How to Prepare for Psychedelic Experience

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    • #2575

      If you’re thinking about taking psychedelics, it’s important that you prepare yourself mentally and physically beforehand so that you can have the best possible experience. That’s why we created this forum for people who want to learn how to prepare themselves properly before taking any psychedelics. Join our community today and asking questions and sharing stories.

      If you’d like to do some reading, we have substance-specific articles like How to Prepare for the Best Shroom Trip Possible, or you can do some general reading by checking out Psychedelic Set and Setting.


      – The Psychable Team

    • #5545
      Andrew Lepper

      I’m very passionate about harm reduction and love finding new places to share some tips I’ve compiled after many trips! I’m in some psychedelic facebook groups and get very frustrated with the lack of general concern for harm reduction so I originally made this list for those groups. These help me, I hope they can help someone else.

      1. If it’s your first time tripping, you don’t yet feel comfortable exploring, or your first time after a bad experience, keep your set and setting small and grow from there. I prefer to start from a bedroom or living room and branch out to larger spaces as I feel comfortable. Don’t start with a walk around the neighborhood right at the come-up when you don’t yet know what you’re getting yourself into. It can be overwhelming and there is PLENTY of time to explore.

      2. Grounding techniques are the most useful thing I’ve learned for controlling a trip and keeping in a good direction. If you notice yourself getting lost/confused/overwhelmed try naming some parts of your face (nose, eyes, mouth, ears) and point to them. Remind yourself, out loud, who you are, where you are, and name some of the things around you. These simple tricks work absolute wonders at keeping things running smoothly.

      3. Sunflower/pumpkin seeds help reduce come-up anxiety.

      4. If you’re overwhelmed by your environment, just look up. Stare at the ceiling or sky. Bedrooms are a great safe space and music does wonders.

      5. Have a meal before you drop. My first bad trip started because I was hungry and felt sick. Hunger and appetite suppression don’t mix well. A healthy meal will have you feeling way better.

      6. Pay attention to your water intake. I’ll start sweating and think I need water after I’m already 2 or 3 cups down by hour 1. That can also cause nausea. When I feel like I could pass out from the sweating/nausea I remind myself how much water I’ve taken in and feel better after I understand what’s happening. I usually keep half a gallon or so for a trip.

      8. Clean up before your trip. You don’t want to freak out because something needs to be cleaned then go through the chaos of trying to clean it. Accept that you will make messes and if you do, ask what is absolutely necessary to take care of immediately or if you’ll be fine leaving it for a few hours.

      9. Know what to have on hand and know exactly where they are. Have your snacks and drinks ready. Safety kit, trip toys, chapstick, change of clothes, phone, charger, trip-killers. Cleaning helps a lot in preparing whatever you need.

      10. If you get lost or are afraid of getting lost, remember your phone can always take you home.

      11. Have your spaces set up. Think you’ll go sit outside? Have chairs or a blanket already set up. Think you’ll want to paint? Have your supplies ready.

      12. Bluetooth speakers? Connect your phone before you forget how to. I can barely change the playlist and setting up speakers is such a chaotic task for me.

      13. Keep your tasks simple. If you need to grab something, move something or clean something focus on that task until it’s done. Don’t try to do multiple things at once. Keeping quiet during a task helps from getting distracted.

      14. If you need to do something, just get up and do it. If I’m panicking because I want my water but I feel like I’m trapped in mid-conversation or can’t get the message across that I need to do that, just get up, complete that task, then go back to whatever you were doing. You can get caught on something as dumb as “I need to put this in the other room” why? Idk but if you can’t get it out of your head just do it.

      15. Communication is key. It can be really easy to come off as rude if you need to do something or take care of your needs over the other person(s). Have that conversation before and communicate what you can during the trip. My gf will sometimes get uneasy when we’re cuddling and I can’t keep still because I can’t get comfortable. I would just ask “is it ok if I move my arm” to warn her in advance, which helps us both.

      16. Sometimes music/media can make someone uneasy. If I’m in control of the music or remote, I’ll just remind my group that it’s fine if they need to change the song or fast-forward through a scene.

      17. Trip toys are great at keeping you entertained and sane. My favorite are my slinky and magnets.

      18. If you can get xanax, have xanax on hand. 1-2mg will kill a trip within 30ish minutes. If you have to take one, just find a spot and stay there until it’s over. If you can’t find or don’t want to use trip killers, just try to find a spot to sit or lay down until the trip ends.

      19. If you’re taking LSD, have a damn test kit. You never know what you’re getting and most of your street vendors don’t know what they have. “Double/triple-dipped” means absolutely nothing. If they can’t tell you the dosage, be extremely cautious. An Ehrlich test is $15. Just buy one.

      20. Commit to the initial dose. It’s better to be underwhelmed than overwhelmed. The trip comes in waves. If you think you should take more, don’t. I’ve had plenty of friends ask for more because “I’m not tripping anymore” then 20 minutes later they’re cracking up at a pattern in the floor.

      21. Have a recovery day planned because you might feel like absolute trash the next day.

      I’m sure there are plenty more things to consider and everyone is different in what steps they need to take. My trip checklist sounds like a lot to some people but you’re better off being over-prepared than under-prepared. Hope this helps!

    • #5914
      Dave Ranger

      This is super helpful.  I am a newbie and considering doing what I would call a “guided session”  with a friend.  Would you agree that it is best to do this with an experienced person first rather than trying on our own or will having the two of us in the room be good enough?

      • #5935
        Andrew Lepper

        I would say it’s always best to have that experience with someone who at the very least knows what to expect. If you’re at the point where you two are already looking into this, you will probably be fine if they’re experienced or not. Just have them do some more research on what to do when a friend trips. Having a sober person is always extremely helpful!

        Another tip is to have them check in on you every now and then with a question as simple as “you good?” Sometimes I’ll have people ask me where I’m at on a scale of 1-10, and I would recommend not doing that. I get even more lost when I have to start thinking about a specific number like that.

        With plenty of preparation, you should be perfectly fine! Always remember to test your tabs and know they’re clean. When you know they’re clean, you know they can’t hurt you. Have a nice trip!

    • #6524
      Shea Prueger

      I think it depends on what psychedelic you are feeling called to – I know my first experiences with psilocybin were with good friends in good atmospheres and that seemed to be good enough for me at the time, but with time, I have also learned the value in spending time with experienced professionals. It allows you to really get the most out of the experience and if something challenging comes up, it doesn’t have to be majorly traumatic! So while I had some fun experiences with friends and mushrooms — I also had one really, really hard experience that would scare me off of them for years afterward. I definitely wish I had a professional or someone experienced within reach for that trip!

      There are some medicines that should *always* be done with a professional, like ibogaine. 🙂

    • #7111
      Bill Walker

      I am going to focus entirely on ketamine as that is my only experience. I’m sharing my “best practices” based on about a dozen sessions over the past 6 months.

      1. I get the most powerful effect by fasting for at least 14 hours before my session.
      2. I use a blackout mask.
      3. I take 2 or 3 lozenges of 100 mg each.
      4. I melt the lozenges in my mouth. I then move my tongue up and down to enhance sublingual absorption. I keep moving my tongue and I go out of my way to “scrub” the sublingual space with my tongue.
      5. I hold the melted lozenges in my mouth for 20 minutes. I keep “swishing” and swallow at the end. I use a timer on my watch to manage the 20 minutes. It is set to vibrate so that I can get feedback without looking.
      6. I use noise cancelling earbuds and listen to a ketamine assisted therapy playlist. My current favorites are available on Spotify. “KAP Rose” and “K Wanderings”
      7. It is helpful to write an intention for the session prior to starting. For me, the only intention that really helps is to plan to be completely free of responsibility and to allow the journey to carry me wherever it is going to go.
      8. I have a ton of water handy so that I can drink when I start to surface from the experience.
      9. It is probably really helpful to have some gatorade ready, but I’ve not prepared that well yet.
      10. I lay in bed in really comfortable clothes / pajamas when I do this.
      11. As a frame of reference, I am a 6’2″ male who weighs about 210 pounds.

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