroom Coffee

I incorporated my microdosing into my morning routine. Y’all know I love a good morning routine.

My morning routine for this period was:
– 3-5km run
– Shower
– 10 minutes Box Breathing
– Smoothie
– Microdose Mushroom Coffee whilst reading
– Start work

I would weigh out my dried and ground mushroom dose the night before and put it in a mug with a teaspoon of mushroom coffee. I’d cover the mug and leave it on my sideboard so it would be waiting for me the next day.

I used Mushies mushroom coffee. On weekends when I wasn’t microdosing psilocybin, I still took lion’s mane by way of their capsules and extract tincture.

mushroom psilocybin lions mane coffee microdosing

Keeping a Log

I kept a log during the period. Y’all also know I like to keep drug logs.

I made a makeshift table in my bullet journal with columns for:

  • Day and date
  • Dose
  • Strain
  • Time taken
  • Notes on the experience (with timestamps where relevant).

Notes on the experience included anything that seemed notable, and if nothing, just a few words about how I felt the day went. This included things like ‘good mood’, ‘productive day’, ‘tingling sensations’ etc. I included timestamps where they seemed relevant, like ‘tingling sensations’, so I could see how long after taking the dose I felt them.

Days 1-4: Finding The Dose

I generally have a higher-than-average tolerance for psilocybin, so I started with a decent dose of 0.3 grams of JMF psilocybin mushrooms.

I planned my first microdose day on a day when I had flexibility regarding my work schedule, just in case it was a bit high.

It was a good idea. I felt a slight tingling even before I had finished my coffee and thought ‘hmmm’. I then noticed the floor moving on a bathroom break not long after.

I knew that I’d taken more than a microdose and wouldn’t get much of the work I’d planned done, so I got comfortable, lay down, and put some music on my headphones. I did find it annoying as I had work I wanted to do, but there was nothing for it.

It wasn’t a real trip (basically level 1.5), so nothing major to report on. I just lay there listening to music. It was light enough that once it worn off, I was able to work in the afternoon.

The next day I scaled right down to 0.03g. I didn’t want to have to skip work again! It was a productive day.

On the third day I went up to 0.04g and reached a threshold experience. I was surprised that I could feel something from so low a dose, but it was unmistakable.  I could feel tingling sensations through my body, a slight sense of discomfort, and I needed to pee more often (which I’d experienced on threshold doses of LSD).

On day four I went down to 0.03g and had a good day, so I settled on this for the rest of the month.

My Experience

Positives: Good mood, positive, productive, focused

Overall, I had a good month. Most days I have notes which read ‘good mood’, ‘productive’, ‘positive’ and ‘good focus’, or some combination of those words.

To sum it up I would say I experienced good focus, good mood, general feeling of being upbeat and positive, and forward flowing with motion.

Microdosing by its very nature is very subtle, so it’s hard to say if I would’ve felt like this anyway, but regardless, those are the results. In general, I’d say these are typical of my days, but maybe not quite as noticeably. A friend of mine says he notices his microdose days more towards the end of the day when he reflects back and thinks ‘that was a good day’. So it could be something like that.

This fits in with a lot of the anecdotal reports and the general gist of Ayelet Waldman’s microdosing memoir: ‘A Really Good Day’, if not as radical.

On a smaller note, I also found it easier to make good decisions on a small level, such as making healthy food choices when shopping in the supermarket. That connecting-to-the-big-picture psychedelic effect.

Negatives: Anxiety

I did experience some unwelcome anxiety on two of the days.

One was on a travel day at the end of the month when my train was delayed multiple times as I was heading to the airport. I got fidgety and worried I might miss my flight.

Whilst this is understandable, I would say that I don’t usually feel this level of anxiety in this situation. I would guess that without any dose, I would’ve been more composed. This time, I did some box breathing via a guided audio on my phone which helped cool me down, if only a little.

There was another morning when I read an email that a payment processor was closing my account because of the nature of my business. I don’t normally go into my inbox in the mornings but I needed to get something out of there and the email caught my attention.

As I already had money sitting in that processor’s account, I found this stressful and worrying as I wasn’t sure if this would cause complications with getting said money out. It derailed my morning a bit and put me a bit out of whack.

Again, this would normally be stressful but I think the microdose intensified this. I was actually sweating! I’m not uber cool but I don’t think that would be my reaction on a normal day. It was only a few hundred bucks, not a huge sum.

Aside from my first days when finding my dose, these were my only two negative experiences in the month.

Final Thoughts

My conclusion from this month is that microdoses of psilocybin can intensify my present mood.

If I’m focused and positive, more so. If I’m anxious or worried, more so.

This fits in with psychedelics’ effect of state amplification, though I do find it surprising this happened on so low of a dose. It might have been due to a build-up of subtle effects over the month.

Overall it was a positive month. Even if it was nothing I would personally call groundbreaking, I have continued to microdose on carefully selected days in the meantime.

I would like to add that people experience microdosing very differently. A lot of people report that it lowers anxiety, or helps with depression. Or any other host of effects. This is just one man’s report.

If you’re curious, I would say, try it for yourself!

If you’re looking for a good source of mushrooms, I can recommend Mushies. I really enjoy their mushroom coffee!
Use code MAPS for 10% off!

mdma concert gig live music how to guide

MDMA and music: Magical combo.

MDMA and live music: Now we’re talking.

Concerts, gigs, shows. Whatever you call them. MDMA can heighten the experience beautifully.

The combo is a popular choice because it goes down so so well.

As the psychedelic revival continues to grow, much talk on the use and application focuses on the idea of using psychedelics in a medical or clinical context. While some argue that psychedelics are only good when used for treatment or healing, I believe in cognitive liberty. 

Citizens should have the freedom to alter their minds as they choose. That includes taking MDMA for enjoyment, fun, therapy, and mental health interventions.

I am a huge believer in using both classic and non-classic psychedelics for healing and therapeutic purposes, and at the same time, going to gigs on drugs has been one of my greatest joys in life.

So I wanted to write a blog post to help others have some amazing and memorable experiences. This post will contain some tips to help you make the most of your experience. Of course, many drugs can be enjoyed with live music, and most of the tips here will apply across the board. I’m just keeping on theme for MDMA month on the blog.

We’ll go in three sections, in chronological order: 1. Pre-show, 2. During, and 3. After.

Let’s ago!

mdma concert gig live music how to guide

1: Pre-Concert

Before getting into concert specifics, follow these standard MDMA best practices to help ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.

1.1: Prepare Doses

Save yourself the hassle of fumbling with tiny crystals while you’re out and about. Pre-weigh your doses and have them ready to go in capsules. I generally like to dose before entering the venue if I can so I don’t have to think about any security checks, but in my experience, those are usually pretty lax.

1.2: Create a Basic Schedule

Timing the dose well is key. This prevents the need for redosing, or not being high when the band plays.

To time well, knowing the stage times is crucial.

Reach out to the band on Instagram or Twitter, contact the venue, or arrive early to find out, where stage times might be posted around. Otherwise, you might ask the sound guy or whoever is at the merch stand, as they’re usually wise to this info. If you can’t get this info before, you can make a best guess. Based on doors opening, how many bands are playing and recent gigs at the venue. 

Once you have the stage time, you can work backward to create a basic schedule and plan your time of dose accordingly.

I typically aim to be up and feeling the effects about 15-30 minutes before the band I am there to see steps on stage.

For example, say I’m seeing the Oh Sees, and they’re on at 9:00pm.

I like to dose on a more or less empty stomach, and MDMA takes about 80 minutes to kick in on said empty stomach. So I’d make a basic schedule that looks like this:

5:00 Dinner
7:15 Dose / Leave
8:00 Arrive venue
8:00 Opening band
9:00 Oh Sees

1.3: Essential Packing List

Make sure you have any important items with you. Here’s my standard packing list:

  • Wallet
  • Keys
  • Phone
  • Earplugs (I’ll usually use these for opening acts to save my ears)
  • Chewing Gum
  • Water (note that some venues won’t allow you to take this in)
  • Weed vape

Make your own with items you’ll need or want and know where you’re keeping them for the show.

1.4: Scouting the Venue

It can help to get familiar with the venue before the concert.

You might find out if sections are standing, or if seating is unreserved or reserved and choose your ticket type accordingly. This can help avoid the stress of searching for seats while under the influence.

mdma concert gig live music how to guide

1.5 Cloakroom and Jacket Considerations

To ensure maximum comfort during the concert, consider the cloakroom options. Some venues offer cloakrooms or garderobe where you can store your belongings for a small fee. Some don’t. Again, you might try and find this out before, but if you can’t you’ll need to be prepared for both scenarios. 

mdma concert gig live music how to guide

If it’s not available or practical, you might wear lightweight clothing and keep your valuables on you.

I’ve just placed my jacket in a corner or on the stage at some shows and picked it up after. If you do this you might take an old jacket so that you won’t be too worried if it disappears (it has happened to me once!).

2: Navigating the Concert Environment

2.1: Scouting the Venue on Arrival

When you arrive, familiarize yourself with the venue. Knowing the layout and key locations will help you feel more at ease and in control of your surroundings, help allow you to fully immerse yourself in the concert experience.

Here’s a few basics:

  • Locate the toilets: Knowing their location will save you time and prevent any unnecessary wandering around in search of them. Also good to have this knowledge when MDMA might increase your need to use the facilities.
  • Identify water sources: Staying hydrated is obviously important, especially if you’re going to be dancing or sweating. However, sometimes the bar queues are a joke. So you might like to keep a small bottle on you. One trick I use is hydrating from the bathroom taps if they’re accessible and clean. If you’ve been able to bring in an empty water bottle you can top this up there. It can also be nice to splash water over yourself to cool down.
  • Explore the outdoor area: Fresh air and a change of scenery can enhance your experience and provide a brief respite from the crowded concert environment. Also can be a good spot to meet up with friends or take a breather between sets.
  • Other places: Places to sit down: Good to know in case you need it.

Also good to familiarize yourself with the entrances, exits, and any other noteworthy features or spaces. 

2.2: Empty Your Bladder

I like to do this directly before the band I wanna see cause y’know, I don’t wanna go in the middle of their set.

2.3 Finding Your Spot In The Crowd

If standing, where are you gonna stand for the show?

This is entirely up to you, but if you’re with friends you might like to briefly discuss it before.

Will you attempt to stay together? Will you maybe lose each other in the crowd? Some people like to be closer to the action, some people prefer to be in spots where its less crowded. You may also split up and reconvene later. Some clarity on this can be useful though.

mdma concert gig live music how to guide

For most gigs I like free reign and then to catch up with friends again after. If you like to be close to the front, one trick I’ve found that works well is to wait until the band starts playing, and then just move forward to the pit. It helps prevent the old sliding past people and then just stopping awkwardly infront of someone.

If you’re close to someone in the crowd who’s bothering you for whatever reason, I’d suggest moving to another spot sooner rather than later.

If you’re in unreserved seating, you might like arrive early and claim your spot.

When choosing or booking seats, you might consider if you’d like to be close to the aisle for easy access and not having to trample and squeeze past people when you wanna get out.

2.4 Placing Your Attention

Where you put your attention can massively change your experience. It’s consciously filtering the intake of your setting.

This might be from watching the band, closing your eyes and tuning in to the sounds of the music, taking a panoramic of the light show, or watching a particular band member. If there is a band member whose energy you’re vibing with, try and get in a spot where you have a good clear view of them. Or just remember to keep your eyes on them.

3 After The Show

3.1: Establishing a Meeting Place

Designate a meeting spot for easy reunions with friends. Make sure it’s a location that everyone can find without difficulty. You might choose somewhere inside or outside the venue.

3.2: Planning Transportation

Don’t leave yourself stranded in an unfamiliar city late at night and high. Figure out your transportation options before, then plan your transportation to the degree that you’d like to., considering timings and availability of options.

3.3: Preparing for After the Concert

If you’re heading home after the concert, have your preferred food, drinks or whatever else you’d like ready and waiting for you. 

Final Thoughts

Some of my favorite and most memorable life experiences have been at concerts, with substances, and in a combination of both. That includes being obliterated in a tornado of Ty Segall’s guitars (2-CB+MDMA), feeling universal love with Sigur Ros (1p-LSD), and rocking out to the Oh Sees (MDMA – yes that example was from last month).

I hope this guide will help you to have some incredible and joyful experiences, too.

Remember basic safety, plan your schedule, pack the essentials, and navigate the concert environment like a pro. With these tips, you’ll be well-prepared to have an awesome time. 

If you have questions, feel free to reach out. I’m here to help you have an amazing concert experience!

Stay safe, and best wishes out there.

mdma safe use best practices maximizing benefits

MDMA is a drug that can change the world.

If used wisely, it’s a substance that can help heal trauma, actively improve relationships, fire up creative inspiration, and just have a really great time.

It also serves as a great entry point for psychonauts wanting to explore altered states because it’s tremendously easy to have a good time. This opens the door to deeper experiences in the corridors of consciousness and widening worldviews.

I’ve enjoyed and benefited from taking MDMA for a number of years. It has also been popping up in my field more recently and I see it’s time to shine coming to the forefront. So I’ve decided to write a short series on the wonder drug that made it into Shulgin’s magic dozen this month on the blog.

We’ll be exploring different modes of use, supplements, and concert experiences, and combining with classic psychedelics.

But today I’d like to start us on a firm footing: sharing some general best practices for safe MDMA use. These will help to reduce harm and maximize benefits.

To maintain a logical flow, I have organized these practices chronologically into three sections: Before, During, and After.

Follow these steps, whatever your session, to set yourself up for fruitful, beneficial, and dare I say, really fun times in your mollified states.

MDMA Best Practices

Before

Check Your Contraindications

If you’re taking any medication, be sure to check that there are no contraindications as this can be very serious. Also check your physical health, as MDMA can increase heart rate and blood pressure. Consult with your doctor when necessary, or one of those psychedelic consultants. 

Test Your Substance And/Or Know Your Source

As MDMA is currently unregulated, you almost certainly won’t know what it includes. Testing can help you be sure that what you have doesn’t contain something dangerous like fentanyl. You can find test kits online (UK) (US).

I’d recommend testing each batch. Or knowing and trusting your source. Who is the provider? Do you know them? Do you trust them? Is there any consequence for them if what you have isn’t actual MDMA? Consider these and have peace of mind from the outset.

Be Familiar With Basic Info and Possible Effects

Stuff like how long it takes to come on and the range of effects. Basic education. Important for any conscious drug user. PsychonautWiki is my go-to for such information.

Understanding that things like sweaty palms, increased heart rate, and clenching jaw are often par for the course helps to roll with it.

Find Your Dose

Dosage matters, and it’s personal. What is high for one person may be low for another, and vice versa.

A general rule to start is 50 mg plus your weight in kg. For example, if you weigh 77 kg, your dose would be 127 mg. 

Take Your Stomach Contents Into Account When Dosing

This can affect the time of onset and the strength of the effects. Taking on a full stomach will mean diminished effects and a longer time of onset.

I like to have something lightish (decent smoothie or bean salad) 2.5-3 hours before a first dose. I’ve found this to offer a predictable onset and effects at the doses I work with.

Also, save your nostrils the burn, and swallow rather than snort.

Weigh Your Dose

Get a milligram scale. The AWS Gemini is a decent, affordable option that will do the job.

You can buy empty capsules online and put your doses inside for convenient storage, transport, and ease of dosing.

During

Don’t Re-dose Excessively

MDMA largely feels good. Sometimes people just want to stay in that feel-good serotonin state, so they want to keep on dosing.

But your body will pay the price, and the more you consume in one session, the more serious any neurotoxic effects will be.

I would suggest choosing the number of doses in advance (not more than 3), and then just sticking to that.

If you’re an aging nerd like me, staying up all night and being completely toast the next day has less and less appeal over the years. I like to have the session, make the most of it, and then wind it down and get my rest.

So now I usually like a single decent dose, and then maybe one booster (around half of the original dose), after 60-120 minutes to prolong the session, if desired.

You might like to try the same.

Don’t Mix With Booze

Booze can dampen the effects of MDMA. It can also contribute to a hangover and feeling tired and exhausted the days after.

If you insist, try to at least go easy on it. 

I do, however, understand the joys of a cold beer. You might try drinking alcohol-free beers. They can offer that delicious taste and you won’t lack the feeling of getting drunk as you’ll be high anyway.

Stay Hydrated

Especially important if you’re dancing or sweating. Taking electrolytes can help.

If you’re not, however, this won’t be much of a concern. You don’t need to overdo it and drink so much that you’re continually having to go to the bathroom. You can use the color of your pee as a hydration guideline.

Be Mindful of Body Temperature

Again, dependent on what you’re doing and where you are, but overheating is one of the biggest dangers with MDMA, as it raises core body temperature. This is especially important to consider if out dancing or in crowded or otherwise hot places.

Be sure not to overheat and remove clothes or head to cooler or shaded areas as needed.

Supplements

There are a few different theories about supplements and I’ve been down a bit of a rabbit hole with research. I will return with a whole blog post on this soon. Check back to find it (or join the newsletter to stay up to date). In the meantime, you can check out this MDMA supplements guide

After

SLEEP

Yes, I put this in capitals because so many people miss this.

The importance of sleep in overall physical and mental health has been highlighted in recent years. Molly can be quite taxing on the nervous system so it’s especially important after a session.

Rest is crucial for recovery. Sleep is an essential part of this.

Take a lie in the day after, or get as much rest as needed.

I also recommend having that day after as an easy day, with the option to head to bed early again.

Do not renege on your sleep and rest in the days after an MDMA session.

Many people like to smoke some weed to help drift off to sleep a little easier. Some people recommend taking melatonin.

Keep an Eye on Your Frequency of Use

Don’t overdo it.

Overuse can lead to a higher risk of neurotoxic effects, gradually increasing tolerance, and ‘losing the magic’.

Using MDMA once every three months (four times a year) is a standard recommendation found online.

However, closer intervals have been used in MAPS studies (two sessions over a four week period [1], two or three sessions placed a month apart [2], and might be experimented with caution).

I have personally done it more frequently myself with no noticeable ill effect – taking into account the rest of the practices on this list. For example, once a month for a few months at the first lockdown, and two sessions on consecutive days on a summer mini-break with friends in the countryside. 

I should add that I seem to tolerate it well compared to most people – I’ve never really had the comedown or low mood in the week after that many people report. 

Stay Safe, Session Well

As always, take a thought to your setting and your company.

MDMA is a remarkable substance with vast potential.

Follow these basic practices for safe, healing, and wonderful experiences with this magnificent molecule.

 

the artists way book report music

Last week, I stepped on stage and played a short set of three original punk songs at a local open mic night.

Honestly, it felt fucking amazing.

See, I love punk rock music. I love listening to it. I love playing it. And I’ve been wanting to perform again for years.

I played in a punk band as a teenager, and a rock band as a student, but I hadn’t played or performed publicly since.

The last time was over 10 years ago.

Rocking out, c. 2009

So how did I get back on stage, shouting these songs about being a loner, an ill-fated LSD trip, and the war on drugs?

Of course, this didn’t happen overnight. I have been building back to this for a while. A key moment was stopping in Berlin, and getting back into going to live shows.

But regardless, I have no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t have made it back to the stage already without doing The Artist’s Way.

the artists way book report music

The Artist’s Way is a course in book form. Subtitled ‘the classic course in discovering and recovering your creative self’, it is a program to be followed over 12 weeks. There are weekly reading and homework exercises to be done throughout the 12 week period.

So, wanting to use the new year’s energy as a fresh boost, I started the course on January 1st and just finished on Saturday.

The course is deep and the book covers a lot of ground, so in this post I won’t cover everything.
This will be a brief overview of my experience with The Artists Way, to give you an idea of what it’s like and if it might be for you.

The Tools

Outside of the weekly reading and exercises, there are two main tools in The Artists Way, The Morning Pages and The Artist’s Date.

The Morning Pages

The morning pages are three pages of longhand journaling to be done every morning.

A4 pages.
So about 30 minutes of pen and paper journaling every single morning.

I definitely felt resistance to this amount of journaling at times. But when I commit to something, I like to stick with it. So I did.

Generally, the pages can be about anything and everything.

For me, I found they were a chance to check in with myself, see what’s on my mind, dump it onto the page (I see notepads somewhat like therapists – in their non-judgmental receptivity), and actively think through things.

The pages gave me a chance to think actively and somewhat consciously, about areas I want to focus on in my life.

One section of the course involved writing down areas you need help or guidance on before you sleep and then journaling about them in the morning. This was like active brainstorming and problem-solving. I put key areas of my life I wanted to focus on: business, romance, and music – and fundamentals: eat, move, sleep.

As directed, the pages were also used for affirmations, exploring personal beliefs, and open-ended brainstorming.

Though the pages were quite a commitment, I found them to be hugely helpful.

I felt mentally clearer, and more ready and eager for each day by the time I finished them.

I could also see which topics were recurring, giving me insight into the contents of my mind.

Will I keep them up since finishing the 12 weeks?

Definitely.

Not every single day, but more as needed. Maybe a couple of times a week.

The Artist’s Date

The second main tool is The Artist’s Date.

The Artist’s Date is a weekly activity, say 2 hours, where you take you – and your inner artist – on a play date. It’s something to capture your imagination and nurture your creative consciousness. And the emphasis should be on fun.

It is to be done alone, with the idea that you are able to receive thoughts, and ideas – to hear your own inner voice.

I will admit that I found this surprisingly hard to keep up. I was also a bit unimaginative.

Still, I found it worthwhile. I went to the cinema a few times, a great hobby that I haven’t been up to much in the last couple of years. (and at a local cinema, for £5 a film, it’s a steal really).

Birmingham Artists Date

My funnest and most story-worthy artist date was heading over to the city of Birmingham, booking myself into a hostel for the night, and taking MDMA to go and see Titus Andronicus, a punk/indie band whose album An Obelisk has one of my favourites of the last few years.

The gig was a poignant experience in an unexpected way – but to save turning this into a trip report – the highlight was meeting one of my heroes after the show.

At the merch stand, I told ringleader Patrick that his music has been important to me, and thanked him. He visibly softened, expressed his appreciation, and extended his hand to shake in a tender and meaningful moment that’ll stay with me.

Honestly, I get a little misty just recalling it now.

After the gig, I went back to the hostel and ended up playing guitar in the common area for the travelers staying up and hanging out. I felt nervous before, but 7 weeks into the course, with the exercises I’d been doing, reflecting on my creative dreams, and plotting steps to get there, it pushed me over the edge in terms of picking up the guitar. Those continued steps got me to the first open mic a couple of weeks later on.

Weekly Tasks

Through the course, I would go to a cafe each Sunday and do my weekly reading and any journaling or written exercises.

This was a highlight of my week. It got me excited, inspired, and dreaming. I reflected, and wrote out action plans and small changes I would make.

Outside of journaling and reflection, other homework tasks included clearing out old stuff, writing letters to yourself, and mailing postcards to friends. An interesting one was a ban on reading for a week! There was a tonne of others. I won’t spoil the surprises but a few others were making collages, saying prayers, collecting pretty rocks, and treating oneself to childhood favorite foods.

There was a wide range of topics explored through the twelve weeks, really too much for me to dig into here, but one that resonated with me was perfectionism, process, and balance.

Perfectionism and Process

A key returning revelation was that we must allow ourselves to be bad artists if we are to be artists at all.

We must allow ourselves to make mistakes, understand that doing so is a necessary part of the process, and know that we won’t start great. This shifts the framing to process over result.

Balance

The Artist’s Way emphasizes a point of balance. It’s not all directly about creative work – in fact, very little of it is.

Sure, there is inner therapeutic work that includes looking at previous and childhood experiences and how they may have conditioned us. And the exercises include establishing a support system. And I can see why the process has apparently been used by therapists.

But a lot of it is about personal growth and self-care, bringing fun into life, and understanding that this leads to creative lives. Creativity is about festivity, enthusiasm, joy, and dreams. This was one of my favorite things about it.

One part I liked was that we surveyed six areas of our life. These were: work, exercise, romance/adventure, spirituality, play, and friends. These were rated three times throughout the course to check progress. Although I did go down in some areas (spirituality, exercise, and work suffered losses), overall, I gained 7 points across the board between week 2 and week 11, and this was hugely encouraging. Honestly, it felt great.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the 12 weeks on The Artist’s Way has been an amazing experience.

In general, I really enjoy committing to a guided growth process and allowing it to unfold as it will.

A couple of years ago I did a course in creativity: Amplify by Steve Pavlina, and the fruits were largely directed toward my psychedelic work. It was also hugely rewarding and had a big hand in the creation of the first version of The Conscious Psychedelic Explorer course, now three cohorts in and with plans to grow.

This time it was great for the focus to be on music, a love of mine that has been somewhat dormant but crying for attention in recent years. The fact I’ve performed solo in public now 5 times in the last 4 weeks (after 0 performances in the last 10 years, and never solo), with a childlike eagerness to continue, and a tonne of fresh ideas for songs and performances, speaks for itself.

I will admit that my enthusiasm for the process did wax and wane over the 12 weeks, and at times I found it quite hard to keep up. I didn’t do all of the exercises, not even close. But as Cameron writes, you can’t do the course perfectly, and as someone with sometimes obsessive tendencies (I like to be really thorough when I do things like this), I took this as a chance to practice letting go of perfectionism.

That said, I also think I will cycle back around for a second time, and do the things that I didn’t manage the first.

I have seen it dubbed: “A revolutionary program for personal renewal, The Artist’s Way will help get you back on track, rediscover your passions, and take the steps you need to change your life.”

I absolutely agree.

Overall, it’s been a great reminder of how much growth can be achieved in a short time when one is committed. And just as importantly, how fun, interesting, and exciting our lives can be.

Do The Artist’s Way With My Support

I’m hugely excited about the idea of offering a group process with The Artists Way, with weekly meetings and check-ins with a group of fellow explorers to share the journey with. I have some ideas for incorporating psychedelics into this course that I’m massively excited about too.

If you’re interested in doing this with a group of psychedelic-friendly folks, get in touch or join my mailing list.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in doing this in a 1-1 coaching format, just send me a message. I’d love to support you in your creative life!