How to take Shrooms (Psilocybin/Magic Mushrooms) the TripSafe way 🍄👽
Thank you to Matthew Johnson, Bill Richards, and Roland Griffiths, for all of their scientific research on these subjects.
Look before you
No drug use is perfectly safe. Shrooms appear to be safer than most drugs.1
This content has been created strictly for harm reduction purposes, and you should note that the only way to be perfectly safe using shrooms is to not take them at all. The same is true with alcohol, skydiving, and sex - the only way to be perfectly safe in these activities is to not do them.
Psychedelic mushrooms are illegal in almost all countries, and are not-risk free. We do not endorse the acquisition and use of illegal drugs. If you make the choice to use psychedelic drugs, please do your research.
Magic mushrooms should be respected. If you’re going to take Shrooms regardless, trip safe and do your research. 🍄👽
Tim Ferriss: “I would not recommend that anyone touch psychedelics without professional supervision. There are legal ramifications to consider. I would take it as seriously as you would choosing a neurosurgeon to remove a tumor.”
🙋 Safe use is important to avoid adverse reactions
These safe use guidelines are based off research into the clinical and research use of psychedelics.
“Persisting adverse reactions are rare when research is conducted along these guidelines. Incautious research may jeopardize participant safety and future research.”2
It is our understanding that magic truffles are legal in the Netherlands, and in Jamaica magic mushrooms are either outright legal or the laws don’t seem to be enforced.
☑️ Safer and more enjoyable usage checklist
- 👨⚕️ 1. I have no health conditions that are dangerous with shrooms
- 💉 2. I'm not taking medicines that may interact with shrooms
- ⚖ 3. I will start with ~0.8 grams of dried mushrooms
- 😇 4. I have a trusted, experienced, sober guide who is willing to prepare fully and be with me for 8 hours
- 🏠 5. I'll take it in a safe, pleasant, and familiar environment
- 😄 6. I'm going to wait until I'm in a good mindset and have been for a few weeks
- 📝 7. I've read the "prepare yourself" section
- 🕶 8. I have an eyeshade and headphones
- 🙏 9. I deeply understand why psychedelics should be treated with respect
- 🗓 10. I won't trip again until I feel I'm fully re-adjusted to regular life after my previous trip
Some users who are optimizing for fun and not long-term lasting benefit may not follow all of these, in particular they may choose to take shrooms in nature or with friends, instead of by themselves with eyeshades and headphones.
We believe everyone who takes shrooms should:
- Avoid with certain health conditions
- Avoid drugs that interact with psychedelics
- Have a trusted, sober guide who is experienced in supporting psychedelic sessions
- Respect psychedelics
🚫 Risks to avoid
- Doing something unsafe while on the drug.
- Psychotic episodes if you have a pre-disposition to mental illness2
- While they only last a few hours, people tend to prefer avoiding “bad” or challenging trips.
😄 Benefits to maximize
Taking psilocybin mushrooms in a more optimal way is expected to increase the probability of lasting increases to your life satisfaction and well-being, based on research in therapeutic settings.3
👨⚕️ 1. Avoid with certain health conditions
⛑ Helps avoid serious risks.
Avoid if you have any of these contraindicated conditions:
- No current or past history of schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders, no Bipolar I or II disorder, and no first or second-degree (“A second-degree relative is defined as a blood relative which includes the individual’s grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces or half-siblings.”) relatives with these disorders.2
- “Thorough psychiatric interviews (e.g. SCID; First, et al., 2001) should be conducted to identify contraindicated psychological functioning or history.”
- And don’t have a schizoid personality
- High scores on the personality traits of rigidity and emotional lability (Emotional lability is a disorder characterized by involuntary emotional displays of mood that are overly frequent and excessive, often the result of various neuropathologies)2
You should have:
- Good general health, not pregnant2
- Healthy blood pressure2
- “in our studies of psilocybin to date, volunteers have been excluded if resting blood pressure exceeded 140 systolic and 90 diastolic (mmHg), averaged across four assessments on at least two separate days.”
💉 2. Avoid drugs that interact with psychedelics
⛑ Helps avoid serious risks.
- Not be using tricyclic antidepressants or lithium, SSRIs, haloperidol, or MAOIs (some of these increase psychedelic effects, some of them reduce effects).2
- Not be using 5-HTP, St John’s Wort or any other supplements that “may affect serotonergic function”2
- Do not consume cannabis or dronabinol for at least 24 h before a session.2
- Not be using Ritonavir/Indinavir4
Tricyclic antidepressants include: Amitriptyline, Anafranil, Asendin, Aventyl, Elavil, Endep, Norfranil, Norpramin, Pamelor, Sinequan, Surmontil, Tipramine, Tofranil, Vivactil.
SSRIs are not reported to cause a dangerous interaction, though they are reported to substantially decrease the effects of shrooms.
Smoking weed while on shrooms? Some users choose to consume cannabis while on shrooms. Research recommends against this for anyone seeking to minimize risks and anxiety while tripping.2
⚖️ 3. Use a safe dosage and consider starting with ~0.8 grams of dried mushrooms
⛑ Helps avoid serious risks and 😁 helps maximize positivity.
Griffiths et al. found that starting with small doses and increasing over time with the subsequent sessions (at “1-month intervals”) generally produced greater persisting positive effects.5
You’re more likely to benefit from psychedelics in clinical settings when starting first with low doses. “The researchers also found that participants who received lower psilocybin doses before the higher doses were more likely to have long-lasting positive changes in attitudes, behavior, and remembered mystical-type experiences than those who received the highest dose first.” Following the researcher’s protocol would involve doing a ~0.8 g trip first, then a ~1.6 g trip before anything larger, then a ~3.2 gram trip before anything larger, then either stopping there (this was the dosage that resulted in the highest increase in well-being) or doing a ~4.8 gram trip.6 5
If you’re particularly eager, you can skip the smallest dose and jump to ~1.6 grams first.
Why bother starting slowly? Clinical research indicates you’re more likely to experience lasting benefits if you start low, instead of starting high.
- At a dosage of ~4.8 grams of mushrooms8 in a therapeutic clinical environment, we might expect 86% of people to experience some extreme fear,5 for an average of around ~11 minutes of strong anxiety9, and we might expect around ~65% to report a persisting positive increase in mood from this dosage assuming they had first tried 0.8 grams, then 1.6 grams, then 3.2 grams, and then 4.8 grams5
- At a dosage of ~3.2 grams8 in a therapeutic clinical environment, we might expect 14% of people to experience some extreme fear,5 for an average of around ~2 minutes of strong anxiety 9, and we might expect around ~60% to report a persisting positive increase in mood from this dosage assuming they had first tried 0.8 grams, then 1.6 grams, then 3.2 grams5
- At a dosage of 1.6 grams8 in a therapeutic clinical environment, we might expect 0% of people to experience some extreme fear,5 for an average of around 1 minute of strong anxiety9, and we might expect around ~45% to report a persisting positive increase in mood from this dosage assuming they had first tried 0.8 grams, and then 1.6 grams5
Ensure high confidence in your dosage
Some strains of mushrooms are higher potency than others.
It may be a good idea to start with a dosage that is ~50% lower than what you normally take if you’re trying a new strain that you don’t know the potency of.
Does dosage vary by weight?
It doesn’t seem like dose should vary by weight, at least not much. This is possibly because people who weigh more have more serotonin receptors and therefore don’t need a larger dose to account for increased weight. Though more research is needed.10
How can I convert between LSD (acid) and shrooms dosages?
See TripSafe’s LSD to Shrooms dosage converter.
e.g. 100 micrograms of LSD * 0.024 = 2.4 (grams of dried shrooms)
This is a rough approximation for many reasons, including that mushroom potency can be quite varied.
😇 5. Have a trusted, sober guide who is experienced in supporting psychedelic sessions
⛑ Helps avoid serious risks and 😁 helps maximize positivity.
In research on bad/challenging trips with psilocybin, “only 2.7% [of the people reporting a bad trip] had a trusted and sober guide present who was experienced in supporting psychedelic sessions.”8
“It is difficult to overemphasize the importance of the interpersonal atmosphere created by study staff in influencing a volunteer’s response to a hallucinogen.”2
Anecdotal evidence suggests that having a sitter that is not familiar with descriptions of altered states of consciousness can lead to unpleasant experiences.
- My sitter is "knowledgeable about the medical and psychological markers of potential adverse reactions to the drug"
- My sitter has significant people skills
- My sitter is "familiar with descriptions of altered states of consciousness induced by hallucinogens," even better if they have personal experience with meditation, holotropic breathing, yoga or psychedelics
- My sitter has strong "clinical sensitivity (e.g., empathy, respect)"
- I feel comfortable expressing all thoughts and aspects of myself (sorrow, my embarassments, etc) to my sitter
- My sitter is comfortably available to sit silently if needed for ~8 hours
- My sitter has read and understands this page on safety guidelines for psychedelics
Here is a list of tripsitters in Amsterdam, where psilocybin truffles are legal: http://tripsitters.org/journey/
🏠 6. Trip in a 100% safe, pleasing and familiar environment
⛑ Helps avoid serious risks and 😁 helps maximize positivity.
A pleasant environment may reduce the chance of bad feelings while tripping.2
Your environment psychedelic-prep checklist:
- 🤕 “Any potentially dangerous objects (e.g., furniture with sharp corners; glass lamps) should be avoided.”2
- 🖼 No windows that could be exited “if in a delusional state”2
- 🏡 You’re 100% familiar with the environment (you’ve spent at least a few hours there on a different day)2
- Clean your space the night before, anecdotal reports suggest clutter and dirt can be uncomfortable while tripping
- Have zero responsibilities on the day of the experience
- Avoid any potentially dangerous environments
- Avoid unpleasant things or people
- Seek a private environment
A non-house environment increases the chance of something unexpected happening. Unexpected things can be hard to deal with on psychedelics. Please wait until you at least have a few experiences at the given dosage level before doing things like tripping in very public environments.
😄 7. Wait until you’re in a good mindset
Your trip will likely be easier and more enjoyable if you’re in a good mindstate both on the day, and have been in a good mindset in general in the previous few weeks.
While you’re on psychedelics, you’ll need to give up control and the desire to understand everything that is happening to you.
“Whenever in doubt, turn off your mind, relax, float downstream.”
People are more likely to have challenging experiences (“bad” trips) if they have:
- “Excessive initial apprehension”11
- “Rigid but brittle defensive structures”11
- “Considerable subsurface guilt and conflict”11
- “People who find that the implications posed by the LSD experience are contrary to their basic philosophies become dysphoric,” with examples provided including: people who take LSD to prove that it has no value as a psychiatric tool, or a Zen Buddhist who takes LSD to prove that it does not match the transcendent state achieved through meditation
- “Those whose major defense is paranoid projection”
The above notes are from LSD research, though are likely to apply equally to shrooms.
📝 8. Prepare yourself
😁 Helps maximize positivity.
- Optional but encouraged, buy and read The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide by Fadiman. If you aren’t convinced, listen to this podcast episode with Fadiman and author Tim Ferriss first.
- Review “in plain language the range of experiences that may result from hallucinogen administration, including changes in perception, sense of time and space, and emotion (possibly including anxiety, fear, panic and paranoia).”2
- “A detailed discussion concerning the range of possible hallucinogen effects will enhance safety by psychologically preparing the participant for the unique and often intense effects of a hallucinogen”2
- “The major categories of potential psychological experiences during hallucinogen action should be discussed with the participant. The range of subjective experience under hallucinogens can be remarkably broad (Blewett and Chwelos, 1959; Richards, 1980; Masters and Houston, 1966; Strassman, 2001; Nichols, 2004; Stolaroff, 2004). This range of experiences includes perceptual changes, such as visual illusions, intensification of colours, proprioceptive changes (e.g. one’s body may feel gigantic or tiny), and synesthesia (e.g. seeing sounds or hearing colours). Another type of possible experience is the alteration of emotions, such that emotions of either a positive or negative nature may be greatly intensified, yielding experiences that may range from euphoria to despair. Another category of possible effects involves changes in the sense of time and space. At the extremes, time and/or space may be experienced as infinite or nonexistent. Other experiences may include thoughts, feelings or insights concerning one’s personal history (e.g. revisiting childhood memories) or current life circumstances (e.g. relations with loved ones), highly symbolic experiences (e.g. involving religious symbols, animals, etc.), and experiences described by some to be of a mystical or spiritual nature. Importantly, it should be emphasized that these experiences may consist of much more than the participant subjectively observing internal and external events. Rather, the effects may involve a profound change in one’s sense of self, such that one feels as if he or she is merging into the surrounding environment or the entire universe (Schultes, et al., 2001). The individual may temporarily experience a complete loss of subjective self-identity, a phenomenon sometimes referred to as ‘ego loss’ or ‘ego death’ (e.g. Leary, et al., 1964; Grof and Halifax, 1977; Grof, 1980).”2
- You do not need to read trip reports. “In the Johns Hopkins studies, we have not encouraged participants to read the diverse and widely varying published accounts of hallucinogen effects as part of their preparation, because this may introduce compelling idiosyncratic expectations.”2
- Know how to deal with anxiety or fear
- “Whether the disturbance consists of frightening illusions or internal imagery, difficult thoughts and feelings about some past or present personal issue, or anxiety related to a radical change in sense of self (e.g. temporary loss of self-identity), the volunteer is encouraged to mentally surrender to the experience, trusting that her or his usual state of consciousness will return when the drug effects resolve (Blewett and Chwelos, 1959; Masters and Houston, 1966; McCabe, 1977). For example, if the participant experiences disturbing internal imagery of a demon or monster, he or she is encouraged to mentally approach the figure and interact with it (e.g. imagine asking the figure why it has appeared), rather than attempt to flee from the disturbing imagery. The participant should be alerted that sometimes people experience extremely convincing sensations of dissolving, melting, exploding and so forth, and that the best way to deal with all such situations is to surrender to the experience, subjectively allowing oneself to dissolve, melt or explode. Similar advice applies to physical symptoms such as nausea; for example, participants may be encouraged to ‘dive in’ to their stomachs, which may alleviate the nausea, as it has been suggested anecdotally that nausea and other somatic discomforts may in part be of a psychosomatic nature (Blewett and Chwelos, 1959; Masters and Houston, 1966).”2
- Know that it can take around three hours to reach peak effects on shrooms after ingestion, and that it’s not entirely uncommon for the effects to last for ~8-9 hours, and for you to feel somewhat different for the next two days12
- Know that “there is a relatively small risk of adverse effects that last for hours to days after the hallucinogen session. These include mood disorders (such as depression), psychotic disorders and anxiety disorders. It should also state that there are rare reports in which hallucinogen exposure appears to cause, accelerate or precipitate the onset of significant or lasting psychiatric illnesses such as psychoses and intermittent or persisting visual perceptual abnormalities (‘flashbacks’, HPPD).”2
- Know the “various potential physical sensations, such as nausea or heightened awareness of physiological processes, such as breathing and heartbeat,” and you “are encouraged to trust that their bodies will continue to function properly regardless of such sensations, and that these bodily processes will continue without the volunteers’ volitional control.”2
- Build “rapport and trust” with your future sitter, “which we believe helps minimize the risk of fear or anxiety reactions during the hallucinogen session.”2
- Make a 10 hour music playlist. Some psychedelic music ideas here.
- Set your intentions, but don’t have expectations
- An LSD (still relevant to mushrooms) user: “Spend an hour or two in nature the day before. I prefer to be alone and contemplate my intentions: why am I taking LSD? Do I want to reconnect to my artistic side? Do I want to explore the meaning of life? Do I want to slow down and just be in the moment? Do I want to watch Electric Sheep visualizers and play with glow sticks? These are very different than expectations, of which I’d suggest having none. Detailed plans tend to cause me stress. I once packed a backpack for three days before a trip, going as far as to draw a cross-section diagram to locate everything while peaking. I was fucking ready. Then I ate the acid and ended up watching ladybugs and grasshoppers and the clouds for a good four hours. I never even opened the bag. Intentions are good. Expectations are bad.”
🎧 9. Optional: Wear eyeshades and headphones
😁 Helps maximize positivity.
Eyeshades and headphones can make it safer. “The employment of eyeshades and headphones (through which supportive music is played) may contribute to safety by reducing the distractions of environmental stimuli and social pressures to verbally interact with research personnel. This may be especially important for volunteers who are experiencing the effects of a hallucinogen for the first time.”2
“Typically, we have kept eyeshades and headphones in place for most of the session. In the latter hours of the session some time is spent with the volunteer sitting on the couch, interacting without eyeshades and headphones, although music may still be played through speakers to provide nonverbal structure and continuity.”2
🙏 10. Respect psychedelics
Have an appreciation for how powerful the psychological effects of psychedelics can be.2
Don’t trip again until you’ve completely integrated your previous trip into your life.
🗓 11. Don’t trip again until you feel your previous trip has been fully integrated into your normal life
😁 Helps maximize positivity.
Integration involves taking your experience and trying to get positive benefits from it in your daily life.
Make no major decisions until at least a day or two, perhaps a little longer.11
If needed, check out this list of psychedelic integration service offerings.
- There are some supplements that may help you further reduce the risk of a bad trip. See supplements for psychedelics like LSD and shrooms.
📅 Follow these tips for the day of your trip
- You should give your phone to the sitter2
- No driving for the remainder of the day once you ingest the substance2
- Treat psychedelics as a two day experience. So if you’re doing shrooms, try and do it when there is a holiday the day after, or do it on a Saturday so you can rest on Sunday.
- Get 8+ hours of sleep the night before and the night after.
- Make sure you have zero responsibilities for the day (and ideally the day after, too, and even better if also true for the day before or at least a few hours the day before to prepare and set intentions)
- Get some light food, perhaps some fruit and a kombucha
- Eat a good and healthy meal 1-2 hrs before you trip (perhaps some eggs or oatmeal), as you will not have much of an appetite while tripping
- Consider buying/finding a candle, “family photographs, a mirror, artistic objects, flowers, and other beautiful natural or manmade objects” to have available to look at while tripping
- If you normally drink coffee in the morning, consider having a cup of caffeinated tea instead (will have slightly less caffeine, and also adds L-theanine should moderate some of the caffeine induced stimulation13)
- Lean into the discomfort. (Alternatively: “Whenever in doubt, turn off your mind, relax, float downstream.”)
- Cool things to play with: eutow, and this fluid simulator
What are the best activities for a Shroom trip?
- For fun and entertainment
- Enjoying nature
- Hanging out with friends
- For significance
- Looking at lit candles, “family photographs, a mirror, artistic objects, flowers, and other beautiful natural or manmade objects”
What if I’m concerned about my own use or a loved one’s use of shrooms?
Please read this free guide: the 20 minute guide. It’s for parents, but it applies to friends, etc. There’s also a separate version for romantic partners.
Alternatively, there’s a full book version of the same guide called “Beyond Addiction” which is excellent, or you can buy the PDF of the 20 minute guide.
If you prefer video content and have access to HBO, please watch the HBO Documentary ‘Addiction.’
Please start with the above resources, even if you’re ready for treatment.
What about taking higher doses?
This advice seems pretty helpful for taking high doses on this reddit thread.
The Trip Sitter Guide
Read the psychedelic trip sitter guide.
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EntheoGuide: “In a study of nearly a hundred people who took a psychedelic, guided as outlined in this manual, seventy-eight percent reported, “It was the greatest experience of my life.” This response was true even for those people who had taken a psychedelic many times before.”
- Nutt, D. J., King, L. A., & Phillips, L. D. (2010, November 01). Drug harms in the UK: A multicriteria decision analysis. The Lancet, 376(9752), 1558-1565. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(10)61462-6 [return]
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3056407/ [return]
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- https://erowid.org/chemicals/lsd/lsd_interactions.shtml [return]
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3308357/ [return]
- http://www.csp.org/psilocybin/PressRelease201106.pdf [return]
- https://books.google.com/books?id=IzGYBAAAQBAJ&pg=PT2219&lpg=PT2219&source=bl&ots=ReA7Jh7m0V&sig=S7Z_j70OS7__5BmvYArlyLlYhi4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjaiLaVwt7TAhUmi1QKHWuhAoYQ6AEIQjAD#v=onepage&q&f=false [return]
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27578767 [return]
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3308357/table/T1/ [return]
- https://youtu.be/RBCZZpIT-3o?t=14m12s [return]
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/13811003, PDF [return]
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16826400 [return]
- https://examine.com/supplements/theanine/ [return]