If you’re reading this, then chances are you’re familiar with what we’re about to talk about. With that being said, a review of the fundamentals of practicing the safe use of psychedelics is a topic that should be reviewed every time you dose a psychedelic to make sure that you get the most benefit with the least risk of consequences – be they physical or psychological.
Let’s go over the three main aspects to get right if you plan to use a psychedelic like psilocybin mushrooms.
Understand Your Dose
Before doing anything with the explicit goal of altering your consciousness, there are a few things you should probably know about potency and effect.
First, tolerances and sensitivities vary from person to person. A dose of 2g for example might have a different potency between two individuals who seemingly took the same amount. Weight, sex, and age don’t seem to be factors, however. Variances may likely be neurologically based.
The dose is broken down into three categories: microdose (100mg of a dried psilocybin mushroom), mediandose (150mg – 1g), and macrodose (1.5g+). There’s some debate with these numbers, but typically most people start to feel effects after 1g of dried mushrooms. As the potency goes up, so do the range and intensity of the effects.
Another factor to dosing is the mushroom itself. Different strains vary slightly in potency (between 0.63% and 1.75% on the high end). Not only that but from mushroom to mushroom there is also a slight variance since no two individual mushrooms, even if they are from the same species, have the exact same psilocybin/psilocin content.
Lastly, duration of effect. Most of the time, a person will experience peak effects for roughly 3 to 4 hours, although there can be variances. Generally, however, unless you’ve personally experienced otherwise, it is recommended to take this time of effect as a baseline estimate.
Set and Setting
The next critical factor in practicing the safe use of psychedelic mushrooms is to do them in a place in which you feel safe, with the right group of people, or if you prefer, alone.
This might sound simple, but it can be a bit tricky to navigate how to make these choices if you don’t have the right knowledge or guidance.
To get a better understanding of what these terms mean, let’s break them down.
Set refers to a person’s frame of mind: the beliefs they have, their hopes, fears, personality traits, and cultural background. All these factors determine how a person is likely to experience a trip internally.
The setting is the space around the or the group of individuals who will be taking the magic mushrooms.
An ideal setting depends entirely on what the goal of the trip is. If it’s something done in let’s say a recreational setting, then maybe on a hike, or when playing video games with friends might be the best fit for it. If the goal is personal development, then maybe alone in a quiet and peaceful space at home or in nature would be best.
This aspect of tripping is highly individual, so to get the most out of whatever your goal may be, take some time to first figure out what that might be, who you are, and what you’re looking to get out of dosing.
Finally, we have a safety plan. This aspect of planning is the failsafe that safeguards the rest. Although typically more passive than proactive, having a way to access a safe environment on demande will provide you with a sense of security that will start your trip off with peace of mind from the very beginning.
For example, designating a room, a space, or having someone on standby for emotional support are fantastic tools that should always be ready and accessible to all individuals who might need them if something challenging happens from a psychological point of view when tripping on mushrooms.
Nothing fancy needs to be done here. So long as whatever is set up provides a soothing sense of comfort, then that is all that is needed.
As enjoyable and liberating as taking psychedelic mushrooms can be, it’s important to take stock of the dose you’re taking, the mindset you’re in and the setting you’ll be taking part in, and finally to have a plan you can fall back on that will allow you to feel more at ease, even if for no other reason than you know you have a plan even if it is unlikely to be needed.
Manual fo Psychedelic Guides, Haden (2021)