What Are Psychedelics?
‘Psychedelics’ is a category of narcotic drugs. These substances are very potent and are not to be messed around with. Psychedelic substances are best known for their hallucinogenic properties that create changes in mood, perception, cognitive processes, the five senses, and more.
Psychedelics affect all the senses, altering a persons experience of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. While experiencing these distorted versions of your 5 senses, you may also experience them getting mixed up. It may sound crazy, but these hallucination can cause someone to, for example, smell a color, or taste a sound.
The different types of hallucinations these substances can produce ranges from auditorial, to visual, to internal. When ingested, these hallucinations cause seeing/hearing things that do not exist or are largely distorted.
Keep in mind that these effects only occur when a specific dosage is exceeded. You can take smaller, non-psychoactive dosages of these substances as well. The dosage various from compound to compound. This is referred to as Microdosing and holds it’s own unique list of benefits.
These substances can be used for recreational purposes as well as a tool to help better an individual’s outlook on life. There is a long history of misinformation spread about psychedelics. For years, the government swore that they would make you go absolutely crazy, and that you would jump out of a building if you took them. Of course, this is an inaccurate claim and nowadays more people are coming to terms with the fact that our governments have been lying to use for decades about these substances.
These compounds, and their reasons for usage, have gone through a lot of phases over time.
Not very long ago, they were most commonly created/used for human experiments, conducted by the government. After the word got out, and they became more accessible, they became very commonly used in the party/festival scenes around the world. Today, they are still used in all of these settings, however, scientists, therapists, and neurologists everywhere are coming to the realization that there may be more we can get out of these substances than we once thought.
What are the different types of Psychedelics? Where do they come from?
There are numerous kinds of different psychedelics. Some of these occur naturally, coming from trees, fungi, leaves and seeds. While many occur from natural matter, others are made in laboratories. One of the most popular psychedelics, LSD, is manufactured from it’s active ingredient, Lysergic Acid, which is found in ergot fungus that grows on specific types of grains. All drugs come from plants/nature, as does everything on this planet, of course. However, when it comes to Lysergamides, Tryptamines, etc, there is often laboratory synthesis included in it’s production.
These substances are extremely potent, meaning a very small amount will go a very long way. In 2020, the list of psychedelics has grown into hundreds and the list is only expanding as chemists discover more compounds. Here is a very short list of 5 of the most known psychedelics today:
- Psilocybin, a naturally occurring compound that can be found in mushrooms that grow in many different parts of the world.
- LSD, (Lysergic-Acid-Diethylamide) made from a substance found in ergot fungus that infects different types of grain.
- Mescaline, derived from the Mexican San Pedro cactus with effects that are comparable to LSD.
- DMT (Dimethyltryptamine), a chemical substance that occurs in many plants and animals.
- Ayahuasca, a South American brew that is commonly made out of the Banisteriopsis Caapi Vine and other ingredients.
What does it feel like to take Psychedelics?
While the effects of psychedelics are very comparable, they definitely differ from compound to compound. More experienced ‘psychonauts’ swear they all hold completely unique effects. While some effects of a specific substance may be strong than others, similar symptoms can occur during the ‘peak’.
Effects that may occur:
- Feelings of strong euphoria
- Sense of deep relaxation, well-being, and safety
- Seeing and hearing is alarmingly distorted
- Great Confusion Over Simple Concepts
- Time Distortion
- Severe Clumsiness
- Irregular Body Temperature Regulation
- Vomiting Or Nausea
- Distorted Depth Perception
- Concept Of ‘Self’ Is Lost
- Colour Saturation/Morphing
- Physical Surroundings Melting or Breathing
- Overwhelming Sense Of Oneness
- Rushing Sensation Throughout The Body
- All 5 senses Are Increased & Dramatically Distorted
- Incapability To Speak Correctly
- Physically Impaired
Overall, some of these effects come stronger than others. How your ‘trip’ goes massively depends on your mood that day, your dosage, your physical surroundings and the company you keep throughout the duration of your trip.
What are good and bad trips?
If you are looking for a more therapeutic outcome, try tripping in a safe, clean, and comfortable setting that isn’t too busy or distracting. Make sure you trip with people that you truly trust and feel comfortable around. Try to make sure there is a sober person present to play the role of the ‘trip sitter’ in case anyone begins to have a ‘bad trip’.
A ‘bad trip’ can easily occur, which is simply frightening and often disturbing. This can leave to unpredictable behaviours/functions, and sometimes, pure panic and/or terror. Since this is a possible risk when taking psychedelics, it is so important to have a ‘trip sitter’ present for harm reduction reasons. It is easy to go ‘down the rabbit hole’ when experiencing a ‘bad trip’. Having someone you trust to look after you can be very grounding and sometimes prevent a ‘bad trip’ from even happening in the first place.
Just as a ‘bad trip’ can occur, so can an amazing one.
A successful trip looks like lots of uncontrollable laughter, perhaps tears of joy, and expressive behaviours. A psychedelic experience can be one of the most profound and impactful things that can happen to an individual. This experience is so incredibly unique and somewhat indescribable. I can sit here and type all I want about how psychedelics feel, but in truth, the only way to truly understand the psychedelic experience is to have one yourself.
Many individuals swear that taking psychedelics saved them from very dark times in their life. It is not uncommon for someone to state that taking psychedelics ‘changed their life forever’ in a good way.
In no way, shape, or form, do psychedelics simply fix any of your problems. They seem to be more effective when you use them as a tool to come to helpful realizations that may assist you in an area of your life that you struggle processing. Psychedelics are even powerful enough to help treat depression, PTSD, anxiety, and many other mental disorders. As time goes on, modern-day science is allowing more studies to be conducted on how psychedelics can be used to help mentally ill patients retrieve their purpose in life and heal from past wounds.
Psychedelics can be used in a recreational setting
Psychedelics have without a doubt changed the way we look at consciousness, existence, and reality. Until very recently, there has been a lot of negativity and taboo surrounding psychedelics. A lot of false information has been spread about these magical compounds for decades. Still to this day, most of these substances are classed as illegal drugs, making it very hard for people to purchase them safely. Since these are illegal in most places, it also makes it very hard for legitimate studies to be conducted, making our progress in this field go slower than necessary.
Despite all of this, psychedelics, their usage, and positive implications are being more normalized as people everywhere are accepting the undeniable benefits these very peculiar compounds hold.
Perhaps I am being a bit too optimistic, but I can only see the taboo of psychedelics disappearing more and more as we move towards a more open-minded way of life. There is no way that something so incredibly beneficial will never be recognized.
You don’t have to do psychedelics yourself to support the psychedelic movement, either. By simply educating yourself on the past, present and estimated future of psychedelics, you are a helpful part of this community. This goes for psychedelics and any other psychoactive substances. At the end of the day, informing yourself and others about safe drug usage (vs expanding taboo) is the best harm reduction method to this day.
The world of psychedelics is a very intriguing one. Hopefully, the rest of the world will accept and focus on the benefits of these substances. The fact is, we are lucky to be alive during a time where these things exist. We can only move forward from here
* The objective of this article is specifically for speculation and discussion of psychedelics. I do not condone or encourage the consumption of any illegal substances. Please use this information to further your education on these substances in a responsible matter. *
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