Wednesday, February 22, 2012

LSD & Uterine Contractions

This is much more of a public service announcement than I usually do, but I am not the kind of guy who can't admit the flaws in the things that I love. While LSD is largely harmless to the mind and the body, it is synthesized from ergot, a fungus that has been used for centuries to perform abortions. Even the end result, LSD, is still in the same chemical family and has still been proven to cause uterine contractions, which may lead to pregnancy complications. I wouldn't advise using any psychoactive while pregnant, but you should be especially careful about avoiding this one. Menstruating females may also find that it increases their related pain.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Best Psychedelic Tumblr: "Disregard Everything I Say"

I'm not a huge fan of Tumblr. Most people aren't creating original content; they're just reblogging the same things everybody else does. One human, however, is really leaving everyone in the dust (including me!) when it comes to producing original content. His Tumblr, Disregard Everything I Say, is a great mix of both fact and really insightful opinions. I've read almost every single one of his posts, and I can't get enough. I'll give you a quick run-down on my favorite posts by him, so that you can go check him out yourself. :)

The Visual Components of a Psychedelic Experience
This is a comprehensive review of common visual effect categories resulting from the ingestion of psychedelics. Each entry includes a description, the intensity of the trip during which these visuals usually appear (rated out of five), and really accurate pictures recreating each effect (which you can see over there to the right). He's made a really thorough survey and does a great job describing each type. This is by far my favorite post on his site. If you read nothing else of his, read this.

The Mental Components of a Psychedelic Experience
Like in the last link, he describes many types of psychological effects that psychedelics can cause, to help you understand what to expect. Equally valuable as the last one, but without the pretty pictures. :)

(Untitled Picture)
His visual representation of what it is like living with HPPD (Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder).

Drug Induced Happiness vs Genuine Happiness
A really vital distinction. Many drug users don't understand the difference and therefore end up abusing the euphoric potential of certain substances, while many people with an anti-drug stance believe that drugs completely prevent true happiness.

How to easily avoid freaking out and having a bad trip
He offers both general statements that quell most neophyte psychonauts' anxiety ("you are not dying!") and also states his opinion on how to create the best set and setting.

Let's all begin testing the existence of DMT entities
His (admittedly cannabis-produced) idea of how to verify or disprove the actual existence of the alien entities often encountered during DMT trips.

Simple Mushroom Growing Technique
A basic but thorough guide. In my opinion, better-organized and more informative than the classic Erowid guide.

Simple DMT Extraction Technique
For all those eager to have the legendary DMT experience. No previous chemical expertise needed.

The Subjective Differences Between LSD, Mushrooms, and Ayahuasca
The first article I read from his site, and definitely one of the most insightful. I have only done mushrooms once, and ayahuasca never, and I never really assumed that they were too much different in quality. However, this guy disagrees and lays out for us the specific differences and similarities in a variety of categories. Also contains lots of pretty pictures!

Simple Ayahuasca Brewing Technique
Another really great guide.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Practical Guide to Being a Practical Guide

The psychedelic culture has a long tradition of instating some sort of guardian watch over the proceedings. Everyone from ancient shamans to Timothy Leary has expounded the importance of a psychedelic guide to help you reach your spiritual goals.

But let's be real: most people who are tripping nowadays do not do so for deeply spiritual purposes. Yet, new psychonauts and those who are taking larger doses than they are used to will often ask a more experienced tripper to be their guide, or their "sitter" while they are in this strange and often emotionally fragile state. Whether this is necessary is a question for the ages, and in my opinion depends on the situation, but it's a favor often asked of more experienced psychonauts.

Someone who asks you to play this role for them probably already trusts you as a close friend, and also trusts your experience with psychedelics and your ability to take care of them if they need you to. However, if you haven't ever been someone's sitter, the responsibility may have you on edge. What are your duties and responsibilities as a modern, practical psychedelic guide?

Don't try to control their trip. You are not a choreographer, you are just a safety net. Remain in the background as best you can, and only give help or guidance or favors when asked (whether verbally or non-verbally). If your charge is having a great time staring at the fish but you remember being in awe of the carpet on your first trip, don't pull them away to go lay on the floor. Let them go with their own flow.

Take a low-to-average dose so you can be in the same headspace without being overwhelmed. Recently, I tripped with a group of people that included a friend who had "hippie-flipped" (taking LSD and ecstasy together) but never done LSD on its own. Knowing that I was knowledgeable and experienced, she asked me if I could make sure she stayed in a positive mental space. I was confident in my ability to do so, but by the time she was crying because the clock was moving backwards, I was way too stoned to even properly identify her emotion. Luckily the Boyfriend stepped in and calmed her down, but both she and I were lucky to have him around. In a situation where you are the sole caretaker, make sure that you're not incapacitated by your chemicals. However, I do recommend that you be tripping to some degree-- the sense of disjointedness in your mental spaces can make your charge feel misunderstood, too-closely observed, or just generally uncomfortable.

Take requests. If something is making someone uncomfortable, do something about it. Something totally normal while sober (music, colors, light, sounds, TV shows) can cause some real anxiety or fear or discomfort while tripping. On the other hand, if they ask for some specific stimulation (their favorite band, a TV show, etc), it may be the perfect thing to blow their minds. It's your responsibility to help them have the best trip you can, so if it's within your abilities, try to grant them their whims.

Observe general safety. Make sure they don't do anything ridiculously stupid. Even if they really want brownies, don't let them use the oven. Be careful about trampolines. And if they insist on driving somewhere, tackle them and tie them to a chair, because that is a very stupid idea. Like in tip #1, you aren't your mother, but they are trusting you to give them a little push if they need it. Don't let them do dumb things. Very simple. If you can't do this for some reason, skip to the last tip.

Most anxiety surrounding psychedelics is related to the fear of bad trips, which do happen occasionally. Even when it's not a full-blown freak-out, most people do experience unpleasant feelings while playing with their consciousness, and this is the point where it is important for the sitter to step in. First step if things start going badly: ask if they want a hug. Most people, especially while tripping, will appreciate a physical gesture of affection, but others may become VERY uncomfortable with physical touch in this sensitive mind-state, whether it's due to some sort of past trauma or just drug-related paranoia. If they say yes, hug and cuddle away. If possible, and with permission, a cuddle puddle with multiple people might be mind-blowingly awesome. :)

If necessary, ask questions. But not too many. If your charge becomes visibly uncomfortable, or expresses anxiety or confusion, ask them in an understanding way what is bothering them and then do what you can for them based on their answer. However, you have to be careful not to pester them or make them paranoid: I find that answering too many questions (whether I'm tripping or at the doctor's) tends to make me nervous that something is really very deeply wrong. If they are too far-gone to answer (it's happened before) but still look uncomfortable, try distinctly non-sexual but reassuring touches, and experiment with changing the surroundings to see if something there is distressing them. Beyond that, improvise and do what you can.

Stay calm. This should be obvious, but tripping people especially will piggy-back your emotion. Even if there's a pretty good reason to be nervous, don't freak out or your charge will freak out even worse. It probably isn't even as bad as you think it is. Most of the worst trips clear themselves up eventually once sobriety starts to set in. And it might not even be a "bad trip:" everyone (including the positive-minded and experienced) hit little bumps. It's part of the journey. If you're experienced enough to be a sitter, you already know this.

In an absolute emergency, do what needs to be done. Cases like these are really rare but not unheard of. Remember, LSD isn't illegal once it's inside you, so if your friend breaks a leg or is uncontrollably running around the neighborhood naked or gets mugged, call the relevant authorities and tell them all the details. Especially if you need an ambulance: the EMTs need to know what is in your friend's body so they can do the best job they can for him or her. If there are no illegal substances or items on you, you have nothing to fear.

I hope this guide hasn't made you too nervous to do your duty as a sitter, while also presenting you with some worst-case scenarios to avoid. If you have any specific questions, you can ask in the comments or e-mail me at

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Protect Your Rights with the NORML Freedom Card

I think something that every drug enthusiast worries about is encounters with the police. Our good friend NORML has provided us with a solution: an information card to print out and keep in your wallet. In addition to succinctly summarizing your rights for your own information, you can hand it to the arresting officer to say which of your rights you are asserting during your arrest.

I highly recommend printing one out for yourself and all your stoner friends. Stick some in the books at your college library (I'm going to). Put one in all the dubsacks you sell. Besides helping to get more people involved in NORML, which is quite possibly the most important marijuana activism organization, it can help them get out of a really sticky situation. If it ever comes in handy, they will certainly thank you.

Monday, February 6, 2012

How To Deal with Sober People (While Tripping)

On one sweltering summer day, a group of friends and I dropped acid. Hours later, when we were running down the sidewalk after an ice cream truck, I got a phone call from my mom. Everyone froze-- "Hi mom. Yes, no, I'll be home around eleven. Yeah, [Boyfriend] is driving me. Okay, thanks, see you soon!"

As soon as I hung up, my friend exclaimed, "How could you possibly talk to your mother that calmly when you're tripping?!" I laughed and told him about the time I had spent the peak of a trip in a Rite-Aid getting heart medication for my ex-boyfriend's mother, without anyone realizing that the two of us were on drugs. And the time that I couldn't figure out how to work the refrigerator while my friend's parents were in the room. And the time that my dad came to pick me up early from a friend's house while I was still tripping, and my phone wasn't working and I knew he was going to be angry that I kept him waiting so long. I survived those things; I was perfectly capable of handling a short phone call from Mom.

For psychonauts, dealing with the "normals" can be terrifying, and cause a lot of anxiety and paranoia which then subsequently affects your trip. However, it's really not as hard as it seems-- unless you're REALLY far-out, you still have perfect control over yourself and can carry off interactions with ease. Actually, I am much better at keeping my shit while I'm on acid than I am while I'm high. It's easy, if you remember a few important things.

1. Don't do anything really weird. Really, this is common sense. No yodeling, no hand-stands in the middle of the highway, and only engage in minimal frolicking if you can help it. Attracting attention is a bad idea. Saying "act natural" is a cliche and often increases anxiety, so don't try too hard-- just draw the line at really silly stuff.

2. Be careful what you say out loud. This is related to the last one, but the verbal element of interaction is a little different from the physical. For example, if you think you see something weird, don't comment on it even if you're relatively sure it's part of actual reality. Never say, "Wow, Mom, do you see that blinking light?" or "Holy fuck, look at that bird!" If someone else comments on it, say "Oh, weird" and go on about your business.

3. Don't let them see your pupils. I realize that trying to hide your eyes can make you paranoid and make you look shifty, but just don't make overly-long eye contact. Busy yourself with your hands, a book, your cell phone, making food, etc. Not too hard to pull off.

4. Remember that strangers don't know what you're like sober. They have nothing to compare your behavior to, so unless you're acting out, like I warned you about in #1, they won't know the difference.

5. Keep conversations as concise as is normal for you. The rules: no rambling, no ranting, no exclamations, no voicing of strong opinions. Be polite and then get on with your life.

6. As a last resort, admit to being high. Or sick. If someone who wouldn't approve of your psychedelic use calls you out on acting strangely or having dilated pupils, admit that you're high (which is less of an offense in most people's minds) and take the consequences for it. They probably won't be that bad. I have never had to resort to this, but I have used the sick excuse. While avoiding long conversations (tip #5) and then skedaddling to my bedroom to hide, I have been asked "What's wrong?" and replied that I was tired because I hadn't slept well the night before due to congestion. Then, when I couldn't sleep that night because of the acid, no one thought it was weird that I took a nap in the afternoon.

The key is to remember that while the world may be very strange to you, no one else can see what you're seeing. Unless you really give it away, they're not going to realize you're tripping. These tips apply whether you're dropping in at the grocery store or having a surprise visit from your grandparents. I hope this dispels some anxiety you psychonauts feel about dealing with sober people, so you can pull off stealth-tripping with less anxiety and more fun.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Psychedelic Swimming Lessons

When I was in the third grade, my parents signed me and my brother up for swimming lessons. I'm still a horrible swimmer, so obviously the lessons were not as effective as my parents hoped, but I took away one really important lesson. Every time she dropped me off at the YMCA pool, my mother would say, "Respect the water. Don't be afraid of it, but remember that it is powerful." She would say it at the beach, before pool parties, and every time we walked along the edge of the canal. Respect the water. She still says it every time I go back to my college, which borders a turbulent lake.

Water really is a powerful force. We need it to live. It makes up more than 70% of our bodies. But, if we immerse ourselves in it and get too careless, it can obliterate us in less than a minute.

This lesson has stuck with me, and continues to provide me with a framework for using psychedelics: respect the acid. Yes, it's fun and enlightening and important and spiritual to very many people, but never treat it with carelessness. LSD has none of the physical dangers of other substances, but it can have a powerful effect on your psychology, both temporarily and permanently. You are playing with the deepest recesses of your brain, and you can get overwhelmed. Swim around, immerse yourself, have fun, but always keep in mind that you can drown.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Update: The Vaporgenie and DMT

According to a friend, the Vaporgenie (watch my video review) is also the piece of choice for using DMT. My first DMT experience was a bust and it was most likely due to incorrect smoking, so now when I get ahold of it again my smoking method will be fool-proof!

If you've ever done DMT using the Vaporgenie, let me know how it went in the comments!