I want to solo trip in nature, away from people and civilization. What do I need to know about tripping alone?
The biggest factor here is probably dosage. The higher your dose of any psychedelic, the less capable you will be of problem solving. This can pose its own set of risks. Not being able to take care of yourself in the wild is obviously dangerous, but there are other things to consider as well. Have you tripped before? If so, on how much? How comfortable are you with the specific psychedelic that you’re using? Is the environment that you’re in within easy access of medical services? Do you have cell service? Is it cold, wet, rainy? The more factors you account for, the lower the likelihood of some adverse event taking place.
If you’re going to trip somewhere that’s truly isolated, it’s really important to talk to someone you trust about where you’re going, what you’re taking, how much, when, and any mental or physical health conditions that you have. Set up a check-in time and establish a plan for what they’ll do if you don’t get in touch when you’re supposed to. Make sure to bring plenty of food, water, and extra layers (fresh socks do wonders). Ideally, prepare your home for your return by making it extra clean and tidy, and have food ready for yourself for when you come back! (Future You will thank Past You.) The idea is basically to baby-proof nature so that you can knock around in it without needing someone to come and peel you off the ground.
My friend has been mixing mushrooms with alcohol because she says it’s more fun, but I’ve heard it’s super dangerous. Is it safe or am I overreacting?
Mixing alcohol and mushrooms isn’t necessarily dangerous – there’s no immediate physiological risk from the combination – but it’s significantly harder to process complex thoughts and sensory information when you’re tripping, let alone when you’re tripping and drunk. The quantity of alcohol matters a lot here; having a drink or two while tripping is probably not a big deal, as long as the person is taking their time and monitoring their level of intoxication. Drinking to get drunk, however, poses a higher risk of engaging in reckless behaviors due to confusion or panic. This is dangerous. It can be very frightening to have a difficult experience on mushrooms while feeling slow and incapable of responding. This makes the risk twofold: Firstly, a psychological crisis could occur if someone is incapable of processing their surroundings, and secondly, a physical crisis could occur if someone engages in high-risk behavior (like driving a car or taking more drugs). For these reasons, I advise keeping drinking to a minimum and only having a predetermined amount on hand to avoid accidentally overdoing it.
I’ve heard a lot of mixed opinions from friends about whether the ketamine experience is “psychedelic.” Does it generally include visuals and other classic markers of entheogens? Is the k-hole what makes ketamine psychedelic?
The umbrella term here is “hallucinogen,” which typically contains sub-categories such as “classical psychedelics,” dissociatives, and deliriants. A “classical psychedelic” is a substance that acts on a specific kind of serotonin receptor called the 5-HT2A receptor, which is thought to be responsible for the specific hallucinogenic effects that drugs like LSD and psilocybin are known for. Ketamine’s primary mechanism of action is at a different receptor, so it’s not considered to be a “classical psychedelic.” “Psychedelic” falls under the broader term “hallucinogen” and can either be an adjective describing the effects of a drug OR an indicator of its mechanism of action. In the case of ketamine, we’d say that it is psychedelic but is not a psychedelic by classification – it’s a dissociative. Therefore, I would refer to ketamine as a hallucinogen with psychedelic qualities. Ketamine’s dissociative effects can lead to time dilation, vision lag, mild visuals (which become more pronounced with higher doses, especially the k-hole), and distortion of perception and sensation, which are all hallmarks of hallucinogens as a class.
About Your Psychedelic Auntie
When we have questions about psychedelics, we often consult our Auntie. An Auntie can be a person of any gender who offers wise advice about psychedelic substances and how to effectively use them. Lucid News is asking a collection of well-informed people to step in as Auntie and answer your questions about psychedelics. Some of the best peer-based, accurate information about psychedelic substances and harm reduction comes from DanceSafe, a nonprofit educational organization founded in 1998. DanceSafe provides health and safety services at festivals and events. This month, our Psychedelic Auntie is DanceSafe Programs and Communications Coordinator Rachel Clark. Send your questions to the Psychedelic Auntie via the Lucid News contact page and watch this space for the answers.