Introduction to Psychedelics and Psychedelic Culture

Introduction to Psychedelics and Psychedelic Culture

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Within the dawning psychedelic renaissance, mystical experiences induced by psychedelics can now be methodically examined with the tools of science. Researchers are learning more and more about how psychedelics affect the brain and their wide-ranging medical benefits in controlled clinical trials. However, humans have been using plants and fungi to alter consciousness in shamanistic settings long before scientists began investigating its chemical and medicinal properties. This is an introduction to psychedelics and psychedelic culture.

In this article, we will explore the history, culture, and meaning of psychedelics. We’ll also review the various types of psychedelics, and end with current research and clinical work on psychedelic therapy, unveiling the wide array of therapeutic benefits offered by these extraordinary substances.

Overview

Over the last half-century, several terms have been devised to describe substances that produce radical changes in consciousness. The multitude of labels reflects the ongoing and sometimes contentious conversation around these substances and their wide-ranging effects.

Psychedelic Definition

The term psychedelic was originally coined by British psychiatrist Humphrey Osmond in a 1957 letter to Aldous Huxley. The etymology of the word psychedelic is derived from two ancient Greek words, psyche meaning “mind” or “soul” and delos meaning “to reveal or manifest”. Thus, psychedelic literally means “mind manifesting” or “soul manifesting”. This term was embraced by the 1960s counterculture and is the most commonly used today. It accurately reflects that these molecules can show us what the mind is capable of, revealing subconscious dimensions not otherwise accessible to ordinary waking consciousness.

Initially, hallucinogen was the most common term and is still often used interchangeably with psychedelic. Hallucinogen broadly refers to substances that produce hallucinations. However, the term isn’t as inclusive as ‘psychedelic’, as hallucinogens do many other things besides produce hallucinations. In fact, many of the substances we’ll discuss don’t produce full-fledged hallucinations at commonly used dosages. In addition, hallucinations may be a negative symptom of other mental phenomena, including, for example, certain mental disorders and sleep deprivation. 

While hallucinogen captures the potential visual aspect of the psychedelic experience, “entheogen” is a more recent term that highlights the divine dimensions of these substances and their ability to facilitate spiritual development. This term has its origins in Greek and literally means “generating the divine within.” Entheogen was popularized in 1979 by a group of ethnobotanists and mythologists that included Richard Evan Schultes, R. Gordon Wasson, Jonathan Ott, and Carl Ruck. 

‘Entheogen’ underscores the ability of these substances to produce visceral experiences of the divine, and also reflects their importance in sacred contexts. This includes its use in religious ceremonies as sacraments or for divination and healing. These practices that date back millennia, even before written history. In this way, the term helps draw attention towards their ancient spiritual role and away from their psychotomimetic (psychosis-mimicking) and recreational baggage.

What is Psychedelic?

The term psychedelic has taken on its own cultural life, sometimes broadly referred to as psychedelia, which typically conveys the nature or essence of the psychedelic experience in a variety of forms. Over the decades, the psychedelic state of mind has liberally infused into styles of art, clothing, music (which may emulate the psychedelic experience itself), and much more. 

Commonly, the term harkens back to the subversive counterculture of the 1960s, where psychedelics produced an expansion of awareness not just in the personal realms but in the community-based realms of politics, sociology, and more. 

Psychedelics are described by Terence Mckenna as “cultural deconditioning agents.” This made them particularly threatening to established hierarchical structures in society during the 60s. They caused a lot of people to question things that were just accepted, such as the status of women, minorities, homosexuals, political conflicts, and environmental problems facing humanity as a whole. In this way, psychedelics played a pivotal role in catalyzing contemporary feminism, the civil rights movement, the antiwar movement, and the environmental movement. 

What Are Psychedelics?

Broadly speaking, psychedelics are substances capable of expanding consciousness beyond normal modes of perception. In the 1954 book The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley describes the brain as a mental filter, or “reducing valve”, which allows the passage of only a “measly trickle of the kind of consciousness” required for survival. He states psychedelics allow the reducing valve to open, temporarily granting access to the vastness of conscious experience and the universal “Mind at Large.” 

Understood this way, psychedelics are consumed not to have a drug experience, but to have a fully human experience. Psychedelics may act as transformative teaching tools, expanding awareness and opening up novel perspectives not otherwise available to the confines of the narrow ego. They allow us to step out of our narrow reference frame and drop into a broader reference frame encompassing other people and our individual place in the interconnected community. 

When used under the right circumstances, they can catalyze significant personal transformation, opening up dimensions of openness in the personality and ultimately making us more tolerable and happier in the long term. However, it’s worth noting that like anything powerful, psychedelics have the potential to be misused, a fact which warrants careful and responsible experimentation.

What About Psychedelic Drugs?

While humans have been using psychedelics for time immemorial, over the last half century, psychedelic molecules have been isolated and quantified with the tools of science. 

Psychedelics can be broadly divided into two different categories, the phenethylamines and the tryptamines. The phenethylamine psychedelics have a ring structure that resembles the stress hormone norepinephrine. The best known phenethylamine is mescaline, derived from the peyote cactus of the American Southwest. MDMA is also a phenethylamine, but it is classified as an entactogen, rather than a psychedelic (though it has psychedelic-like properties).

On the other hand, the tryptamine psychedelics have a chemical structure that closely resembles the endogenous neurotransmitter serotonin. The tryptamine psychedelics include LSD, psilocybin, ibogaine, and DMT

Overall, the psychedelic drugs share a similar mechanism of action, all exerting their primary effects on the brain’s serotonin system. 

Psychedelic Trip

The psychedelic trip is a highly variable experience depending foremost on the psychedelic consumed and the dose taken. For instance, microdosing LSD may lead to heightened energy and creativity, whereas macrodoses, and especially “heroic” doses, may lead to full-blown mystical experiences. 

In general, mystical experiences have several common attributes. This includes:

  • Internal and external unity (ego death)
  • Transcendence of time and space
  • A sense of sacredness
  • Euphoria
  • Ineffability
  • Paradoxicality
  • A “noetic quality”, or an enduring conviction that important truths or insights have been revealed.

Besides the drug taken, the quality of a psychedelic trip is highly sensitive to “set and setting”. The term set and setting is attributed to Timothy Leary and refers to the inner and outer environments in which a psychedelic experience takes place. “Set” is short for mindset, or the mental landscape that is brought to the experience. This includes our unique personal history, our present psychological makeup, and our future expectations, all of which influence the drug’s effects.

The “setting” is the physical and social environment and atmosphere in which the experience takes place. With either of these factors out of balance, the psychedelic experience has a higher chance of going undesirably, to say the least.

History of Psychedelics

The use of plants, mushrooms, and animals for their psychedelic properties predates written history, and possibly even the emergence of Homo sapiens. Psychedelics have played an integral role in ancient cultures throughout the world. Within these cultures, they’ve been fundamental to healing, inspiring artistic and spiritual creativity, maintaining social solidarity, and opening up realms of the imagination not otherwise accessible. 

Over the past half-century in the United States, psychedelics have undergone a peculiar evolution in the mainstream from being wonder drugs, to horror-inducing chemicals, to nothing, and now recently, back towards wonder drugs with exciting therapeutic applications.

It’s important to note that the deficiency of research on psychedelics in the past half-century wasn’t a result of a lack of scientific interest, but instead happened as a result of political forces that manifested in the 1960s and 1970s. Indeed, in the mid-20th century, psychedelic research demonstrated extraordinary potential for mental disorders and addiction, particularly alcoholism. In addition, LSD’s effects on the serotonin system transformed our understanding of neurotransmitter receptor systems, ushering in the modern era of biological psychiatry.

However, once LSD escaped the laboratory and became widespread in the anti-establishment counterculture of the 1960s, the US Congress passed a law in 1970 that made LSD and other psychedelics illegal, classifying them as Schedule I substances with high potential for abuse and no accepted medical uses. An effective smear campaign accompanied the 1970 passage of the Controlled Substances Act, which instilled fear and anxiety with scare stories and other negative propaganda aimed at undermining their therapeutic value. With that, research money dried up, and highly effective research was ground to a halt despite psychedelics being a psychiatric linchpin for decades.

Scientific research into psychedelics has excitedly accelerated in recent years and scientists are more and more eager to reconsider the therapeutic potential of these drugs. A new renaissance of clinical research is taking place in several universities across the United States. Psilocybin has been center stage in this recent resurgence of psychedelic interest, in part because it lacks the countercultural baggage that LSD has.

Armed with a brief historical rundown of psychedelics, let’s take a look at the major types.

Types of Psychedelics

The following sections highlight the various types of psychedelics that are commonly used to produce a psychedelic experience. Reality Sandwich has comprehensive substance guides for most, if not all, of the following psychedelics mentioned.

Psychedelic Mushrooms

Psilocybin mushrooms

There are more than 200 species of mushrooms that contain the psychoactive compounds psilocybin and psilocin. Psilocybin is the main psychoactive compound that binds to and activates serotonin 5-HT2A receptors in the brain. Upon ingestion, the body removes a phosphorus atom from psilocybin, which turns it into psilocin. 

The most commonly consumed and cultivated psilocybin-containing mushrooms come from the Psilocybe genus, which comprises approximately 200 gilled mushrooms, roughly half of which contain psilocybin and psilocin. Psilocybes can be found growing in the wild throughout the world. Some of the most common include Psilocybe cubensis, Psilocybe cyanescens, Psilocybe semilanceata, Psilocybe azurescens, and Psilocybe aztecorum. The Aztecs referred to the last one as “teonanácatl” or “flesh of the gods.” Several other genera contain psilocybin such as Inocybe, Gymnopilus, and Panaeolus.

While psilocybin has made a recent resurgence in human clinical trials for treating end-of-life anxiety, addiction, and mood disorders, their use in religious and spiritual ceremonies extends millennia beyond this, even predating recorded history.

Amanita Muscaria

Amanita muscaria, also known as the Fly Agaric, is a red-capped, white-speckled mushroom that forms symbiotic relationships to fir and birch trees. This mushroom has a long history of ancient use, particularly in Siberian shamanism and European folklore. 

The ethnomycologist R. Gordon Wasson found that it was a critical component in the Vedic brew called soma, a brew used in ancient Indian religious ceremonies for over 4,000 years. Rather than psilocybin, its psychedelic properties are conferred by muscimol and ibotenic acid.

Psychedelic Plants

Salvia 

Salvia divinorum, or commonly “Salvia”, is a perennial plant of the mint (Lamiaceae) family native to the Sierra Mazateca highlands in Oaxaca, Mexico. It has a long history of use as a divinatory psychedelic by the Mazatec shamans, who consume it for religious and spiritual healing purposes. 

Over a thousand species of Salvia have been documented, but only Salvia divinorum possesses psychoactive properties due to the presence of a diterpenoid known as salvinorin A in the leaves. Salvinorin A was identified in the 1990s by a team of ethnobotanists led by Daniel Siebert. It is classified as a dissociative hallucinogen and produces its short-lasting effects by binding to kappa opioid receptors. The leaves are typically smoked, chewed, or ingested in the form of an infusion. 

Ibogaine

Ibogaine is a psychedelic tryptamine found in plants of the Apocynaceaea family, such as Tabernanthe iboga, Voacanga africana, and Tabernaemontana undulata. The molecule was first synthesized in 1956, but it has a long history of natural use in African spiritual ceremonies, particularly within the Pygmy tribe of Central Africa. 

Ibogaine is most commonly prepared by extracting it from the roots of the iboga shrub, native to West Africa. In small doses, it acts as a mild stimulant. At larger doses, it acts as a potent dissociative psychedelic, producing effects that are described initially as dreamlike and visionary, then later on as introspective. Once consumed, the effects can last up to 24 hours. Research has shown ibogaine contains significant anti-addictive properties, especially for opioid addiction, cravings, and withdrawal. Ibogaine produces its effects by interacting with multiple neurotransmitter systems.

N,N-DMT

N,N-dimethyltryptamine is a tryptamine molecule present in a wide variety of plants and produced endogenously by the pineal gland in animals. DMT produces an intense, rapid-onset, and short-lasting trip sometimes called the “businessman’s trip.”

It has been used by various cultures as an entheogen and sacrament in religious ceremonies. N,N-DMT can be inhaled, ingested, or injected, and like the other tryptamine psychedelics, binds to serotonin 5-HT receptors. In the 1990s, the psychiatrist Rick Strassman extensively studied N,N-DMT and nicknamed it “the Spirit Molecule.”

Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca is a Quechua word that translates to “vine of souls” or “vine of the dead”. It is a prepared psychedelic beverage made from a synergistic gathering of plants native to the Amazon basin. This includes Psychotria viridis and Banisteriopsis caapi, whose tissues are rich in DMT and beta-carboline alkaloids, respectively. 

The DMT (N,N-dimethyltryptamine) found in Psychotria viridis (chacruna) is deactivated by digestive enzymes when taken alone, but Banisteriopsis caapi prevents this through its action as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). Ayahuasca plays an integral and ongoing role in the spiritual life of indigenous people in the montane rain forest of South America.  

5-MeO-DMT

5-MeO-DMT (5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine) is a potent, short-lasting psychedelic compound naturally found in certain plants native to South America as well as in the venom of the Sonoran desert toad (Incilius alvarius) found in northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. 

5-MeO-DMT derived from plants like Anadenanthera peregrina (yopo) is typically made into a snuff, while the toad venom is typically smoked. 5-MeO-DMT is used as a sacrament in South America. The compound was first synthesized in 1936 and not made illegal until 75 years later.

Psychedelic Cactus

San Pedro

San Pedro cactus, or Echinopsis pachanoi, is a cactus native to the Andes mountains in South America but cultivated in many other parts of the world. It is a fast-growing, columnar cactus that contains a wide variety of psychedelic alkaloids, but most notably mescaline. 

Historically, San Pedro has been used by Andean shamans in religious ceremonies, who called it materia prima, or “primordial soup of the cosmos”. Its psychedelic effects, which last up to 10 hours, are described as stimulatory and empathogenic.  

Peyote

Peyote (Lophophora williamsii) is a small, spineless New World cactus native to Southern Texas and Mexico. Like San Pedro, Peyote’s main psychoactive component is mescaline, which was isolated from peyote in the 1890s by German chemists. The peyote buttons are typically eaten whole in dried form or made into a tea. 

The effects of peyote are similar to LSD and psilocybin and typically last four to eight hours. Peyote is commonly used by Native American shamans in religious ceremonies. Indeed, ceremonial use of peyote by Native Americans is legal under federal law with the 1978 passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act.

Peruvian torch

Peruvian torch (Echinopsis peruviana) is a columnar cactus native to Peru, along the western slope of the Andes. Peruvian torch closely resembles San Pedro and is also known for its quick growth rate. 

Like San Pedro and Peyote, Peruvian torch contains mescaline, albeit in lower quantities than the others. Peruvian torch has a long history of ceremonial use, dating back thousands of years to the pre-Inca culture where it was used by Chavin monks (900-200 BC). 

Semi-Synthetic Psychedelics

Semi-synthetic psychedelics refers to psychedelics that are synthesized from natural precursors. 

LSD

LSD, or lysergic acid diethylamide, or just “acid”, is a semi-synthetic psychedelic compound first synthesized by Albert Hofmann at Sandoz Laboratories in 1938. LSD was the 25th lysergic acid derivative synthesized from the alkaloids produced by ergot, a fungus that grows in grains of rye. Following its discovery, the compound was shelved when it was found to not contain the expected medicinal properties in animal studies. However, Hofmann resynthesized LSD-25 five years later, and in the process, accidentally ingested a small quantity and discovered its psychoactive effects. 

After its effect profile was fully understood, Sandoz began marketing LSD as a psychiatric drug called Delysid. Delysid was widely available to researchers until it was outlawed in 1966 once it escaped the laboratory and became widespread on the black market. Similar to psilocybin and DMT, LSD is a tryptamine molecule that binds to serotonin 5-HT receptors, but it is unique in that it is psychoactive in doses of millionths of a gram.

4-AcO-DMT

4-AcO-DMT, or O-Acetylpsilocin, is a semi-synthetic psychedelic tryptamine. It is theorized to be a prodrug (acetylated version) of psilocin, one of the main psychoactive alkaloids in psilocybin mushrooms. As such, the cognitive effects of 4-AcO-DMT are highly similar to those of psilocybin mushrooms. 

4-AcO-DMT is ingested orally or insufflate, with effects lasting up to six hours. Given its structural similarity to psilocin, the pharmacologist David E. Nichols has suggested it can be a useful alternative to psilocybin for pharmacological studies.

Synthetic Psychedelics

Synthetic psychedelics are made in laboratories and are not derived from natural substances. When they are functional analogs of controlled substances, they are referred to as “designer drugs.”

25I-NBOMe

25I-NBOMe, commonly known as “N-Bomb” or just “25I”, is a potent synthetic psychedelic first synthesized in the early 2000s as part of the thesis work of German chemist Ralf Heim. In 2007, David Nichols was the first person to make 25i-NBOMe in America when he was leading a research team at Purdue University.

25I has been used in biochemistry research for brain mapping of the serotonin receptor system, but once it escaped the laboratory it became a popular alternative to LSD. Indeed, 25I has a similar effect profile and route of administration (oral via blotter). 25i-NBOMe was made illegal in most parts of the world after being connected to a series of fatal overdoses.

2C-Family

The 2C-Family (substituted dimethoxyphenethylamines) is a group of synthetic phenethylamine psychedelics first synthesized by Dr. Alexander Shulgin in the 1970s and 1980s. They range from being inactive to fully psychedelic. The majority of 2C compounds show affinity for different subtypes of serotonin 5-HT receptors, while some interfere with neurotransmitter reuptake. 

One of the best-known drugs from the 2C-Family is 2C-B, which gained popularity in the 1980s as a legal ecstasy replacement. It was added to Schedule I in 1994. Little to no human research has been conducted on the 2C compounds, so much of the information concerning safety and effects is anecdotal.

Psychedelic Research

A new renaissance of research is taking place in several universities across the United States, most prominently at Johns Hopkins University, UCLA Medical Center, New York University, and University of New Mexico. Outside of the United States, Imperial College London and University of Zurich are also leading the way with pioneering studies into the action and clinical use of psychedelics for disorders like depression. 

Johns Hopkins University in Maryland is at the forefront of much of this research with psilocybin. Rolland Griffiths and colleagues have been studying how psilocybin can help alleviate palliative care and end of life distress in terminal patients. When the participants were assessed six months after psilocybin treatment, about 80 percent of the patients were significantly less clinically depressed and anxious than before the treatment. Some participants lost their fear of death entirely.

Mounting evidence supports that psilocybin can be used to safely treat a wide range of other psychiatric conditions. In addition to end-of-life anxiety and depression, psilocybin treatment is showing promising results for obsessive compulsive disorder, drug addiction, and treatment-resistant depression. Research in healthy volunteers is being conducted to understand how psilocybin and psilocin affect brain connectivity and activity. In addition, some trials have given psilocybin to long-term meditators and religious professionals to see how the drug can assist spiritual practices. 

Given the promising findings coming out of recent psilocybin research, The FDA has granted ‘Breakthrough Therapy’ designation for studying the effects of psilocybin. This will substantially accelerate the process of drug development and review.

Most of the funding for psilocybin trials being conducted in America is being provided by the Heffter Research Institute, a nonprofit established in 1993 that, since the late 90s, has played a pivotal role in the revival of psychedelic research.

Psychedelic Therapy

Psychedelic therapy refers to therapeutic practices involving the use of psychedelics, typically psilocybin, LSD, ayahuasca, and MDMA. Psychedelic therapy may be conducted in academic settings, privately alongside psychotherapy practitioners, or in a DIY manner. 

Psychedelic therapy sessions cover the duration of the drug’s effects, and typically involve high doses to produce mystical peak experiences. The experiences of unity (ego dissolution), transcendence of time and space, and novel insights into deeply-ingrained behavioral patterns all serve to produce long-lasting psychological change in patients. In this way, psychedelic therapy can help to resolve problems at their core by opening up a window of plasticity to learn new ways of thinking and behaving. This is in contrast to traditional pharmacological therapies, which are aimed at merely symptom management.

To optimize set and setting, psychedelic therapy sessions are commonly conducted in homey living room-like environments. Patients are given eye shades, headphones, and a carefully curated playlist of instrumental music, all with the intention of having the patient direct their attention inward throughout the journey. Session monitors are also present to provide reassurance if any fear or anxiety arises at any point in the experience.

Psychedelic therapy originated with the British psychiatrist Humphrey Osmond in the 1950s and 1960s, who administered LSD to alcoholics and found 50% success rates after a single high-dose session. Recent studies have utilized psychedelic therapy for mental disorders such as depression, end of life psychological distress, addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder, all with extremely promising results. 

With respect to PTSD, MAPS is currently investigating MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for chronic sufferers. In the highly successful phase II trials, 68% of the 107 participants no longer had PTSD when assessed as a 12-month follow-up session. Recently, the FDA designated it a Breakthrough Therapy, and phase III protocol designs have been established. Overall, as psychedelic therapy makes its way from the underground to an above-board practice, it may very well serve to revolutionize mental health care.

Psychedelic Integration

A profound psychedelic experience is often likened to a few years of psychotherapy condensed down into a few hours. These experiences can thoroughly shake up our ordinary models of the world, fostering complex thoughts and feelings that may require a thorough analysis. No matter the emotional valence, the experience often maintains an ineffable quality that makes it difficult to fully unpack until psychedelic integration occurs. 

Psychedelic integration is the process of making sense and meaning of previous psychedelic experiences. It is typically done with the help of a mental health professional, psychedelic integration coach, or internally on your own time. Ultimately, psychedelic integration is undertaken to manifest actual changes in daily life. This may involve the healing of trauma, recovering from addiction, making the unconscious conscious, understanding a spiritual awakening, or more broadly, developing new perspectives on oneself and the world. 

In clinical settings, patients typically build rapport with a session monitor prior to the psychedelic experience to establish trust. Then, integration occurs after the experience is over, usually on a weekly basis for several sessions. In private practices, integration may be a gradual unfolding that could take several months to complete. Given that the majority of patients in psychedelic studies describe their trip experience as one of the top five most spiritually significant events of their lives, psychedelic integration is a crucial aspect to maximizing the learning potential of such an important experience.

Psychedelic Resources

A Foraging Trip: Where Do Magic Mushrooms Grow?
Eager to learn more about the origin of psilocybin species? Read this article to find out where magic mushrooms grow and more!

How to Make Shroom Tea: Best Recipe and Dosage
A step by step guide on how to brew shroom tea, and why entheogenic psilocybin tea is a preferred method for psychedelic connoisseurs.

R. Gordon Wasson: Author and Mushroom Expert
Learn about R. Gordon Wasson, the “legendary mushroom expert” and popular figure within the psychonaut community.

Shrooms vs Acid: Differences and Similarities Explained
Ever wondered what the differences are between shrooms vs acid, or if you can take both together? This guide explains what you need to know.

Quantum Mechanics, Reality, and Magic Mushrooms
Scientist and author Dr. Chris Becker takes an in-depth approach in understanding how we perceive reality through magic mushrooms and quantum mechanics.

Psilocybin Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to Psilocybin has everything you want to know about this psychedelic fungi from its uses to its legal status.

The Psilocybin Experience: What’s the Deal With Magic Mushrooms?
From microdoses to macrodoses, the psilocybin experience has been sought after both medicinally and recreationally for millennia.

Psilocybin and Magic Mushroom Resources
Curious to learn more about psilocybin? This guide is a comprehensive psilocybin resource containing books, therapeutic studies, and more.

Paul Stamets Profile: Mushroom Guru, Filmmaker, Nutritionist, Scientist
Learn about Paul Stamets, read his thoughts on psilocybin mircodosing, the future of psilocybin, and his recent film “Fantastic Fungi”.

Microdosing Psilocybin & Common Dosage Explained
Microdosing, though imperceivably, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing psilocybin.

Psilocybin Nasal Spray: Relief for Anxiety, PTSD, and Depression
Microdosing nasal spray with psilocybin, is that possible?! Oregan a start-up Silo Wellness believes so and has created this new option for PTSD treatment.

Mazatec Mushroom Usage: Notes on Approach, Setting and Species for Curious Psilonauts
A look at traditional Mazatec psilocybin mushroom usage, and a comparison to the cliniical therapeutic approach, with an examination of the Mazatec setting and species used in veladas.

María Sabina: The Mazatec Magic Mushroom Woman
Magic mushrooms are incredibly popular today. How they became introduced to into American culture isn’t usually a topic discussed while tripping on psilocybin fungi. We all may have María Sabina to thank for exposing the Western world to the healing properties of the psilocybin mushroom.

Guide to Magic Mushroom Strains
Are there different types of psilocybin? Read our guide to learn about the different magic mushroom strains and their individual effects.

Kilindi Iyi: Mycologist, Traveler, Teacher
Learn about traveler and mycologist Kilindi Iyi known in the psychedelic community for his research and exploration of psilocybin.

How to Store Shrooms: Best Practices
How do you store shrooms for optimal shelf life? Learn how and why the proper storage method is so important.

Shroom Chocolate Recipes: How to Make Magic Mushroom Chocolates
This recipe provides step by step directions on how you can make mushroom chocolates with the necessary ingredients. Read to learn more!

Why Do People Use Psilocybin? New Johns Hopkins Study
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicines has just published a new study on psychoactive effects of psilocybin. Read here to learn more.

How-To Lemon Tek: Ultimate Guide and Recipe
This master guide will teach you how to lemon tek, preventing the onset of negative effects after consuming psilocybin. Read to learn more!

How to Intensify a Mushroom Trip
Learn about techniques like Lemon tekking, or discover the right time to consume cannabis if you are looking to intensify a mushroom trip.

How to Grow Magic Mushrooms: Step-by-Step
This step-by-step guide will show you how to grow magic mushrooms at home. Read this guide before trying it on your own.

How to Dry Magic Mushrooms: Best Practices
Read to learn more about specifics for the best practices on how to dry magic mushrooms after harvesting season.

How to Buy Psilocybin Spores
Interested in psilocybin mushrooms? We’ll walk you through all you need to know to obtain mushroom spores. Nosh on this delish How To guide.

Hippie Flipping: When Shrooms and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Explore the mechanics of hippie flipping and how to safely experiment.

Having Sex on Shrooms: Good or Bad Idea?
Is having sex on shrooms a good idea or an accident waiting to happen? Find out in our guide to sex on magic mushrooms.

Gold Cap Shrooms Guide: Spores, Effects, Identification
Read this guide to learn more about the different characteristics of gold cap mushrooms, and how they differ from other psilocybin species.

Guide to Cooking with Magic Mushrooms
From cookies to smoothies and sandwiches, we cover various methods of cooking with magic mushrooms for the ultimate snack.

2020 Election: The Decriminalize Psilocybin Movement
Are you curious if mushrooms will follow in marijuana’s footsteps? Read to learn about how the U.S. is moving to decriminalize psilocybin.

Oregon’s Initiative to Legalize Mushrooms | Initiative Petition 34
Oregon continues to push ahead with their initiative to legalize Psilocybin in 2020. The measure received its official title and now needs signatures.

Canada Approves Psilocybin Treatment for Terminally-Ill Cancer Patients
Canada’s Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu approved the use of psilocybin to help ease anxiety and depression of four terminal cancer patients.

Mapping the DMT Experience
With only firsthand experiences to share, how can we fully map the DMT experience? Let’s explore what we know about this powerful psychedelic.

Guide to Machine Elves and Other DMT Entities
This guide discusses machine elves, clockwork elves, and other common DMT entities that people experience during a DMT trip.

Is the DMT Experience a Hallucination? 
What if the DMT realm was the real world, and our everyday lives were merely a game we had chosen to play?

How to Store DMT
Not sure how to store DMT? Read this piece to learn the best practices and elements of advice to keep your stuff fresh.

What Does 5-MeO-DMT Show Us About Consciousness?
How does our brain differentiate between what’s real and what’s not? Read to learn what can 5-MeO-DMT show us about consciousness.

How to Smoke DMT: Processes Explained
There are many ways to smoke DMT and we’ve outlined some of the best processes to consider before embarking on your journey.

How to Ground After DMT
Knowing what to expect from a DMT comedown can help you integrate the experience to gain as much value as possible from your journey.

How To Get DMT
What kind of plants contain DMT? Are there other ways to access this psychedelic? Read on to learn more about how to get DMT.

How DMT is Made: Everything You Need to Know
Ever wonder how to make DMT? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how DMT is made.

Having Sex on DMT: What You Need to Know
Have you ever wondered about sex on DMT? Learn how the God Molecule can influence your intimate experiences.

Does the Human Brain Make DMT? 
With scientific evidence showing us DMT in the brain, what can we conclude it is there for? Read on to learn more.

How to Use DMT Vape Pens
Read to learn all about DMT vape pens including: what to know when vaping, what to expect when purchasing a DMT cartridge, and vaping safely.

DMT Resources
This article is a comprehensive DMT resource providing extensive information from studies, books, documentaries, and more. Check it out!

Differentiating DMT and Near-Death Experiences
Some say there are similarities between a DMT trip and death. Read our guide on differentiating DMT and near-death experiences to find out.

DMT Research from 1956 to the Edge of Time
From a representative sample of a suitably psychedelic crowd, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who couldn’t tell you all about Albert Hofmann’s enchanted bicycle ride after swallowing what turned out to be a massive dose of LSD. Far fewer, however, could tell you much about the world’s first DMT trip.

The Ultimate Guide to DMT Pricing
Check out our ultimate guide on DMT pricing to learn what to expect when purchasing DMT for your first time.

DMT Milking | Reality Sandwich
Indigenous cultures have used 5-MeO-DMT for centuries. With the surge in demand for psychedelic toad milk, is DMT Milking harming the frogs?

Why Does DMT Pervade Nature?
With the presence of DMT in nature everywhere – including human brains – why does it continue to baffle science?

DMT Substance Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to DMT has everything you want to know about this powerful psychedelic referred to as “the spirit molecule”.

DMT for Depression: Paving the Way for New Medicine
We’ve been waiting for an effective depression treatment. Studies show DMT for depression works even for treatment resistant patients.

Beating Addiction with DMT
Psychedelics have been studied for their help overcoming addiction. Read how DMT is helping addicts beat their substance abuse issues.

DMT Extraction: Behind the Scientific Process
Take a look at DMT extraction and the scientific process involved. Learn all you need to know including procedures and safety.

Microdosing DMT & Common Dosages Explained
Microdosing, though imperceivable, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing DMT.

DMT Art: A Look Behind Visionary Creations
An entire genre of artwork is inspired by psychedelic trips with DMT. Read to learn about the entities and visions behind DMT art.

Changa vs. DMT: What You Need to Know
While similar (changa contains DMT), each drug has its own unique effect and feeling. Let’s compare and contrast changa vs DMT.

5-MeO-DMT Guide: Effects, Benefits, Safety, and Legality
5-Meo-DMT comes from the Sonora Desert toad. Here is everything you want to know about 5-Meo-DMT and how it compares to 4-AcO-DMT.

4-AcO-DMT Guide: Benefits, Effects, Safety, and Legality
This guide tells you everything about 4 AcO DMT & 5 MeO DMT, that belong to the tryptamine class, and are similar but slightly different to DMT.

How Much Does LSD Cost? When shopping around for that magical psychedelic substance, there can be many uncertainties when new to buying LSD. You may be wondering how much does LSD cost? In this article, we will discuss what to expect when purchasing LSD on the black market, what forms LSD is sold in, and the standard breakdown of buying LSD in quantity.   Navy Use of LSD on the Dark Web The dark web is increasingly popular for purchasing illegal substances. The US Navy has now noticed this trend with their staff. Read to learn more.   Having Sex on LSD: What You Need to Know Can you have sex on LSD? Read our guide to learn everything about sex on acid, from lowered inhibitions to LSD users quotes on sex while tripping.   A Drug That Switches off an LSD Trip A pharmaceutical company is developing an “off-switch” drug for an LSD trip, in the case that a bad trip can happen. Some would say there is no such thing.   Queen of Hearts: An Interview with Liz Elliot on Tim Leary and LSD The history of psychedelia, particularly the British experience, has been almost totally written by men. Of the women involved, especially those who were in the thick of it, little has been written either by or about them. A notable exception is Liz Elliot.   LSD Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety LSD, Lysergic acid diethylamide, or just acid is one of the most important psychedelics ever discovered. What did history teach us?   Microdosing LSD & Common Dosage Explained Microdosing, though imperceivable, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing LSD.   LSD Resources Curious to learn more about LSD? This guide includes comprehensive LSD resources containing books, studies and more.   LSD as a Spiritual Aid There is common consent that the evolution of mankind is paralleled by the increase and expansion of consciousness. From the described process of how consciousness originates and develops, it becomes evident that its growth depends on its faculty of perception. Therefore every means of improving this faculty should be used.   Legendary LSD Blotter Art: A Hidden Craftsmanship Have you ever heard of LSD blotter art? Explore the trippy world of LSD art and some of the top artists of LSD blotter art.   LSD and Exercise: Does it Work? LSD and exercise? Learn why high-performing athletes are taking hits of LSD to improve their overall potential.   Jan Bastiaans Treated Holocaust Survivors with LSD Dutch psychiatrist, Jan Bastiaans administered LSD-assisted therapy to survivors of the Holocaust. A true war hero and pioneer of psychedelic-therapy.   LSD and Spiritual Awakening I give thanks for LSD, which provided the opening that led me to India in 1971 and brought me to Neem Karoli Baba, known as Maharajji. Maharajji is described by the Indians as a “knower of hearts.”   How LSD is Made: Everything You Need to Know Ever wonder how to make LSD? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how LSD is made.   How to Store LSD: Best Practices Learn the best way to store LSD, including the proper temperature and conditions to maximize how long LSD lasts when stored.   Bicycle Day: The Discovery of LSD Every year on April 19th, psychonauts join forces to celebrate Bicycle Day. Learn about the famous day when Albert Hoffman first discovered the effects of LSD.   Cary Grant: A Hollywood Legend On LSD Cary Grant was a famous actor during the 1930’s-60’s But did you know Grant experimented with LSD? Read our guide to learn more.   Albert Hofmann: LSD — My Problem Child Learn about Albert Hofmann and his discovery of LSD, along with the story of Bicycle Day and why it marks a historic milestone.   Babies are High: What Does LSD Do To Your Brain What do LSD and babies have in common? Researchers at the Imperial College in London discover that an adult’s brain on LSD looks like a baby’s brain.   1P LSD: Effects, Benefits, Safety Explained 1P LSD is an analogue of LSD and homologue of ALD-25. Here is everything you want to know about 1P LSD and how it compares to LSD.   Francis Crick, DNA & LSD Type ‘Francis Crick LSD’ into Google, and the result will be 30,000 links. Many sites claim that Crick (one of the two men responsible for discovering the structure of DNA), was either under the influence of LSD at the time of his revelation or used the drug to help with his thought processes during his research. Is this true?   What Happens If You Overdose on LSD? A recent article presented three individuals who overdosed on LSD. Though the experience was unpleasant, the outcomes were remarkably positive.

The Ayahuasca Experience
Ayahuasca is both a medicine and a visionary aid. You can employ ayahuasca for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual repair, and you can engage with the power of ayahuasca for deeper insight and realization. If you consider attainment of knowledge in the broadest perspective, you can say that at all times, ayahuasca heals.

 

Trippy Talk: Meet Ayahuasca with Sitaramaya Sita and PlantTeachers
Sitaramaya Sita is a spiritual herbalist, pusangera, and plant wisdom practitioner formally trained in the Shipibo ayahuasca tradition.

 

The Therapeutic Value of Ayahuasca
My best description of the impact of ayahuasca is that it’s a rocket boost to psychospiritual growth and unfolding, my professional specialty during my thirty-five years of private practice.

 

Microdosing Ayahuasca: Common Dosage Explained
What is ayahuasca made of and what is considered a microdose? Explore insights with an experienced Peruvian brewmaster and learn more about this practice.

 

Ayahuasca Makes Neuron Babies in Your Brain
Researchers from Beckley/Sant Pau Research Program have shared the latest findings in their study on the effects of ayahuasca on neurogenesis.

 

The Fatimiya Sufi Order and Ayahuasca
In this interview, the founder of the Fatimiya Sufi Order,  N. Wahid Azal, discusses the history and uses of plant medicines in Islamic and pre-Islamic mystery schools.

 

Consideration Ayahuasca for Treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Research indicates that ayahuasca mimics mechanisms of currently accepted treatments for PTSD. In order to understand the implications of ayahuasca treatment, we need to understand how PTSD develops.

 

Brainwaves on Ayahuasca: A Waking Dream State
In a study researchers shared discoveries showing ingredients found in Ayahuasca impact the brainwaves causing a “waking dream” state.

 

Cannabis and Ayahuasca: Mixing Entheogenic Plants
Cannabis and Ayahuasca: most people believe they shouldn’t be mixed. Read this personal experience peppered with thoughts from a pro cannabis Peruvian Shaman.

 

Ayahuasca Retreat 101: Everything You Need to Know to Brave the Brew
Ayahuasca has been known to be a powerful medicinal substance for millennia. However, until recently, it was only found in the jungle. Word of its deeply healing and cleansing properties has begun to spread across the world as many modern, Western individuals are seeking spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical well-being. More ayahuasca retreat centers are emerging in the Amazon and worldwide to meet the demand.

 

Ayahuasca Helps with Grief
A new study published in psychopharmacology found that ayahuasca helped those suffering from the loss of a loved one up to a year after treatment.

 

Ayahuasca Benefits: Clinical Improvements for Six Months
Ayahuasca benefits can last six months according to studies. Read here to learn about the clinical improvements from drinking the brew.

 

Ayahuasca Culture: Indigenous, Western, And The Future
Ayahuasca has been use for generations in the Amazon. With the rise of retreats and the brew leaving the rainforest how is ayahuasca culture changing?

 

Ayahuasca Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
The Amazonian brew, Ayahuasca has a long history and wide use. Read our guide to learn all about the tea from its beginnings up to modern-day interest.

 

Ayahuasca and the Godhead: An Interview with Wahid Azal of the Fatimiya Sufi Order
Wahid Azal, a Sufi mystic of The Fatimiya Sufi Order and an Islamic scholar, talks about entheogens, Sufism, mythology, and metaphysics.

 

Ayahuasca and the Feminine: Women’s Roles, Healing, Retreats, and More
Ayahuasca is lovingly called “grandmother” or “mother” by many. Just how feminine is the brew? Read to learn all about women and ayahuasca.

What Is the Standard of Care for Ketamine Treatments?
Ketamine therapy is on the rise in light of its powerful results for treatment-resistant depression. But, what is the current standard of care for ketamine? Read to find out.

What Is Dissociation and How Does Ketamine Create It?
Dissociation can take on multiple forms. So, what is dissociation like and how does ketamine create it? Read to find out.

Having Sex on Ketamine: Getting Physical on a Dissociative
Curious about what it could feel like to have sex on a dissociate? Find out all the answers in our guide to sex on ketamine.

Special K: The Party Drug
Special K refers to Ketamine when used recreationally. Learn the trends as well as safety information around this substance.

Kitty Flipping: When Ketamine and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Read to explore the mechanics of kitty flipping.

Ketamine vs. Esketamine: 3 Important Differences Explained
Ketamine and esketamine are used to treat depression. But what’s the difference between them? Read to learn which one is right for you: ketamine vs. esketamine.

Guide to Ketamine Treatments: Understanding the New Approach
Ketamine is becoming more popular as more people are seeing its benefits. Is ketamine a fit? Read our guide for all you need to know about ketamine treatments.

Ketamine Treatment for Eating Disorders
Ketamine is becoming a promising treatment for various mental health conditions. Read to learn how individuals can use ketamine treatment for eating disorders.

Ketamine Resources, Studies, and Trusted Information
Curious to learn more about ketamine? This guide includes comprehensive ketamine resources containing books, studies and more.

Ketamine Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to ketamine has everything you need to know about this “dissociative anesthetic” and how it is being studied for depression treatment.

Ketamine for Depression: A Mental Health Breakthrough
While antidepressants work for some, many others find no relief. Read to learn about the therapeutic uses of ketamine for depression.

Ketamine for Addiction: Treatments Offering Hope
New treatments are offering hope to individuals suffering from addiction diseases. Read to learn how ketamine for addiction is providing breakthrough results.

Microdosing Ketamine & Common Dosages Explained
Microdosing, though imperceivable, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing ketamine.

How to Ease a Ketamine Comedown
Knowing what to expect when you come down from ketamine can help integrate the experience to gain as much value as possible.

How to Store Ketamine: Best Practices
Learn the best ways how to store ketamine, including the proper temperature and conditions to maximize how long ketamine lasts when stored.

How To Buy Ketamine: Is There Legal Ketamine Online?
Learn exactly where it’s legal to buy ketamine, and if it’s possible to purchase legal ketamine on the internet.

How Long Does Ketamine Stay in Your System?
How long does ketamine stay in your system? Are there lasting effects on your body? Read to discover the answers!

How Ketamine is Made: Everything You Need to Know
Ever wonder how to make Ketamine? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how Ketamine is made.

Colorado on Ketamine: First Responders Waiver Programs
Fallout continues after Elijah McClain. Despite opposing recommendations from some city council, Colorado State Health panel recommends the continued use of ketamine by medics for those demonstrating “excited delirium” or “extreme agitation”.

Types of Ketamine: Learn the Differences & Uses for Each
Learn about the different types of ketamine and what they are used for—and what type might be right for you. Read now to find out!

Kitty Flipping: When Ketamine and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Read to explore the mechanics of kitty flipping.

MDMA & Ecstasy Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to MDMA has everything you want to know about Ecstasy from how it was developed in 1912 to why it’s being studied today.

How To Get the Most out of Taking MDMA as a Couple
Taking MDMA as a couple can lead to exciting experiences. Read here to learn how to get the most of of this love drug in your relationship.

Common MDMA Dosage & Microdosing Explained
Microdosing, though imperceivable, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing MDMA.

Having Sex on MDMA: What You Need to Know
MDMA is known as the love drug… Read our guide to learn all about sex on MDMA and why it is beginning to makes its way into couple’s therapy.

How MDMA is Made: Common Procedures Explained
Ever wonder how to make MDMA? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how MDMA is made.

Hippie Flipping: When Shrooms and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Explore the mechanics of hippie flipping and how to safely experiment.

How Cocaine is Made: Common Procedures Explained
Ever wonder how to make cocaine? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how cocaine is made.

A Christmas Sweater with Santa and Cocaine
This week, Walmart came under fire for a “Let it Snow” Christmas sweater depicting Santa with lines of cocaine. Columbia is not merry about it.

Ultimate Cocaine Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
This guide covers what you need to know about Cocaine, including common effects and uses, legality, safety precautions and top trends today.

NEWS: An FDA-Approved Cocaine Nasal Spray
The FDA approved a cocaine nasal spray called Numbrino, which has raised suspicions that the pharmaceutical company, Lannett Company Inc., paid off the FDA..

The Ultimate Guide to Cannabis Bioavailability
What is bioavailability and how can it affect the overall efficacy of a psychedelic substance? Read to learn more.

Cannabis Research Explains Sociability Behaviors
New research by Dr. Giovanni Marsicano shows social behavioral changes occur as a result of less energy available to the neurons. Read here to learn more.

The Cannabis Shaman
If recreational and medical use of marijuana is becoming accepted, can the spiritual use as well? Experiential journalist Rak Razam interviews Hamilton Souther, founder of the 420 Cannabis Shamanism movement…

Cannabis Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to Cannabis has everything you want to know about this popular substances that has psychedelic properties.

Cannabis and Ayahuasca: Mixing Entheogenic Plants
Cannabis and Ayahuasca: most people believe they shouldn’t be mixed. Read this personal experience peppered with thoughts from a procannabis Peruvian Shaman.

CBD-Rich Cannabis Versus Single-Molecule CBD
A ground-breaking study has documented the superior therapeutic properties of whole plant Cannabis extract as compared to synthetic cannabidiol (CBD), challenging the medical-industrial complex’s notion that “crude” botanical preparations are less effective than single-molecule compounds.

Cannabis Has Always Been a Medicine
Modern science has already confirmed the efficacy of cannabis for most uses described in the ancient medical texts, but prohibitionists still claim that medical cannabis is “just a ruse.”

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