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Psilocybin for major depression granted Breakthrough Therapy by FDA (newatlas.com)
1240 points by elorant 11 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 466 comments





I've been reading a book called "How to Change Your Mind"[1] which contains a collection of history, anecdotes, trip reports, and some of the science behind these types of drugs. The book mostly discusses psilocybin and LSD, but it also touches on some of the other related drugs. If you're curious and want to learn more, it's worth a read.

The one thing I'll say is that it seems like these drugs affect the brain in a way that's more akin to a super-placebo, rather than being therapeutic on their own. In other words, you would need to use the drugs in combination with therapy to obtain good results.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_to_Change_Your_Mind


Super placebo is a scientifically incorrect description. These drugs suppress activity of the default mode network of the brain, which is a sort of "conductor" of the brain, which chooses which "instruments" to prioritize and how to allocate the train of thought. All of the different parts of your mind are able to sing out more creatively and independently, forging new paths that they are not accustomed to taking -- this is why it's great for mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, alcoholism, smoking -- it allows your mind an incredible flexibility.

In my personal experiences with psychedelics, these drugs remove mental heuristics, allowing the mind to think unimpeded by usual thought patterns, simply accepting raw data as it comes in. This was striking in sensory information, if you closed your eyes or just stared at something long enough, you observed incredibly different visual input, geometric patterns, greatly strengthened colors (a strawberry was INCREDIBLY beautiful, I almost felt bad eating such a beautiful entity). There was also an incredible inter-disciplinary thought process, I felt the musical, mathematical, computational, logical, natural, all these parts of my mind mixed together wonderfully.

LSD was much longer lasting, around 12 hours, whereas psilocybin was around 6 hours. Psilocybin enhanced my connection with nature, the flying bugs, a handful of berries, and the plants all around me caused an effusion of love and connection. Whereas with LSD, I felt an extremely powerful visual stimulation, the changing fall leaves were extremely vibrant and beautiful, it was akin to 12 hour, mentally-clear cannabis high. I didn't experience any "flashbacks" per se, there was a positive glow in my mood and thoughts for around 5 days, and the day after LSD I still had lingering effects...I also wonder if I will evermore look at the surface of ponds and lakes differently, they have an incredible dynamism and vitality that I appreciated even more on first trip.

For anyone considering psychedelics, do it thoughtfully and methodically. Read the book mentioned in the parent, practice meditation, explore your mind, and really ensure your mindset ("set") is positive and open. Further, plan to occupy a peaceful, quiet place, hopefully lacking too many strangers/social interaction ("setting"). If set and setting are good, you're in for a wonderful time.


I took a strong psychedelic once, and a high dose at that. I tripped for over 12 hours, and by the end of the trip I was seriously considering changing my life in significant ways. For days after the trip I was considering making these changes. My thought patterns and assumptions had made a complete jump from one train of thought to another.

This experience made me realize how much of our outlook on things is dominated by whatever mode of thinking we happen to be in, and that mode is more shaped by custom and habit than anything approaching logic and reason.


> My thought patterns and assumptions had made a complete jump from one train of thought to another.

William James uses the analogy that our set of habits are like an irregular polyhedron resting on one of its faces. Everyday experiences may rock it up onto an edge, but it will usually come to rest where it was, or perhaps on a neighboring face.

A more singular, meaningful experience has more “push” to it, overcoming the force of habit in a way that no amount of daily prodding would, rolling the whole thing onto a new face that would take ages to land on otherwise. He was writing about religious conversions at the time, but there seems to be a lot of overlap with the effects of a psychedelic experience.


Agree here. The heaviest experience of my life ..well above guns pointed at me a couple times, almost drowning, cliff mistakes on snowboards. . .was the first time I did LSD. I was probably 15 and took enough for 4+ confident people (a heavy guess... 3 and a quarter sugar cubes each with a drop "or so" from a visine bottle (typical sale vehicle)).

I gave up on it doing anything about an hour after eating the first cube. Got dropped off at home .. had to go skiing with best and his mom. Vaguely remember running through my neighborhood at 3am, waking up a different friend, and leaving minutes later.. being in the bathroom at my house, and being in my friends mom's car the next morning.

Later in life I returned to mature versions of this activity and found incomprehensibly beautiful visuals, patterns, self realizations about state of mind, perspective, the meaninglessness of "cool", purpose of building things(socially, as a species, not regarding myself). For me lsd is about the thoughts that result from the general "high".

While I have only done it 6 or so times and may never again. . I believe it has amazing properties for some people and not so good for others. Some old pals are from last I saw them ...quite literally fried, but perhaps due to other activities.

#dothingslikeanadult


> For me lsd is about the thoughts that result from the general "high".

100%. It has a reputation as a thing that weirdos do to have fun or see cool things.

If you "do it like an adult" I've found that it invokes a deeply introspective and thoughtful mode of thinking that can give you new perspective on different areas, both major and minor, in your life.

But like good advice that you might get from a wiser person, it's only useful if you use your insights to better yourself.

I've made immense progress in the areas of personal development and management due to such insights. It wasn't overnight - it inspired small changes in behavior that only years later, I can see the dramatic effects of. If it inspired even a 1 degree correction to a better direction, 10 years later the difference can be immense.


Jesus... When you put it this way ...lsd kind of... Sort of saved my life (quite a reach but I was 100% no idea what or why anything was and just trying to have fun and have friends to avoid painful self truths). Finding a a way to detach yet still seeing yourself. .. it is beyond. I want it again but don't want to be so...

There is a also an iffy side to LSD which I only discovered the last time I did it 2 years ago. Never had a similar feeling ever. Vaguely felt like I wasnt seeing and thinking from the same brain / identity I'm used to. So I approximately said no more.

Anyway... I deeply appreciate the reply here too. Had no idea what to expect here. Thank you.


I really, really want to deliver to you the message that I understand.

Cheers to this. When I took it I prepared for weeks. I fasted. I kept a journal during the experience. I had a plan. It wasn't just to "see stuff". I also always spaced experiences out 6 months, and I actually never took more than a single tab at once.

>the meaninglessness of “cool”

It’s kind of hard to convey just how much this particular aspect of LSD changed my outlook. I too was quite young at the time I tried it. It made me rethink my media diet, which at 15 was filled with MTV and trash TV. That has stayed with me ever since.


My eyes welled up a bit with your reply... I have never connected on this point with someone.

Not that I have made a specific effort to but thank you so much.


I know it's a very private question, but would you be able to describe the trip and the long lasting effects more?

There is a spectrum of retrospectives. Re trip description. Most people tend to just say it's cool, you see stuff/colors brighter and emotionally impactful etc.

My key story for last is laying in a bed in close proximity to a freeway. I could not choose to unhear/see with my eyes closed as a car drove down the freeway cylinders/rods and combustion. . I on extremely rare occasion hear this type of story from other peeps.

Long lasting effect ... In the immediately following week I had the most significant behavior shift I can think of... Had been smoking since 11 years old... The LSD was approx 9th grade ..solidly solidly stopped for about a year. Pot. Everything. I'm back. I'm an idiot at heart give or take.. but what a beautiful year.


This is what I fear most. I might abandon my livelihood and passion for technology after a rather earth-shattering trip that makes me question everything I believe in.

What I've found is that in the short term you may question everything, but in the long term you settle back down and only continue questioning what you should have been questioning in the first place.

> It was akin to 12 hour, mentally-clear cannabis high.

This is the best way to describe reasonable (small) doses of LSD. It's like the purest sativa possible; as if somebody removed all of the earthiness and stoniness and then amplified the psychoactive.


Does it cause any of the anxiety that marijuana can when taken at a small dose? I mean the LSD.

Sometimes if I get too high I get a decent amount of anxiety. Always wanted to try LSD or Shrooms but worried something like that may happen. Generally it comes from me feeling a strange sensation in my body which leads to a slight bit of panic. Or if I get really high I just don’t feel there entirely.

Always thought about taking LSD or Shrooms with some CBD incase I get a bit of anxiety.


I think you’ll be fine.

Anecdotal:

I get very anxious from marijuana. Somewhat manic even. I hate the feeling. I’m generally not a stranger to anxiety in life.

I don’t get anxious from LSD. I _have_ felt anxiety on it that I had been repressing, felt it kind of wash over, but it was ... useful. Not difficult. I knew what it was. I wasn’t lost in it. It wasn’t like being swallowed by the uncomfortable anxiety from marijuana that kind of takes over or drives.

And, well, I think a low LSD dose actually helped me resolve a thread of anxiety I had had since I was a child. An permanent and obsessive safety-seeking walk down an endless tree of decisions and judgement. Kind of a background thread. I kind of ... found it again? Had forgotten it was there? And could revisit it and ... know to stop. “Just stop judging”, i.e. judging the situation. And it felt like I could. It still feels like something was let go of. But idk!; Anecdotal!

There are studies that show that when starting with low doses, then very few people get anxious. Other studies show that when people _do_ get anxious, there are still lasting benefits to well being. As I understand it. There’s a decent seeming summary of this on http://tripsafe.org


There is no comparison between paranoia from weed and a bad trip from mushrooms/lsd.

One can leave you permanently mentally scarred and the other will make you paranoid for a few hours.

I have stoner friends and lsd/mushroom friends. Some of the latter are still dealing with issues today from a single bad experience from a trip they had years ago. I cannot say the same of my stoner friends.


I never had a _really_ bad trip, but I some some things which felt quite evil to me up to the point of pure existential crisis which stayed for some time.

Have you done shrooms? Wondering how shrooms work on someone who can get anxiety from weed.

I also get (mild) anxiety from weed but LSD gives me a nice, relaxed, "everything is great" feeling. Shrooms are very similar, though I get more introspective and depressed unless I'm somewhere nice. I don't like doing LSD/shrooms in my flat or in crowded places, because they bring me down. I'll need to try on a beach or in a forest next time.

Not the poster, but I had to stop smoking weed because of anxiety and paranoia. I have also taken magic mushrooms in a variety of doses, up to 7g dried, and have not experienced any anxiety or paranoia like I did with weed. I had one magic mushroom experience that started out as a really bad trip, but I was able to manage the anxiety and ride it out until halfway through, when it became a wonderful, uplifting, euphoric experience. Contrast that to that one time I did a dab and had a panic attack and couldn't do anything about it.

I have to disagree. While weed certainly can and does induce anxiety on occasion it is no where near as intense as magic mushroom trips. It’s not on the same level.

A mushroom trip can leave you feeling refreshed regardless but if you have a bad trip it may expose you to your deepest and darkest fears and become a terrifying nightmarish experience that weed couldnt induce if you tried.

The horror of a bad a trip didn’t necessarily teach me anything other than to respect mushrooms much more than weed.

I have had friends say the same. There is no comparison of the paranoia from weed vs the absolute horror of a bad trip.

I feel that people who say there is havent really done a lot of either to know the difference.


It's very dose dependent.

"At a dosage of 1.6 grams in a therapeutic clinical environment, we might expect 0% of people to experience some extreme fear, for an average of around 1 minute of strong anxiety, 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"

Via https://tripsafe.org/how-to-take-shrooms/#start-small

Based on studies: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27578767 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3308357/table/T... https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3308357/


> I feel that people who say there is havent really done a lot of either to know the difference.

I don't know why you are dismissing my experience like that, or why you think that I do not have a lot of experience. Have you ever had a panic attack? Anxiety and paranoia are something I would get consistently from weed. I never felt the same anxiety, and never felt paranoia, on mushrooms. I never had a panic attack from mushrooms. Almost every psychedelic trip I take (between 50-60 so far) has a range of negative aspects, but I am able to better control myself, something that is not the case with marijuana. I have experienced terror on both mushrooms and LSD, and I was able to keep it together and turn it around every time. FWIW, I also prefer to do relatively large doses (3-5 grams mushrooms, 2-7 hits of LSD).


>> The horror of a bad a trip didn’t necessarily teach me anything other than to respect mushrooms much more than weed.

Give it time. It can take a decade of reflection to untangle/parse.


I have, and they don't have any similar anxiety-inducing effects on me. On the contrary mushrooms reduce anxiety for me.

A friend did have a very anxious trip - it's possible. However it was topical for him. An introspection into deep issues of security and control, and probably a too high dose for that occasion in his life, with not much experience. But he's fine after!

The psilocybin family's effect is imo a bit more "fantastically bewildering" than LSD. In a sense like old fairytales are sometimes curiously and bewildering to a child. (Comfortably bewildering!) It's hard to put into words. It's a place of beauty. It can be scary if you're an anxious type (like I am myself) and go in a bit fast. (Haven't had an anxious experience myself though.) BUT it doesn't have to be scary or uncomfortable even if bewildering - and usually isn't except in exceptional cases - and doesn't occur with low starting doses afaik, there are still lasting benefits even if you get anxious (iow it is processing), it passes, and the interesting thing is that you're somehow always fine if you let go. A kind and insightful tripsitter is all the insurance I would need I think.

It's really interesting and really hard to explain. Maybe check out the studies and study protocols. Plenty of stuff on http://maps.org – As an example, I believe it has been shown that psilocybin mushrooms strongly reduce anxiety in terminal cancer patients. In a lasting way. I cannot imagine a more trapped and anxious state than terminal cancer. So even id there is anxiety while under the influence, it seems to mean something.


Marijuana can cause feelings of anxiety because it increases your heart rate and the sensitivity to the feeling of your heat beating, which many people's brains interpret as anxiety.

LSD doesn't have this physiological effect though. It's more accurate to say that LSD will amplify whatever you're already feeling or thinking. If you take acid and feel anxious, it can spiral out of control and feel much more intense. On the flip side, if you're feeling peaceful then it will be a calm, happy journey with no feelings of anxiety whatsoever.


LSD does cause anxiety for many, often at the beginning of the trip. I know when it's kicked in because I get a big rush of anxiety that slowly fades over time. So I wouldn't recommend it to people with an uncontrolled anxiety disorder. (If you can control your anxiety, it can be great and quite therapeutic.)

A friend of mine kept an escape hatch dose of Valium in order to stop the action of things became too intense. I don’t believe the safety net was ever employed, and perhaps simply having the option helped keep some of those feelings at bay.

While I don't think I would confuse the sensation with anxiety, it kind of breeds anxiety. I always feel my heart beat, both from the chest, blood vessels and by small "muscle spasms" throughout my body, is there any substance, preferably legal, that can subdue this to some degree?

I'm not having high pressure or high resting pulse and it's so severe that, while not externally visible, causes for example a squeaky bed to squeak in rhythm with my heart beat.

I've had a prescription for Atomoxetin and it had some "body calming" effect but in some sense amplified the aforementioned effect.


Have you tried meditation? It sounds like something neutral is happening to you and you interpret it as being bad. If you meditate regularly it will change how you relate to it and many other things in positive transformative ways.

Marijuana that is like 1:1 CBD:THC or similar seems to help a lot for me. Keeps me from getting freaked out over sensations from my body.

I get similar effects, but a simple aspirin seems to subdue them :)

If someone winds up in the ER for a bad trip, a benzodiazepine is often used. That’s not legal to obtain without a prescription, but well, neither are mushrooms.

Yeah generally what happens is if I get some tightness in my chest, or a muscle cramp in my back, or pressure from like a bed or a couch pushing against me, if I smoke too much I have a tendency to interpret that as something wrong with me, not that I just have a cramp cause I’m sitting funny and a muscle got tight.

Do shrooms not have this physiological effect as well? Or just LSD that lacks it?


I have always gotten anywhere between no and way-to-much anxiety when using pot, just depends on quantity, setting, etc. I prefer doing it alone, in small amounts. If I'm going to get stoned it's almost definitely alone.

Psychedelics are the same, for me, times like ten. Fortunately I handle it relatively well, and I just let it ride as "part of the experience" when I trip. Usually the uncomfortable parts go away after the peak, and then it's just awesome for hours. The peak is amazing in its own ways too, but there is (for me) no doubt a have anxiety/body buzz that is just uncomfortable as all get-out.


Depends largely on set and setting. Set - your mental state going into the trip and your personality type. Setting - the surroundings and people around you. You want to have someone to take care of you in case you have a bad trip.

I've experienced that with some strains of marijuana as well, a highly enhanced and clear perception of everything around me.

Absolutely, sativa, that was how I described it to friends. It's just remarkable to have that same positive feel of THC that lasts for 12 hours without the downsides of THC....plus the sensory + imaginative + dissociating qualities mentioned above, very good experience for me.

I guess. Versus comparing it to alcohol, anyway. However, in my experience, psilocybin is closer to THC than to LSD.

But they're really very different experiences.

Alcohol does accentuate psilocybin, acceptably.

But combining marijuana with either, especially LSD, can be frightening. Your short term memory drops to a few seconds, so you can forget who (or even what) you are, where you are, etc. Some people panic, and fear that they'll never be sober again.


I had an experience of total amnesia on LSD once. After a few minutes (objective, by a wall clock) of time-dilation experience (felt like 8 or 10 hours passing), I wandered upstairs and laid down on the bed. Again, a few minutes of closed-eye visuals that felt like hours passed, and when I opened my eyes, I had absolutely no idea who I was, even down to my name, where I lived, nothing. The only thing I could say was "I exist," without being able to qualify that in any way at all, and by staring at the room around me, "I'm in a room, seems to be in a city." Very, very strange experience. Suddenly, no more visuals, but it took the next few hours for details about myself, my hobbies, my work, etc., to start filtering back in.

Huh.

Did you take any other drugs?

I've experienced stuff like that at high LSD dosages, but it wasn't unpleasant. In fact, I liked it. It's what I meant by "ego death".

That is, there's no awareness that an "I" exists. There's just stuff happening. Inside, outside, all the same. Just stuff.

And then gradually, there's this internal dialog that starts talking about all the stuff. That is, consciousness, what I'm calling ego aka "I".

With marijuana during LSD peaking, that happens abruptly. With sometimes considerable anxiety.


I had this on alcohol + an unhealthy dose of psilocybin, apart from the difference where the only thing I could think was "I don't even know what 'exist' means". Scary but luckily I had some close friends that were comforting me throughout the experience.

For the most part though, my small experiments (LSD, mushrooms, DMT) have had a very positive and borderline revolutional effect on my outlook on life. Only time I've had negative experiences have been on mushrooms, both LSD and DMT have always been positive.


That sounds scary af

I've had modern anesthesia for surgery twice in my life, and that seems to operate mostly by temporarily eliminating your ability to form memories. I found that "scary af" even though it certainly worked as expected.

Is it a good idea to take any of these - alcohol, Marijuana, LSD, mushrooms - with antidepressants? That is, if you're on medication, should you stay away from all recreational drug use?

It is imperative that you do not combine psychedelics with antidepressants! This can lead to dangerous side effects / behaviors! If you take a combination of drugs this is even more important to heed.

The proper path is to wean yourself off of the antidepressants for the experience, and then only undertake the experience with an experienced sitter or guide.


https://wiki.tripsit.me/images/3/3a/Combo_2.png

Psilocybins effect is enhanced by MAOI and decreaces by SSRIs. LSD effects are decreased by both. With other other psychedelics you have to be a bit carefull.

You probably think of MDMA and MAOIs, this would be a dangerous combination.


Yes, MAOI dramatically increase and prolong effects of DMT.

And indeed, that's what ayahuasca (aka yage) is.

Plus various mushrooms and other psychoactive stuff, depending on the preferences of the curandeiro/a (shaman) and the intended outcome.


It absolutely depends on the anti-depressant.

SSRIs, do not mix.

NDRIs, lots of people report they're fine.

Hopefully we'll get better data on what other chemicals are okay to mix as these things slowly become permitted to be the subjects of study.


The effects of serotonergic psychedelics(LSD, psilocybin, DMT) are reduced by SSRI medications.

Yeah. I had stopped using LSD before using SSRIs.

Later, I used to vacation in Amsterdam for the shrooms. But I'd go off the SSRI maybe a week or so before the trip.


It is worth investigating with caution the option of using recreational drugs alongside antidepressant medication.

I take the SSRI Fluoxetine (Prozac) and have tried numerous psychedelic drugs while on that prescription drug. Before doing so I checked with my psychiatrist who did not believe there would be a great risk.

My experience has generally been that psychedelics work (with the exception of MDMA) and there are no drawbacks to using them while on an SSRI. Of course, psychedelics do have risks and educated, responsible use is appropriate.


What I've heard is that they work. But that you need higher doses than you would need if you weren't taking an SSRI.

I'm not sure I would describe an LSD high as having mental clarity... trying to solve simple problems while on LSD can be very hard. There is a lot of clarity after the high though - the next several days.

How do you define a reasonable dose, and are you speaking from a single experience?

Asking this due to wildly different subjective experiences.


I'm referring to a single 1cm^2 paper tab; of course the contents can vary due to the unregulated effects of prohibition. This is just not enough to induce strong visual hallucinations and Hunter S. Thompson type experiences. There has also been a recent interest in micro-dosing (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/07/style/microdosing-lsd-aye...) though this seems extremely difficult to procure in ways that I'd trust, I keep my eyes open.

To me, the most stunning hallucination, during LSD, was the total confusion of my senses. A specific flower was in bloom at the time, and my mind confused it’s smell with the colour purple. It was the strangest experience. Smelling colour... There is no way to describe it in words.

Even though this episode was decades ago, I still, kind of, experience the scent of that flower as the colour purple.


Your experience is known as synesthesia [1], and while not common, it can be found in people naturally and under certain conditions (like drugs).

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synesthesia


There is also the fact that many things we perceive as senses are actually knowledge. We may think we see a red door when in fact we just know the door is red.

It’s possible your OP was noticing that a certain smell makes him know a thing is purple. Under normal circumstances he would just perceive PURPLE and think he was seeing. But on drugs he might perceive that his nose was also alerting him of PURPLE in the flower.


I haven't tried to meditate in a long time, but my understanding of the process was, setting aside mysticism and tradition, you just take a mental concept and you focus on it and every time your mind starts drifting you return to it.

So, I've heard that people make a big deal about choosing a mantra, but my thinking was it can be anything, and somehow I got into the habit of visualizing a blank field of a particular color. The nice thing about focusing on a color was that if my visual imagination distracted me, I could concentrate on "seeing" the color, while if I was imagining words or sounds, I could focus on the name of the color too. So it was like having an object to focus on that had all the different angles available.

I'm not sure I've never experienced synaesthesia, but I'm pretty sure I haven't been perceiving smells or sounds as having color recently.


Set and setting are paramount. A depressant can behave as a stimulant in a particular setting and vice versa (for example alcohol at a sporting event).

In certain settings psychedelic experiences are even possible without any chemical ingestion. For example on meditation retreats and ultramarathons.

So I don't think it's incorrect to call psychedelics a super placebo. The mental states they bring you to are entirely achievable without their use, albeit with far greater effort.


I'm not sure that's alcohol acting as a stimulant so much as alcohol removing mental barriers that prevent people from acting in a certain way. The depressant effect in fact helps to moderate the worst impulses for most people. Which is why drinks like Four Loco that combine a stimulant with alcohol end up being more dangerous than expected. Not only do you lose your "that's a dumb idea, I shouldn't do it" part of your brain, but you also have the energy to act on the impulse.

Psilocybin has known physiological affects on the body and on the brain. We see very clearly differences in how the brain functions on psilocybin.

It's absolutely not a placebo. That, or the definition of the word is being stretched such that all meaning is lost.


Placebos also have known physiological effects on the brain and there are clear differences when taking a pink placebo vs a blue one: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6...

This is not to downplay the effects of psychadelics - I've taken plenty and of course the psychoactive effects are undeniable. But the effects are from far more than just the chemicals. For example smoked DMT hallucinations are very different than Ayahuasca, despite the two being the same chemical.


Hmm, I see what you are saying. I'd like to see a comparison between the effects of established placebos on the brain versus psilocybin. My hunch is that the mechanisms are quite different, but maybe there are some interesting similarities.

> In my personal experiences with psychedelics, these drugs remove mental heuristics, they allow the mind to think unimpeded by usual thought patterns, and simply accept raw data as it comes in.

I like "removing mental heuristics" as a good way of describing what is happening at the physical level. Articulating (or, communicating with high fidelity) what happens at the experiential and emotional levels is much more tricky.

An analogy I would draw is, imagine or recall how you may have felt during a major event (usually negative), say the death of a loved one, or the ending of an important romantic relationship, or imagine how you might feel if you are on your death bed, reviewing your choices and actions throughout your life....do you have any regrets, would you have done anything different if you had it to do all over again, etc. Imagine the feeling of clarity of thought, and deep intellectual and emotional appreciation of the gravity of the situation involved in such experiences.

This is how (but only in part) I would describe my experiences with psychedelics. Of course each person experiences these things in different ways, but despite such differences, extremely deep profoundness is an extremely common takeaway.

A simpler explanation, I would say that it kind of "shocks me into reality". And you may think you know what that means, but if you haven't experienced it, you really don't. Even I don't fully appreciate the meaning of what I'm saying at this very moment; I am largely going on faith, based on a very low fidelity memory of the experiences - such is the strange, ineffable nature of these medicines.

Luckily, while it seems difficult to see into (remember) one's experiences in that world, the opposite is not true - when under the influence of psychedelics, my experience is that I can experience kind of a simultaneous existence of two states of mind: that of clarity of thought (normal biases due to heuristics largely removed), but also clear (if not clearer) memory of thoughts and emotions related to specific scenarios in the normal world. This seems to facilitate for a very productive self-help scneario, the so-called "five years of therapy or psychoanalysis in a few hours" effect that some people speak of.

I should also note that I am speaking of experimentation in the medium dose range of psilocybin. While there are other things to be discovered at the higher doses, for my purposes medium dose trips seem to be much more beneficial. YMMV.


Your personal experiences sound very interesting and I don't mean to detract at all from the effect they've had on you and many other people. However, I was a neuro Phd student and did many 'default mode network' studies using fMRI and it is -very- early to be making claims about the nature and/or purpose of this network, or how it's perturbed by any experience: psychedelic or not. The level of temporal and spatial resolution of data gathering of this and other brain networks is entirely too coarse to make legitimate inferences. At this point in the literature it is a very good story with a few compelling examples but not nearly complete enough to make real claims.

Your comment really resonates with me and wholeheartedly mirrors my own experiences with psychedelics. Of the lysergamides, I've taken LSD, 1P-LSD, LSA, AL-LAD, and my favorite: ALD-52--IMHO, the Cadillac of psychedelic drugs. It's a close analog of LSD with fewer "body load" effects, almost zero nausea, and a less scatterbrained headspace--sparkling clear with beautiful visuals and an uncanny tool for productive introspection.

Set has so much to do with the experience--though I've had fun with it out with friends at a bar in dark of winter, its true power is sorely wasted unless I'm in nature, especially when my wife and I are taking it together.

I know with zero uncertainty that it acts as almost a forceful, powerful therapy with even a modest amount of mental input--it's as if your brain is forced into a state of deep meditation where you can't help but improve your mental station (barring the notably rare "bad trip"--though I've taken it with so many people, I do believe it happens less frequently with ALD-52 on account of its mental clarity).

Some of the best days of my life have been while tripping on ALD-52, wandering wild goat trails, exploring the vibrant innards of canyons, weaving among mountain pines.

RE your experiences with water, I've had the same experiences. One of the most memorable moments of my life was returning from a short high desert hike, to sink to the bottom of a salt water pool, look skyward, and watch the desert sun dance and play with colors on the water's surface. I've never looked at water the same since. I'm cheerfully captivated with its beauty in a way I probably haven't since I was a child.

Which brings me to my final observation. The effects of psychedelics, perhaps owning to their serotonergic effects or their disabling of the default mode network re-imbue you with a wonder in the world around you that has slowly, inconspicuously eroded little-by-ever-so-little each year into adulthood. Year by year, the world becomes more bland, less exciting, less, well, full of wonder. Remember those magical memories of childhood? Perhaps running towards the ocean, arriving at summer camp, having a picnic in the park, diving to the bottom of the pool, playing with a new toy on Christmas, the excited anticipation before a sleepover, your first crush? The magnitude of those feelings are often so muted or jaded as an adult. The right psychedelics can bring those feelings rushing back, unfettered, unadulterated, pure. Suddenly you realize how much of that you've lost, while simultaneously getting to feel them again in full force. Some of that stays with you during sober times, which is lovely. Dosing periodically keeps that magic alive in you--what a joy, a gift.

Humans have taken psychedelics as part of daily lives for tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of years. The shaman is little more than an elder trip-sitter and therapist. Our highly complex brains have evolved alongside such chemicals and experiences to help define meaning and seek happiness and it's a crying shame that waves of prohibition have stifled that nigh fundamental human experience. It makes me happy to watch that damage slowly be undone with news like this.


Nice post. Wish I knew how to obtain some (legally or at least safely/discreetly).

When Albert Hoffman was put on trial in the late 1960s for LSD manufacture, his defense was that he was actually caught with ALD-52 (his discovery). He lost on account that he synthesized LSD first as a precursor.

Urban lore has it that some of the "really good acid" in the '60s under the moniker "Orange Sunshine" was actually ALD-52. This is heavily debated and we'll probably never know for sure how much, if any, ALD-52 was circulating.

Most interesting is that even though he was incarcerated, for whatever reason, the DEA never got around to scheduling ALD-52. It's technically still legal.

In order to combat designer drugs, the government put in place the Federal Analog Act which means you could be thrown in jail if you're caught with a previously-undocumented or never-scheduled drug that the courts find is similar enough to a scheduled one. However, this has only been invoked a handful of times (only 2 I can find) and would likely only ever been used against distributors. Bottom line, a recreational user is extremely, extremely unlikely to be nailed on this law.

Lucky for you, there's this massive, above-ground lab in Europe called Lizard Labs https://lizardlabs.eu/ and produce lab grade products. They might as well be the Eli Lily of gray market psychedelic drugs. You can't buy from them directly but they openly list retailers selling their products. If you live in Canada, Europe, or the US, there's a retailer that will ship to you super discretely through the mail. No tor required.

Here's their list: https://lizardlabs.eu/retailers/

I've never had an order seized, lost, or scammed. I mean, it's paper--nearly impossible to detect. People that have lost shipments have generally just had the item quietly seized by customs with no further repercussions. I've used theindoleshop.com multiple times.

Cheers.


Hoffman was never arrested, I think you are thinking of Owsley. Hoffman was never a US citizen and I don't recall him ever getting into trouble.

As for the Analog Act, the UK's version is presumably watertight (it effectively bans smelling flowers, but not poppers because gay MPs objected to that being banned), but has not been tested AFAIK.


I think you're right, apologies. I always get the OG psychedelic guys mixed up in my head.

Story is still mixed up ..

Apparently Hoffman also did invented ALD-25, but the failed defense strategy was from Tim Scully, who operated a lab and distributed orange sunshine for california ..

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/ALD-52


Re:oh-4-fucks-sake

The website notes that what they have are "NOT for human consumption". Is it safe or is it different than what one would use for recreational purposes?


"NOT for human consumption" is a CYA clause so the seller can maintain some level of plausible deniability if the feds ever do try to come down on them. Rest assured, this is lab-grade, high quality stuff. I think they release lab results. DEA: "This fancy new drug looks like another scheduled drug." Seller: "It's not a drug; it's just a compound that we sell as a curiosity so get fucked."

This may hold at least some water in court.

It's akin to the age-old headshop rule of calling bongs "tobacco pipes" and kicking anyone out that calls them bongs.


Is there a reliable place to read more about the chems? I'm enticed but also a bit confounded by all the names.

Is there a way to induce this feeling without the aid of psychedelics or breathwork?

"Here's a mechanism that brings these results"

"How can I have these results without loading on the mechanism?"

I can understand drug aversion but what's the aversion to breathwork, which is cheaper and shouldn't carry stigma?


Everyone is saying meditation etc, I would disagree. A major part is the ability to put this experience in motion/action which I find counterintuitive to meditation. Quite frankly no, I do not think it is replicable to be able to turn off the filters in which are responsible for keeping the raw data to a manageable level, that is much different than increasing your sensitivity through deprivation. Alteration of brain chemistry may be simulated in the future, but there is no replacement today.

>> they allow the mind to think unimpeded by usual thought patterns, and simply accept raw data as it comes in

> Is there a way to induce this feeling without the aid of psychedelics or breathwork?

Depends on what you means by "induce". (Usually) many, many years of practice (if ever)... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kensh%C5%8D


I just did a 10 day silent meditation retreat and there were points where the feeling had definite similarities to psychedelics. Hard work but worth it. I have a feeling that the meditation retreat went deeper than psychedelics did for me personally.

Through certain yogic practices and breathing techniques. But honestly nothing compares to a psychedelic trip imo.

Meditation is said to be able to give similar experiences. But of course require a lot more work.

Some years ago I wanted to give it a shot so I tried one of those meditation exercises, where the goal is to have your mind calm to the point of not having any conscious thoughts and only experiencing sensations. Was stubborn about it and did it for maybe 3? hours continuously until I actually started having some success.

I can definitely report reaching an altered-state experience afterward that mirrors some of the things described here. The intensity of everything was dialed way, way up, in a way I had kind of forgotten was possible but I'm pretty sure I experienced as a kid. I don't think there's a way to put it in words that's comparable to experiencing it but it was not a subtle effect at all.

Abstractly, say everything has an "interestingness" value, and certain things would be near the top like a great movie or book. It was like there was a dial for this value that just scaled everything, and it was dialed up high enough where just the way light & shadow interacted on some things was as interesting as a great movie. Everything was super interesting. Kind of like a reverse burnout state, where maybe nothing is interesting. The effect lasted the rest of the day.

Anyway it wasn't easy at all to get in that state and I don't think I made a serious effort again. But I'd definitely recommend giving it a shot to anyone who's curious. It wasn't like there was any complex technique, it was basically just close your eyes, focus attention on breath and let go of all conscious thoughts. Personally the last part was the hard part.

I wonder if it gets easier with time so you can reach that state in 30 min or something instead of struggling hard for 3 hours. If that's the case maybe I should try seriously practicing it since having control of that dial would be pretty useful.


all thing yoga or meditation related adviced above are mainly focused on breathing basically, so any advice in that sense require at least breathing in some specific ways. Maybe electroinduction in the brain can achieve similar conditions. You aid to brain phisiological alterations, so it's quite difficult play with it without touching the ways it works from external eg with drugs, sugar levels, oxygen levels, electromagnetic induction (I'd consider co2 levels a drug for example)

Sam Harris states that you can achieve this enhanced selflessness via meditation (where we think of the "self" or "the ego" as that sort of "conductor" that the psychedelics turn off). However, while meditation is like a sailboat, psychedelics are like a rocket: both will take you places, but one much more quickly and with much more risk.

In my limited experience (2 trips) there was no negative aspect to psychedelics. There were things that were already negatively valenced, like riding in a car or visiting a friend's messy house briefly, however I had no inkling of a bad trip or any scary/demonic/overwhelming sensations.


Sam Harris & Yuval Noah Harari answer a question about "peak" meditative experiences, and set them in context with psychedelic experiences in the segment starting at 1:27:20:

https://samharris.org/podcasts/138-edge-humanity/


Take a look at Kundalini Yoga

"These drugs suppress activity of the default mode network of the brain, which is a sort of "conductor" of the brain, which chooses which "instruments" to prioritize and how to allocate the train of thought"

That's interesting, but it sounds like a plausible description of how schizophrenia works too, maybe even one that I've read before, and yet my impression is that "natural" psychosis is different.


Meditation also affects the activity of the default mode network. This is a fundamental network that plays a huge role is much of our brain's activities, so saying 2 different things have an affect on the network doesn't mean that those impacts are necessarily similar.

that's pretty much it, except if you're on LSD at some point it will stop.

It's pretty common to have one or two episodes of psychosis and then not again. Selection bias and all that. Anyone that doesn't have a severe chronic problem, you're not going to be aware of, but it's reasonable to assume there are more mild cases than severe cases of almost any condition. For that matter, it's a definitional issue - people can appear crazy temporarily for almost infinite reasons, and if it doesn't reoccur, even doctors aren't going to call it schizophrenia. You go into a hospital appearing to be stark raving mad, they are going to test you for drugs and call it "schizophreniform" if they can't find any.

Thank you for the thoughtful response, this really is encouraging for those on the fence about trying. Might take a trip to Amsterdam soon....

The point is they do something, but for that something to be most likely good/positive, you also need therapy, which if you want, you can interpret as a "trip sitter" or whatever the phrase is.

Y'all aren't disagreeing.


> but for that something to be most likely good/positive, you also need therapy

I hear ideas like this (and "In other words, you would need to use the drugs in combination with therapy to obtain good results") repeated all the time, but I'm curious where they come from.

If one spends any time whatsoever in enthusiast communities, the overwhelming sentiment is that these compounds are incredibly helpful even when used alone. This is not to say that individual results wouldn't be even better with therapy, or that there aren't some people who have negative experiences, but these being true also in no ways logically implies that significant benefits cannot be realized by independent usage.

The precise answer to these and other questions, at this current point in time, is: we don't know, with extremely high certainty. But this doesn't mean we don't know anything. Reality is independent of man's understanding (peer reviewed studies) of it - a tree falling in the forest does not require the presence of a scientist.

While it's always a good idea to exercise caution, I suspect advice like "do not use these substances except under professional guidance" is likely more harmful than helpful. It will be years if not decades before formal treatments are available, for many people that may be too late, not to mention the exorbitant price tags these treatments come at. I am more of the mind that people educate themselves on the topic, proceed with caution, work with those who have experience, and proceed slowly and with caution, starting with low dosages and working your way up over time. There is very little trustworthy evidence that I know of indicating there is any kind of substantial risk, and even then that has to be weighed against not just the benefits, but also the risk of doing nothing.


Enthusiast communities are probably not the most objective group of folks, so I'd take what they have to say with a grain of salt.

Of course, but be careful not to make the mistake of assuming that members in those communities are homogeneous. There's certainly no shortage of woo-woo style thinking, but there are also enthusiasts who think about it very seriously and analytically. These same people will also tell you that anything they say should be taken with a grain of salt. These are the people who should be mainly listened to.

Regardless, I fail to see any evidence that supports the assertion that you also need therapy, that you cannot benefit substantially without it. Those who have literally no first hand experience with psychedelics are not exactly objective either, but it sure doesn't stop them from confidently passing out advice.


So if I found any evidence at all, you'd agree you were wrong? Seems pretty strong if a stance to take...

My emphasis is on the word need. I'd happily consider any evidence you've seen.

My emphasis is on the word "risk" (captured in the literal words "most likely"). It's risky to go without a guide, though it's not "needed" in the sense of a 100% failure rate.

Honestly, the fact that you assumed others were talking about "have a guide or 100% failure" is disingenuous on your part.


> and really ensure your mindset ("set") is positive and open

Everyone says this and it's little more than bro science. So if you have a bad experience from the drugs, it was because you weren't in a positive headspace? Sounds like No True Scotsman.


>So if you have a bad experience from the drugs, it was because you weren't in a positive headspace?

You can always test out this hypothesis by doing a tab of LSD from the same batch twice while controlling for your headspace. One day, you do it with a positive headspace, and another day you do it with a negative one. If you had a great experience the first time and a bad experience the second time, clearly the headspace alignment made the difference.

Yes, this kind of testing isn't as rigorous as it would have been for a legitimate scientific trial (which I bet we will see in the future as the research into the area accelerates), but imo it is more than just a No True Scotsman backed by broscience.

And of course, no one says that a negative headspace is the only reason for someone to have a bad experience, there are others for sure. For example, certain people with predisposition for schizophrenia probably should abstain as well. AFAIK psychedelics won't cause a schizophrenia in an otherwise healthy person, but I heard it might kick off an early onset if you were going to get a schizophrenia in a few years without any psychedelics anyways.


"headspace" doesn't mean anything

Yes, it does. It's quite literally in the dictionary: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/headspace

Ok have fun performing psychological experiments on your brain using "informal" merriam webster definitions

You're just being pedantic and grasping at straws. Whether or not we're using the scientific term for an individual's mindset (which is not quantifiable to a high degree of precision but that doesn't meant it's not quantifiable at all, you can at least reduce most 'measurements' to a binary range) is irrelevant to its significance. The comment you replied to specifically said it would be hard to do a rigorous study of.

ok, you can replace that word with "mood and the general train of thoughts at the moment". Happier now?

Everyone knows what it means, and it is way shorter than what I have in the quotes. Pretending it isn't a legitimate word (despite it having an actual entry in the dictionary) doesn't make you look more impressive.


You don’t understand anything when you read or hear the word?

Genuinely, there is a reason why it is called a "trip". You either need enough experience to guide yourself or you need a tour guide to make sure you have a good experience.

One of the first times we did LSD with my friends in college, in the end we all were thinking "this is why they call it a trip. we all went somewhere together and came back".

Set and setting matter a lot and it isn't bro-science. You're talking about drugs that take your mental chatter and external stimuli and allow them to flow freely. Anything bad or anxiety producing will get amplified and without the proper experience, it might spiral out of control.


The thing about that is it's hard to not have anecdotal evidence about a phenomenon when the item of study is an illegal drug. That doesn't mean there is no effect though and this one seems very logical. Also not exactly the same but you don't need to try it with schedule one psychedelics this can be noticed with things like alcohol

"Headspace" is presumably legal? And it's not a defined medical or scientific concept.

Mood, Affect, setting... I think these are well defined terms. That is what's meant by headspace. However it's not legal to test this in conjunction with illegal drugs, even scientifically they can't get approval in many cases.

Another vote for this book - I deal with OCD, and thus my brain is always thrusting all sorts of wild and crazy fears through my consciousness.

I'm not sure I have the stomach to try a psychedelic to try and treat it, as I've seen some success with exposure therapy, but the curiosity is there. I also had some pretty bad experiences with marijuana when I was younger (college), that have kind of scarred my ability to relax before taking any drugs.

There's a part in the book where it was either him on one of his experimental trips or maybe it was someone he interviewed, but while tripping, they were faced with some terribly scary images.

The person tripping said to their therapist guide that they were scared of whatever they were seeing and wanted to run away. The therapist suggested instead that they turn around and face head on whatever it was that they were seeing that scared them. Stare at it, observe it, take it in.

After they did so, the thing they thought they were so afraid of ended up not being so bad, and they sort of peacefully coexisted with it for a bit longer in the trip until the thing went away.

This is how I try and frame the scary things that run through my brain, it's normal to be afraid of bad thoughts, but also learning how to peacefully coexist with them is pretty healthy.


I honestly thought I wrote this as I was reading. I’ve had the exact same bad experiences, essentially everytime I tried it. First time being the one that started it all where I accidentally ate two full brownies. That scarred me. Second time I almost lost all motor skills for a few minutes. The last time it happened I decided to change the experience when I felt it start. This time, instead of fighting it, I just let go and basically tricked myself into enjoying it and boy was it great. I know the feeling of a bad experience, but tell your mind to take in it and you’ll enjoy it; worked for me at least.

My advice for people like you is to try a super small dose (e.g. 1/8th of a "normal dose"). This will hopefully take the fear away as it will have minimal (if any) noticeable effects and is a baseline to work up from. The people who have bad experiences are the ones that take a large dose the first time they try something.

Yes they need to be used in conjunction with therapy... but kind of like a surgeon's tools need to be used in conjunction with a surgeon.

There's absolutely nothing placebo-like whatsoever about psilocybin, any more than a surgeon's tools are placebos. It's an extremely powerful tool that can be applied in a therapeutic context.


All treatment modalities have a placebo effect. Including surgery. See: decades of modern research on sham surgeries.

True of course, but having a placebo effect is not the same as being a placebo. Non-placebos have other effects too.

The term "super-placebo" is silly in the first place. Any effective treatment is a "super-placebo" - it works better than placebo.

I definitely would not consider them to be in the class of drugs as a traditional placebo, in the sense that they drastically alter your sense of consciousness and reality, but you are getting at important component which is that these drugs should be coupled with pre-trip planning therapy and post-trip integration therapy in clinical settings.

Great book btw. I highly recommend it anyone who is curious about the subject.


.

I am fairly sure that rigorous scientific research has shown that this is not the case.

Why did you delete your comment? I really appreciated it and actually bookmarked it specifically. I know it probably wasn't popular among consumers, buy I liked it and agreed with it. I actually have witnessed exactly what you describe in people I know.

Thanks. You’re right. It was stupid for me to delete it. I will repost it here with the caveat that I wrote it on impulse. It’s an oversimplification of a really complicated subject.

> The way I think of these drugs is just that they flood your brain with toxins. That in itself will make it not work properly. But the scary part is that the more time your brain spend intoxicated the more likely you start loosing or weakening connections. If you weaken connections only for the bad memories, that would be a good thing. But what if you weaken the connections for other important things in your life ? Like self control, moral values, family love, etc.


No, its not just an oversimplification. It's entirely incorrect. Most psychedelic drugs are very low in toxicity, to the extent that they can accurately be called non toxic.

As Paracelsus said, all medicine is poison, the dose is what makes it medicine. So even if psychedelics were toxins, that's not a knock against them.

For LSD and Psilocybin I'm not sure if Toxin is the right word. From my layman understanding, LSD and Psilocybin mimic naturally occurring proteins that bind to certain receptors in your brain triggering release of chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and etc. Your brains natural processes will "clean-up" the LSD and psilocybin just like it would for your body's natural analogs.

You have never tried psychedelics have you? They often have the opposite effect of what you have speculated on.

I can't think of many things more likely to induce a horrible trip than some credentialed "therapist" telling me what to do in a "clinal setting".

Consider expanding your definition of what a "therapist" could be and what a "clinical setting" could look like. Michael Pollan's interactions with the therapists (they're called "guides") in "How to Change Your Mind" are not clinical at all in the sense of sterility, beige-walled offices etc.

So some goofy guy whose parents paid for an online masters degree in trip therapy gets to bill my insurance $200 an hour? Meh, I'll take my chances on the black market.

Pollan actually does go on the black market (still probably $200/hour though). You can't legally get a psychedelic trip guide in the US right now.

The point is that the exact people who are well-known and respected as black-market guides would become therapists in a world where such a profession were legal!


> You can't legally get a psychedelic trip guide in the US right now.

Not entirely true, although only a few, there have been and continue to be legal studies involving psilocybin (also MDMA) in addition to the one in the OP.

Here is a smoking cessation study in Baltimore, involving a psilocybin psychedelic trip. https://www.quitsmokingbaltimore.org/

Here's an article about the findings of the 2014 pilot study on the same thing which describes the methodology to some extent. https://hub.jhu.edu/2014/09/11/magic-mushrooms-smoking/


Seriously, read the book. You're grossly misjudging what the book discusses.

In running there is an expression, "you have to run your own race". The same is true here.

But specifically in this context psychedelics are generally introduced to individuals who haven't had prior experience with them, and may need additional support that therapists can help with (e.g. survivors of sexual assault, deep depression, anxiety regarding terminal diagnosis, PTSD, etc) and the therapist have been trained specifically in guiding these individuals in psychedelic trips. So they are like the best trip sitters you can have if you are trying to get out of rut.


How do you know that the shift in consciousness/reality is not just an illusion?

what does that even mean? There is absolutely zero chance that there is a placebo effect in psychedelics. It’s a mind shattering experience. Obviously the hallucinations are illusory but the fact that you are having them is not.

To nitpick: it's accurate to say that there is zero chance that the effect of psychedelics is just a placebo effect.

This does not mean that there is zero placebo effect involved with taking psychedelics. The latter statement would mean your experience is identical between actively taking a psychedelic and someone slipping some in your drink. I'd say this is unlikely, no?

We know for lots of other drugs, both therapeutic and recreational, that there is always a placebo component as well as a "real" one.

This is why people do placebo-controlled trials. You take 100 people and give them ibuprofen against joint pain, then you give another 100 people sugar pills against joint pain. Then you record their pain reduction on some scale, and the placebo scores 2 +/- 1 points, and the ibuprofen scores 7 +/- 1 points. So you say ibuprofen has a significantly better effect than placebo, but (probably) 2/7th of the ibuprofen effect is due to placebo.


Yeah, i understand that, but the point of a placebo is that you don't know whether you got the medicine being tested or not. I can assure you that you will be left with zero doubt about whether you received a psychedelic or not, unless it's a very small dose.

You're thinking of a blind study, strictly speaking a placebo is simply any pharmaceutically inert substance. You can take a placebo knowingly and in fact knowing that it's not medicine doesn't stop you from getting the benefits of the placebo effect.

It's actually a change in perception and perspective. Since consciousness and reality are subjective results of individual perception and perspective, there is an altering of consciousness and experienced reality. Perception being perceiving and mapping out the external world outside of the individual mind. And perspective then deriving a meaningful relationship between "I" and external Abstract or Concrete Things X.

They have measured very distinct changes in brain functioning.

How do you know reality is not just an illusion?

It is an illusion, but at the same time it's not. It's 100% real to the person perceiving the shift, and in the case of treating mental illness that's all that really counts.

It's not so much about how it works or why it works, it's mostly about the result.


> more akin to a super-placebo, rather than being therapeutic on their own.

As far as I can tell, from my own experience, lsd kind of make you see your own actions/thoughts as an observer[0], it's a very useful tool if you're into introspection. If you're not used to introspection it can be quite unsettling though.

[0] >50ug <400ug, after that you just look a the ceiling and enjoy the lights


> >50ug <400ug

That is a huge difference. 400ug is a big dose and 50ug barely noticable.

Anyone reading this without experience going for 400 is going to get knocked for six


Ah yeah definitely don't go for 400u for your first time. I assume no one would think "that random dude on HN recommended 400ug" and go for it without more research though. 50-150 is more manageable for a beginner.

The 150 end of the range as a first time can be manageable for some and can be quite intense for others.

Some research suggests a “30-40 microgram trip first, then a 60-80 microgram before anything larger, then a 120-140 microgram before anything larger, then either stopping there (this was the dosage that resulted in the highest increase in well-being) or doing a 170-240 microgram trip.” — https://tripsafe.org/how-to-take-lsd/#start-small


Another issue is the, albeit anecdotal, inaccuracy of LSD concentration in black market products. If you are aiming for a 100 ug dose, and blotters marketed as 100 ug can range from 50-150 ug, its quite hard to do proper dosage. Darknet markets have however probably improved the situation with accountability and reviews from customer.

Also, the pharmaceutical effect of any given amount depends on body weight and various other factors. So the exact amount needed for a particular trip level is different from person to person.

75-125 is an actual trip. Anything less than that you're not going to get the full psychedelic experience. We can debate the effects of microdosing, but 100-150ug has been a gold standard for decades for a reason.

I don’t disagree! :) I think you’d find the graphs in the tripsafe link interesting - they show a relationship of starting dose size and rampup vs. lasting benefits. Also some statistics of how many participants felt high anxiety per starting dose. The most significant lasting benefits seemed to come from initially low and then escalating doses. iow it seems like a small dose allows people to process better. Open more up? Be swept less away by the experience and work more within their personal selves’ substance and experience?

I mean first off that is only in comparison to a dosage schedule of the reverse amount.

I'm just arguing that it would make more sense to start at 80-110-140-170 etc because below that is placebo.


Just wanted to mention that 50ug of LSD tartrate is very noticeable. A 100ug tab is a surprisingly strong tab.

Source: have worked directly with LSD crystal in the past. (Unfortunately anecdotes are king when it comes to illicit drugs otherwise I’d be able to cite an actual external source)


lsd kind of make you see your own actions/thoughts as an observer

This is probably the best way to describe the therapeutic value in this situation. Hallucinogens (not just LSD), give you some distance from your headspace. It's not to the degree you feel depersonalized or have an out of body experience, but it allows you to examine your own thoughts without all those underlying assumptions that you hold yourself to subconsciously, every day.


I won't pretend to understand the neuroscience, but consider: Today's antidepressants work by affecting your serotonin. Another serotonin-affecting drug comes along, and it's assumed to be "placebo"?

Personally I tried it. A very low dose completely wipes out any depression or negative thought for weeks at a time. Way better than zoloft.


Agreed.

I'm surprised by the focus on large psychedelic trip doses and placebos in this thread. It's basically two opposing extremes.

I too have observed incredible effects of taking small below-threshold doses of psilocybin, with absolutely no negative effect whatsoever. It's tempting to incorporate half a stem into my regular morning routine like a vitamin.


I've posted about this before but I went to see Robin Carhart-Harris [0] talk about this in London recently. He said that the research was suggesting that the under psychedelics, the brain enters a state where it becomes more malleable and open to reconfiguration (and it actually undergoes a permanent physical change). The same thing happens under extreme trauma. While in this state, the experiences can then almost be structurally hardcoded into the mind.

So the chemicals trigger the mechanics, but the experience dictates the lasting effects.

[0] https://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/r.carhart-harris


what does “good results” mean?

I’ve done many trips on LSD and Psylocybin. A classic line you read about these experiences is they rank up as the most significant events in people’s lives such as the birth of a child.

However if you trip 100 times or more, how can all of those times be so incredibly meaningful? They can’t. and they won’t retain their power. and that’s a common feeing of a trip is it feels important and significant and intense in the moment, but a lot of the time you aren’t doing much on a trip. maybe you had a day at the beach. maybe you took it at a music festival. maybe you took it with friends you rarely see.

will some of those experiences have more lasting effects than others? yes. will they all feel significant at the time you’re on it? yes. but i don’t agree they don’t count as “good results” if there’s no professional therapy involved. a lot of what you get out of these trips depends on what you put into it. it’s entirely possible to go to a clinical trip and get little out of it. and as many people know you can trip without professional help and see impactful outcomes


Altered states not does automatically equal altered traits (or however the saying goes)

> In other words, you would need to use the drugs in combination with therapy to obtain good results.

That's essentially the case with any depression medication.


No. There are plenty of medications that have measurable effects on average. That doesn't mean it's a one-shot solution for everyone's depression. You need to find the right medication, get therapy, sleep well, and exercise if you have major depressive disorder. But to say that medication has no effect on its own is misleading.

> But to say that medication has no effect on its own is misleading.

That's not what I was saying.


I second this, its a great read by Michael Pollan, he's brilliant. I like his gonzo approach of trying the drugs and reporting on them.

Not sure what you mean by “super placebo”? Doesn’t seem right at all. The reason why these drugs are more effective in combination with therapy is because they, speaking from personal experience, “unlock” your mind in a way that can be conducive to objective self-examination.

Super placebo isn't a thing. There is a bounty of research on how psychedelics affect the brain both physiologically and psychologically. They are effectively a suggestive (vs a stimulant or a depressant)

I think what they might be trying to get at is the concept of an “active placebo.” That is, a treatment that does something, but can’t treat the condition that’s being studied.

I disagree that psilocybin is any sort of placebo, but I think this captures the intent of the grandparent comment.


Haven't read it but Michael Pollan is a good egg.

> In other words, you would need to use the drugs in combination with therapy to obtain good results.

For optimal results, not good results. The compounds are fairly therapeutic on their own and can and have produced plenty of good results, in the same way that chewing on willow bark still helped with headaches before we concentrated into the convenient form of aspirin.


Having known several people in the past who used LSD and shrooms, I never noticed anything outstanding about their psychology as attributed by this article or that their mind was any less/more anxious or depressed than say relatively straight edge people like me who've never done any drug other than socially inspired alcohol sessions.

> I've been reading a book called "How to Change Your Mind

It's amazing how the same books get tossed around Silicon Valley, is their a book club i'm not aware of.

(just finished the above book, it's heavy on drug history which I dont care about but still well-written)


With the right set and setting you don’t need absolutely need therapy in order to get good results. Writing down some intentions/questions can be enough. Eye shades + music, such as the Johns Hopkins playlist is HIGHLY recommended.

> it seems like these drugs affect the brain in a way that's more akin to a super-placebo

When the only thing that's changing is a state of mind, then placebo is actually the real deal.


This is a superficial perspective. Indigenous people have been using entheogenic plants for centuries, and understand that these are living entities, spirits here to help humanity - meant to be used in a ceremonial setting, not "drugs" and definitely not "placebo."

A very hard book to get through the middle of :(

> In other words, you would need to use the drugs in combination with therapy to obtain good results.

I got good results and all I did was listen to music or walk around outside.


While this is a great step forward, it's still going to take years for this to be even remotely accessible. I've been in therapy and taking various medications for years and haven't found anything that really works, at least for more than a brief period.

Don't forget esketamine was also granted breakthrough treatment status recently, but I have yet to find a doctor willing to try it because it's "so new". On top of that, it's still outrageously expensive even with insurance, if insurance will even cover it at all because it's "so new" and I haven't yet exhausted every compound that's ever existed. Sigh.


Not to be facetious but why is the legal status of these drugs preventing you from trying them?

Ketamine, LSD, shrooms are all accessible, and recreational varieties are not expensive.


This is a ridiculous question, the answer is because they are illegal, of course.

Most of us aren't willing to risk a criminal record.

I wouldn't know where I could obtain such items even if I wanted to buy them. If I can't buy something off the shelf at a retail store I'm simply not going to bother.

Sketchy/unknown supply chain.

Tons of us have jobs (or whole careers!) that we could lose for using illegal drugs, many of those jobs include random drug tests. I'm not risking my entire fucking livelihood without a damn good reason.


What a world. It feels like this is one of those topics where one side of the tracks has a vastly different worldview to the other.

During the UK conservative party leadership contest earlier this year I thought it was pretty telling that all or most of the main candidates admitted to using illegal drugs at some point.

But sometimes I forget that there are people out there who are significantly more risk-averse or perhaps more generally obedient and who see the world very differently.

I guess my point is that I didn't think it was a ridiculous question.

I'd also point out that your use of "most" here might be unwarranted. There are surveys which demonstrate more than half of respondents admitting to the use of illicit drugs [1].

[1] https://www.drugabuse.gov/national-survey-drug-use-health


> But sometimes I forget that there are people out there who are significantly more risk-averse or perhaps more generally obedient and who see the world very differently.

The criminal justice system treats people very differently, depending on who you are.

In my lived experience, for middle class white kids, using cocaine, heroin, LSD, etc. was just a right of passage, that for the most part, didn’t effect their future prospects for college or a career.

Meanwhile, black and brown kids caught with a dime bag ended up going to jail.

In the US, white and black people use drugs at about the same rate, but black people are convicted at much higher rates and with longer sentences: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5614457/


Possibly controversial view, but I think that these differences are largely socioeconomic in nature. The US justice system does not treat poor people kindly, regardless of their skin color or ethnicity. "Justice for all who can afford it" and whatnot.

(Of course there's also the odd case of a racist judge, but my impression is that it's by far the exception.)

Edit: The paper you linked does raise some very interesting questions about the motivations behind various government policies, however.


>The US justice system does not treat poor people kindly, regardless of their skin color or ethnicity. "Justice for all who can afford it" and whatnot.

Yes, income is a factor, but that still doesn't explain why blacks are 13% of the population but the prison population is nearly 40% black.

Nobody seriously disputes the clear racial bias in the criminal justice system.


I guess my reaction to your post is the closest I'll ever come to the feeling of envy.

IRL, I don't know a single drug user or way how to get them. I looked it up online several times in different countries. Result always the same, a good likelihood of your delivery getting intercepted and you getting fucked as a result. Everyting about this annoys me.


Try considering the notion that some of us value our mental well-being greater than we value our careers, and that what we do in the privacy of our own dwellings is our business and no one else's.

Hardly ridiculous. Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level but might as well be considered legal at this point.

No one is going to go to jail because you purchased a small amount of drugs. If you are the seller it's a different story.


I'm sorry but "why does something being illegal prevent you from doing it?" is a ridiculous question.

Even if you start with the premise nobody is going to jail (which is blatantly untrue - I personally know people with possession charges), getting caught with small amounts of drugs can ruin the careers of some people, including my own career. Think people who must hold a professional licence, people who are subject to background checks (including coders who work at medium to large companies), people who work with children, people who work in certain safety critical industries, people who hold security clearances, etc. There was an FBI agent who was fired recently for testing positive for thc from using CBD oil, the federal government's position is there's no legitimate reason to test positive for thc.


You're referring to your own risk tolerance that is unfounded in most modern workplaces. If you work in tech absolutely no employer does drug tests for employment. People talk about microdosing LSD openly.

Michael Pollen wrote a best selling book about his experience with psychedelics earlier this year. Tim Ferris funded a research institute at John Hopkins and talks about it on his podcast all the time.

Unless you work for the federal gov't you're catastrophizing the risk.


I don't know where you get this, maybe start-up land. I have been a dev since the early '90's and all kinds of enterprises do drug testing. Most utilities, health-related organizations, defense contractors, transportation businesses and even many large manufacturers routinely drug test potential employees. Most only test for pre-employment screening, but random testing is still used in many places.

Most recently, three years ago, I was tested for a contracting gig at a Wisconsin power company for a web dev job.


Sometimes I think startup land is a different planet, around here pretty much every company who would hire a software developer drug tests AND background checks unless maybe it's a really, really small company. Some even do the hair drug test instead of the piss test.

I've ALWAYS been drug tested before starting a software job. I've been drug tested working for the most benign of industries. I actually had a friend who quit weed so she could get a better paying job.


That sounds like a different planet to me. I don't know of any big tech company, let alone startups, that drug test. I wouldn't be surprised if this was the case for dev jobs in older industries but it doesn't seem to be the norm any more.

modern tech cos do not drug test

There is still some risk. I think you're forgetting that (1) illegal drugs are hard to obtainn--no walking into CVS--and (2) illegal drugs are not reliably sourced--I trust mass manufactured marijuana far more than I do from the sketchy guy on the corner.

That's not necessarily true, especially in consulting firms. I am drug tested somewhat regularly.

"If you work in tech"

You think there are no tech jobs in consulting firms?

What is tech? If you mean sv startups perhaps. But pretty much any embedded sw shop will at least test at hire on.

google, amazon, fb, netflix, apple...these are not "startups"

> No one is going to go to jail because you purchased a small amount of drugs.

What world are you living in? Drug possession is one of the most common reasons for being arrested.

https://www.bjs.gov/content/dcf/enforce.cfm


> An estimated 137,000 people are in prison today on a basic drug-possession charge. Approximately 65% of them sit in local jails, and most of them have yet to actually be accused of a crime. These unfortunate individuals may have to wait months to get their day in court because of their inability to post bail. https://www.marijuanabreak.com/going-to-prison-for-marijuana...

It isn't risk-free, but the risk is low.

Michael Pollen literally wrote a best selling book about taking LSD, eating shrooms, etc. earlier this year.


The risk has a pretty high relationship with the color of your skin.

I’ve been to jail for a small amount of MJ. The chain of custody and the purity/contamination of a plant is much easier to track, then something like a powder a pill or liquid. There is literally no circumstance where I would trust something that wasn’t a plant on the black market

Ehrlich's reagent will tell you if you have something in at least the same chemical family as LSD, which rules out almost all of the dangerous substances that are sometimes sold as "LSD."

Everyone has a different risk tolerance. People use LSD, ketamine, and shrooms all the time.

If you are a person of colour in America you're definitely at risk.

That's obnoxiously ignorant. Even in high school one of my friends had their house raided and electronics, other valuables consfiscated. A dealer scapegoated him, and he had been searched and found with a pipe with resin in it. He carried the pipe to be cool. He had smoked weed less than 5 times at that point. I have other friends with criminal records for minute quantitites of personal use marijuana.

I consider myself extremely risk averse, and would probably agree with you on most things.

But with unbeatable Major Depression you are dealing with a significant suicide risk, and the risk to your legal status may be worth the benefit to your overall happiness.

People who want to replace a little Prozac with Psilocybin can afford to wait 10-15 years for treatments to become standardized, legal and affordable.

I spent 15 years assuming that I would kill myself someday, and basically all of life was a delaying action to put suicide off as long as possible. So for me taking the plunge into illegal self treatment was worth it. A yearly Ayahusca session for me does more to combat depression that years of therapy and legal medications.


> People who want to replace a little Prozac with Psilocybin can afford to wait 10-15 years for treatments to become standardized, legal and affordable.

Be very careful making that transition, you can get serotonin shock.


Supply chain is a definite concern with LSD, and other synthetic drugs. They are often incorrectly dosed and sometimes laced with other chemicals.

Naturally grown drugs like marijuana, mushrooms, even peyote and it's cousins are easy to identify, easy to dose safely and there is almost no risk of supply chain tampering.


Counterpoint: the amount of psilocybin in a mushroom can vary by 5x, even of the same strain, depending on growing conditions and time of harvest.

On the other hand, if you buy 250mg of powdered psilocin or psilocybin from a reputable vendor, you know exactly how much you are getting.


"there is almost no risk of supply chain tampering"

Hell no. There are sadly a million ways to increase the weight of hash with neutral to very harmful chemicals.

Also just the buds of marijuhana can be poisened. Low quality ganja mixed with artifical thc(or something else for example happened quite a lot in recent times)

Fortunately, you do can grow your own ...


Psilocybin mushrooms were decriminalized in Denver, CO this year.

Also Oakland CA.

> Tons of us have jobs (or whole careers!) that we could lose for using illegal drugs, many of those jobs include random drug tests. I'm not risking my entire fucking livelihood without a damn good reason.

It is ridiculous how "square" things have gotten in 2019 when you read things like this on a forum called "Hacker News." Have you ever heard of Mondo 2000? Or that time The San Francisco Examiner sent a reporter to SIGGRAPH because they could not believe the claims that so many people in computer graphics were doing LSD? Things were different in the Valley in the early 1990s.


Seriously, the responses in this thread are just embarrassing. It's like listening to purity-ring wearing adolescent virgins talk about sex.

Most of the people I know wouldn't think twice about dropping some l or shrooms on a weekend with some ketamine and a hit of DMT, and we all have respectable jobs and families. It's just not that big of a deal.


"It's like listening to purity-ring wearing adolescent virgins talk about sex."

You're an ignorant jerk. Anyone who hasn't been caught won't think it's a big deal. Anyone sitting in jail because of it would disagree. Seriously, fuck off with your holier-than-though "adolescent virgins" schtick because some people don't want to just have a bender with illicit substances that aren't standardized.

This has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with people who want to do shrooms or acid on a weekend, it's about people looking for therapeutic relief! I can't fathom the ignorance that leads to someone like you conflating medical treatment with nonchalant recreational drug use. They aren't the same, and I'm not looking to get high and have a fun weekend. I'm looking to relieve mental illness you ignorant ass.


A buddy of mine, who rarely drinks and dislikes marijuana, grows his own psilocybin mushrooms. It wasn't difficult for him to learn, and he bought kits online. The legal risk is minimal to non existent unless you are dumb enough to sell them.

The health risks aren't bad either. Psilocybin mushrooms have distinct properties which can be tested for with a white sheet of paper in a super simple test.

In other words, fortune favors the bold.


You realize that drug tests don't detect psychedelics. And it's ridiculously easy to grow your own psilocybin mushrooms (the spores for which are legal to purchase in all states except California, Georgia, and Idaho) if you're worried about the supply chain.

That’s so interesting because it is so different from my experience. I find it incredibly easy to find access to these items and if I move to a new city all I end up doing is going to a local bar and chat up people to find new sources.

This is not a ridiculous question. If you are just willing to suffer without exploring illegal alternatives, so be it. But it is not ridiculous to take a small risk to explore a compound that can alleviate suffering.

I would imagine a lot of people don't want to take LSD because of difficulty guaranteeing that it is actually real LSD-25 and not some other derivative. I think the American CIA was responsible for spiking the LSD supply with more dangerous alternatives at one point. And now, there are plenty of variants that are either mixed in and then sold, or sold directly as LSD, when they are actually not.

Testing is difficult because the common tests only test for the presence of LSD-25, not the purity, and not for the presence of substitutes. Someone who mixed the pure substance with some more dangerous derivative would be impossible to detect without lab grade tools.

This has stopped me from trying LSD for my whole life. I assume there are many others that don't want to take mind altering substances with unknown purity.


There is plenty of information on the internet on how to grow mushrooms.

I've read that street lsd-25 is vanishingly rare. it doesn't keep (degrades under UV), and it's hard to make (why make lsd when you can make meth instead?). I'm told much street lsd is other stuff. Dunno if true.

What sort of impurities are you concerned with? Are there many drugs that are psychoactive at such low (microgram) doses?

Fentanyl is active in a range very similar to LSD, it's the biggest concern.

25i-NBOMe is a drug similar in effect to LSD, but with a somewhat worse track record for safety. It's not likely to harm you, and unless you're fairly familiar with LSD, you might not notice the difference, but it has caused deaths due to severe vasoconstriction, which hasn't happened with LSD, even though many more people have used the latter. It's requires larger doses than LSD does, but it's still active at doses well under a milligram, and is usually sold on blotter paper just like LSD is.

Strychnine is also active in the LSD dose range. There was definitely some propaganda about strychnine-tainted LSD in the 70s, so it's hard to know if this has ever happened, or if it's just urban legend. But it's chemically plausible.

Fortunately, you don't have to just pray that your blotter doesn't have fentanyl in it. You can buy chemical test kits on the clear market and rule out all the culprits that should be cause for concern, and test that your blotter contains LSD (or at least a compound containing an indole group...). See https://www.reddit.com/r/ReagentTesting/ for links to vendors and more information.


>Fentanyl is active in a range very similar to LSD, it's the biggest concern.

Not orally, the BA of actual fentanyl is abysmal orally (although some fentanyl analogs are definitely comparable). LSD is never contaminated with fentanyl to begin with. Some fentnayl analogs have been distributed in paper tab form by research chemical vendors, but LSD is never 'contaminated' with fentanyl. A test kit, or even just ingesting the tab slowly in pieces, eliminates this (non)risk entirely.

>25i-NBOMe is a drug similar in effect to LSD, but with a somewhat worse track record for safety

Thankfully this risk has decreased over the past few years, as real LSD is cheaper, and easier to find, than phenthylamine-based RCs being sold as LSD. You might encounter ALD-52, 1P-lSD, ETH-LAD, etc being sold as LSD, but these are just LSD analogs and have pretty much identical safety/effect profiles.

Also, swallowing the tabs make some of the more common RC LSD imitators completely inactive, whereas LSD will still be absorbed perfectly. At the end of the day, if you're concerned about this, you can buy a $10 test kit.

>Strychnine is also active in the LSD dose range. There was definitely some propaganda about strychnine-tainted LSD in the 70s, so it's hard to know if this has ever happened, or if it's just urban legend. But it's chemically plausible.

This doesn't happen. Also, no it is not chemically possible. The amount of strychine required to seriously hurt somebody would be extremely obvious on LSD tabs. Like it actually isn't even possible to fit enough strychine to seriously hurt somebody on a lsd tab in a discreet manner . The choice of strychine here as a poison shows that whoever originally spread this nonsense has zero understanding of chemistry.

>Fortunately, you don't have to just pray that your blotter doesn't have fentanyl in it.

Once again, this isn't a serious risk. It's extremely rare to find fentanyl in this form now anyway, as most research chemical vendors no longer stock fentanyl analogs. And, again, just consuming the tab slowly or testing it makes this a non-risk.

Also generally there is a very little overlap in dealers who sell both fentnanyl and lsd, these drugs attract very different crowds.


Not OP, but I wouldn't even know where to begin trying to source street drugs, nor am I particularly interested in learning.

At least for shrooms, you can (legally) source the spores and grow your own (illegally). No worries about street drug impurities unless you don't trust your own tap water and fertilizer.

Psilocybin mushrooms are not street drugs. These organisms grow wild in the southeastern United States, as well as other parts of the country, including the pacific northwest. You can purchase spores legally and grow your own easily and at low cost, if you have the mind and time.

Ultimately this is the answer. On top of that though, I have no guarantee that these are real compounds and not cut with something. The last thing I need while in search of mental health is brain damage or poisoning.

Brain damage or poisoning are much, much less likely than simply having a bad trip, which can have PTSD-like symptoms. But if set and setting are carefully controlled, bad trips are much less likely to occur, as you have no overly negative stimuli to induce a bad trip.

It’s rare with LSD but occasionally they’ll substitute a research chemical with similar effects. You’re more likely to have that happen with “MDMA” that is actually methamphetamine or one of the analogues. Both are horrible.

There are places that sell home testing kits which are very useful since you don’t know what you’re getting by looking at it. People used to test for each other at raves until the police said it was a form of condoning drug use and shut it down. So now people still buy but it’s more dangerous.


It's ludicrously expensive (I think I paid $3,000 for six sessions), but I've done a round at a local IV ketamine infusion center here in Chicago to great effect.

there are test kits you can buy - buying on the darknet is similar to ebay - there are reviews and seller ratings etc

if you are really struggling, cost is prohibitive, and you think this might be an option then trying it once or twice at home is reasonable risk reward tradeoff, speaking from personal experience.


All of those are illegal in the US. And living there, you really, really, REALLY want to avoid the criminal justice system. Especially if you have anxiety/depression, which will trigger that system's "abnormal" profiling.

No regulatory body watching the production is one thing. You are buying from criminals. I'm all-in on the legalization of all drugs if only for the consumer protections it would introduce. Then there's the issue of harm-reduction for those that truly have a dependency/addiction problem AND generally freedom for freedoms sake.

The psilocybin treatment is also reported as way more effective when administered as part of therapy. You are supposed to trip under the guidance of a professional.


”You are supposed to trip under the guidance of a professional”

I don’t think that this statement is technically accurate - fortunately. Studies have shown that following a certain protocol or setting will increase the effectiveness. That framework is published science.


I'm speaking within the framework of what is sensible, given the science. If you want the trip to have more lasting effect then according to the research you should have someone guiding you along. It kinda makes sense too. You can spend a trip looking at butterflies and admiring them taking with you from the experience a certain wonder for the beauty of nature. It might even help you with your depression somewhat but will not substitute professional guidance that will help you confront what is an underlying psychological issue actually causing the depression.

I think the point was that a sitter doesn't need to do it professionaly. A trusted, sober guide with some experience will work as well.

Could you provide a link to the protocol or framework that you mentioned? I’m considering trying Psylocybin and would like to get informed beforehand.

Update: A downvoted post asked how to find that protocol or framework. I’d advise looking at MAPS’ site at http://maps.org/ - there are manuals and protocols there - as well as tracking back to the source studies that the FDA is basing its decisions on and searching on Google Scholar for papers.

There’s a very real risk of getting a knock at your door and going to prison. That’s more than enough to scare some people.

The substance is only part of the equation, there's a lot of value in the skill and wisdom in an individual therapist's attention and work. And no licensed therapist is going to risk working with street pharm.

Most people don't like to intentionally break the law.

I would be surprised if there were a driver out there who hadn't gone above the speed limit.

Most people intentionally stream movies illegally. The moral aspect of breaking the law is not a very strong argument here.

I think the bigger moral issue with buying street drugs is that you are essentially funding organized crime.


You mistakenly assume I mean strictly from a moral perspective. Assume a cost:benefit analysis, where the factors are, depending on the person, some combination of morality, desire to not face consequences (legal system, job, family), and perceived risk:reward ratio.

I stumbled upon this the other day: https://www.mycomeditations.com

It looks fairly legitimate.

Also, there are clinics in some major cities for ketamine treatment, but it isn't cheap. A couple grand for 6 infusions.


Mycomeditations have had some issues with safety in the past: https://psychedelicstoday.com/2018/10/24/statement-on-mycome...

Yeah, but after a few minutes of searching I can't find anything about where that "mycomeditations" place is physical located, which is sketchy enough for me to steer clear. Thanks though. But yeah I don't have thousands of dollars lying around

A quick google search finds "100 Great Bay Rd, Treasure Beach, Jamaica". Given that the retreat is in Jamaica listing the specific address seems pretty meaningless, you aren't going to be able to streetview it.

Well, at the very least you can see Shane Mauss at Mycomeditations in January[0]

[0] - http://www.shanemauss.com/club-dates/


completely off topic but this story about a road house gig he did is a great listen (starts around 12:30)

https://archive.nerdist.com/you-made-it-weird-254-shane-maus...


Looks like Jamaica.

Yep. From what I can tell, Jamaica and the Netherlands are the only countries where psilocybin is legal.

That's correct - we also run psilocybin retreats in Jamaica: https://atmanretreat.com

Yes it still sucks.

What worked for me was finding a doctor who specializes in treatment resistant depression, rather than a regular psychiatrist - they will be comfortable and open to prescribing many more 'difficult' medications such as strong MAOIs, transcranial stimulation, and ketamine.


There are plenty of legal "ketamine clinics" in big cities. Might suggest looking for those.

Buy ketamine from darkweb and sniff it to your heart's content

Taking ketamine as a suppository (if you get powdered ketamine, you can just dissolve it in water) is much more pleasant than snorting it, and you get better control over the dosage. 5ml hobby syringes work well. If the price of prescribed IV ketamine treatment is a concern, this is well worth trying.

Apart from reduced bioavailability, is there anything wrong with the oral route?

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