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5 Reasons You Might Not Trip (Even with High Doses)

Have you ever taken a psychedelic, hoping to blast off into new and spectacular dimensions, only to have your feet remain firmly planted on planet earth?

This could, no doubt, be disappointing, especially when you were hoping to find therapeutic relief or “transcend your ego” in some way through the experience. 

If so, you’re not alone. Despite the profound, life-changing journeys commonly reported by those tripping on psychedelics, some trips leave journeyers feeling sadly immune to their effects.

Before we dive into the reasons why your psychedelic drugs and magic mushrooms might not be working, we’ll first take a closer look at what a psychedelic drug trip actually entails.

In this article, let’s explore the top 5 reasons why you may not trip and what you can do to increase your chances of having a positive, mind-altering experience. 

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the common themes of a trip and the main reasons why your trip could be lackluster can help you better understand how to have the best possible experience.
  • We recommend using a potency test kit and purity test kit to ensure the safety and efficacy of your dosing. Without these tools, your dose is like a guess in the dark. 
  • Psychedelic Passage: Your Psychedelic Concierge — The easy, legal way to find trustworthy psilocybin guides, facilitators and psychedelic assisted therapy near you in the United States.

Download Our Free Psilocybin Sourcing Guide

For harm-reduction purposes, we provide links to online psilocybin vendors, local stores, delivery services, and spore vendors for growing your own medicine at home.

Defining the Psychedelic ‘Trip’

Using the standard definition of the word, a trip is an act of going to a place and returning—a journey or excursion, especially for pleasure. 

In the psychedelic sense, the term “trip” describes the hallucinogenic event that occurs after taking a certain dose of a psychedelic substance. Perhaps some might describe the experience as visiting or touring different realities. 

Despite the US government’s early attempts to use psychedelic drugs for coercive purposes, modern scientific research has shown many potential positive mental health effects from psychedelic use (Reiff, 2020).

Alleviating treatment-resistant addiction, depression, anxiety, and PTSD are now well-known benefits of these substances, especially psilocybin, the psychedelic component found in magic mushrooms. 

Science has yet to determine the exact mechanisms that cause a psychedelic trip, but anecdotally we do know that these altered states of consciousness can be profound, life-changing, and even result in mystical experiences.

Cant Feel Psychedelic Drug Effects?

Common Themes of a Therapeutic Psychedelic Experience

Though different depending on the particular substance, a psychedelic trip has common themes which permeate the experience whether you’re taking magic mushrooms or LSD.

Visual Components & Perceptual Changes

For most, the visual components of a psychedelic experience are unlike anything ever experienced before. They include:

  • Visual acuity
  • Light sensitivity
  • Hallucinations
  • Attention to small detail
  • Pattern recognition and intricacy
  • Color enhancement
  • Warping and swirling of objects
  • Appearance of objects and landscapes breathing
  • Pulsation of light and objects
  • Kaleidoscopic and geometric fractals, patterns, and shapes
  • Hearing music or sounds

Specific patterns or details that normally go unnoticed may draw in one’s attention and receive newfound appreciation for their beauty or complexity, and this phenomena can happen both outwardly (with eyes open) and internally (with eyes closed).  

Interestingly, these perceptions can become so vivid that, in combination with specific body sensations, they fully override all visual and physical perception, leaving the psychonaut feeling as though they have “broken through” into a new reality. 

This imagery is also consistent with a state of consciousness where most transcendental, spiritual, or mystical insights are gained, an “ego death” takes place, or where a connection with spiritual entities occurs. 

Emotional & Mood Changes 

Mood changes can range depending on the particular set and setting, from sorrowful to joyful, introspective to adventurous, or even anxious to calm, but the psychedelic trip can influence our emotions through:

  • Enhancing bodily sensations
  • Enhancing emotions (ex. ecstacy or despair)
  • Lowering inhibitions
  • Invoking a feeling of interconnectedness with life and the environment

The release of the “feel-good” neurotransmitter, serotonin, associated with psychedelic use may also create a pleasant body high. 

For many, the tripping mind is still clear and aware but becomes an ungovernable observer of these new and intensified emotions and senses. 

Thought Patterns

The relative control you have over your thoughts ebbs and flows as the power of the psychedelic takes over. When it comes to our thoughts, we may experience a drastically new way of thinking while tripping such as:

  • Altered processing of time
  • Increased awareness of symbolism and meaning
  • Recollection of repressed or significant memories
  • Cyclical patterns of thinking

Temporary changes to your brain chemistry may allow you to shift the perspective of your thinking, changing personality and spirituality and connecting the dots and events in your life in a more meaningful way.   

The psychedelic experience is inextricably linked with an element of surrender, a loosening of the reins, and the concept of entrusting your mind to the natural or synthetic substance they’ve consumed. 

Transcendent & Mystical Experiences

This can be both exciting and absolutely terrifying. No two trips are the same, and many elements of the trip itself are ineffable and difficult to process. This is why we are so big on integration work!

Some common mystical experiences of the psychedelic journey are:

  • Feeling absorbed or “one” with the universe
  • Connecting to spirits, energies, beings, or the divine
  • A noetic quality of purpose, contentment, and faith
  • Gratitude for life or one’s loved ones
  • Extrasensory perceptions or out of body phenomena

Why Doesn’t Everyone Feel Psychedelic Effects?

The reason we can spend so much time discussing the experiences that arise when one is tripping is because—comparatively speaking—we have a much greater understanding of what a trip is compared to how a trip works. 

Some scientists have tried to make some sense of how these experiences happen and of how our brain can produce the imagery we’ve mentioned here. 

In fact, Euclidean geometry has actually been discovered as being one way to describe how the brain produces certain hallucinations (Bressloff, 2020).

The patterns of connection linking the retina (the visual cortex) and its neuronal circuitry allow us to make sense of contours and edges. It’s thought that this is also the area of the brain that produces geometric hallucinations. 

While scientists have devoted a tremendous amount of work to psychoactive drugs and their mental health benefits, the scientific literature is almost entirely devoid of investigations as to the recreational practices of psychedelic use (Bohling, 2017).

Many people seek out the pleasurable “tripping” experiences for reasons outside of therapeutic potential, yet we still have relatively little understanding of the psychedelic “trip” itself. 

Given the prohibition and federal scheduling of these substances, there’s a scarcity of research into how the trip occurs. For that reason, much of the evidence in this space is anecdotal. 

Relatedly, it’s important to mention that experiences vary significantly, and it may be difficult to draw any conclusions about why you’re not tripping. 

However, through insight from our community, we’ve compiled 5 common reasons one might not experience a psychedelic trip. 

Everyone experiences psychedelics differently. We understand the frustration of taking magic mushrooms, wanting to harness the healing power of psychedelics, only to have nothing happen after consuming the substance. 

Regardless of the case, it’s helpful to be able to share experiences and feel supported by those who might understand where you’re coming from. 

If you’re tired of scouring internet forums only to be more confused than you previously were, Psychedelic Passage is here to give you the hands-on support and actionable mental health knowledge that you’ve been seeking. 

Our pre-vetted network of psychedelic facilitators and integration specialists are ready to help.  

5 Reasons You Might Not Be Tripping on Psychedelics 

5 Reasons You Might Not Be Tripping on Psychedelics 

1. Impact of Environment

Two of the most important words when it comes to psychedelics are set and setting, with set referring to your mindset and setting referring to your surrounding environment. 

The context of the psychedelic experience—as in the physical space—is absolutely crucial, not just from a safety standpoint, but also because it plays a huge role in the experience of the trip itself. 

Early psychedelic research that neglected set and setting was associated with unpleasant experiences. Not only were these less positive, but they also frequently resulted in someone not being able to feel the psychedelic substances. 

Alternatively, when study participants were given a “psychedelic” (which in actuality was a placebo) along with an appropriately designed set and setting, many of them reported that they tripped (Olson et al., 2020).

This shows the importance of set and setting in facilitating the psychedelic trip. Considerations for set include an examination of your current state of mind as well as identifying stressors that may impact your experience. 

For example, you may be going through a difficult life circumstance where your mind is in survival mode, and therefore rejects the release of control often associated with psychedelic use. 

The same may occur if you don’t have an intentional setting. The preparation of setting most notably revolves around feeling safe and comfortable in one’s physical environment. 

It can also involve preparation like fasting for at least three to four hours prior to a trip. If you’re interested in learning more, check out our guide for how to prepare for a psychedelic journey

2. Ego Causing Resistance

While the physical environment could be considered the setting of the equation, the ego also plays a major role in your mindset, or set. 

In psychoanalysis, the ego may be defined as the bridge between the conscious and unconscious mind and the mechanism behind reality testing. It is also responsible for your sense of personal identity, whether limiting or not. 

Think of your ego as the culmination of your thoughts, beliefs, and feelings about yourself and your life. 

The ego is all about stability and familiarity to increase your chances of survival, but in this modern world, an overactive or rigid ego may have some drawbacks. 

Though dependent on your intention, the mere curiosity of wanting to try a psychedelic substance threatens the ego because it means something may potentially change. 

Since psychedelics challenge our perception of reality and who we are on a deeply spiritual level, the ego may cause resistance to the psychedelic trip. 

It goes without saying that it takes a certain level of comfort and acceptance for whatever will arise in order to fully experience psychedelics. 

While a more common response to psychedelics is a dissolution of egoic thought, on a rare occasion, it is reportedly possible for psychedelic trippers to double down on their identity and coping mechanisms.  

A certain level of anxiety is common before an encounter with psychedelics. If this persists, it can be thought of as the ego gripping too hard, preventing one from fully surrendering to the experience. 

Similarly, the continuous doubts around it not working may have an analogous effect. Given our tendencies to overthink and constantly evaluate our daily lives, it can be difficult to avoid doing the same during a psychedelic experience. 

It may seem scary, but fully letting go and trusting in the experience can help produce a smoother and more profound trip. 

If it’s not already in your practice, a daily meditation routine will help you quiet the ego in ways that’ll also help you trip. Thoughtful discourse in preparation of the trip, including setting intentions, are also vital to quieting the ego.

3. Tolerance

Like with some other substances, a tolerance with psychedelics has been observed. 

Another reason you may not trip is tolerance, which can include your body’s natural tolerance (or conversely, sensitivity) to a specific substance, as well as temporary tolerance build-up from recently consuming a psychedelic drug. 

Many users report that all you need is 3 days in between, but others claim that tolerance is complicated and they’ve needed an extended period of time to reset before attempting to have more trips. 

In fact, several studies have discovered that there’s a very rapid tolerance to psychedelics like LSD (Nichols, 2016). Interestingly, there has also been a cross-tolerance reported when study participants use both LSD and psilocybin (Isbell et al., 1961).

Aside from DMT (which hasn’t been associated with cross-tolerance), many psychedelics involve the same mechanisms as well as a common pathway in the brain. 

It’s thought that if psychedelics are consumed two days in a row, use on the third day will produce few or even entirely non-existent effects. 

For you to feel the effects of a psychedelic substance, it’s recommended to put at least a few days between trips—but it’s probably better to wait a week (or a few weeks). 

We’ve written an article that goes in-depth on standard psychedelic dosage which may help you further identify what dose is appropriate for the type of experience you are intended to have.

4. Drug Interactions

Many other drugs, both legal and illegal, will impact the psychedelic experience. 

Check out this full chart of drug combinations, but it’s also important to emphasize that approaching psychedelics with extreme caution is important, especially if you’re unsure. 

Some users on Reddit report that even coming off SSRIs 2 weeks in advance is sometimes still not enough, and that antidepressants often have blunting effects for a more extended period of time than expected.  

SSRIs (Antidepressants): SSRIs are a class of antidepressants that are generally known to blunt the effects of psychedelics

MAOIs (Antidepressants): Generally speaking, MAOIs have similar effects as SSRIs. They can lead to an unpredictable potentiation or depotentiation of hallucinogenic effects, as well as increases in duration of effect. 

However, MAOIs are actually required in order for someone to experience the effects of orally consumed DMT (ayahuasca is a combination of DMT and an MAOI). 

Like SSRIs, MAOIs should never be used in combination with psychedelics as it can result in severe toxicity (Smilkstein et al., 1987).

Therapeutic Stimulants (ADHD Medications): Combining stimulants with MAOI-containing psychedelics (ayahuasca) can lead to serotonin syndrome and be dangerous. 

MDMA: Combinations with MDMA haven’t been studied extensively, but it’s understood to result in an additive effect and may be dangerous—especially in high doses. 

The two drugs combined can not only lead to an awful hangover, but can also lead to serotonin syndrome which can be fatal. That said, mixing MDMA and antidepressants is dangerous and should absolutely be avoided.  

5. Adulterated or Weak Substances

Unfortunately, due to the fact that psychedelics are illegal, you really never know what you’re receiving when you purchase them illegally. 

In some cases, this means that the consumed substance is not actually the substance you wanted, or there may be unknown fillers and additives

At best, this could lead to a delayed or weakened experience or produce no “tripping” effects at all. Sometimes, people end up taking more in an attempt for it to “work,” which we do not recommend. 

At worst, consuming an adulterated substance could lead to health complications that may severely harm you, and there is little more disappointing than simply feeling nothing because your mushrooms lacked potency. 

Many anecdotal reports from online users express how common it is to simply have mushrooms which lack potency due to improper storage or cultivation methods. In that case, we have some tools below which can definitely help. 

Psychedelics are generally very safe, but lack of regulation means users don’t have transparent information regarding the sources, constituents, and concentrations of psychedelic substances.  

Most of the complications that arise do so because of someone consuming too much or consuming something different than they expect. 

That being said, it’s highly recommended that you have a reliable scale and drug testing kit to test each substance before consumption. 

Also, if you’re not feeling the drugs, we never recommend upping the dose. Luckily, we have an entire article dedicated to reviewing the best psychedelic substance purity tests and the best mushroom grow kits

Mushroom grow kits can be a great option for growing your own medicine as it allows you to be completely sure of the psychedelic mushroom strain that you have. 

Purity tests are convenient and easy ways to test for adulterating substances in your medicine.

Solution #1: Psychedelic Potency Test Kits

Imagine preparing for a profound voyage of the mind, only to find that your psychedelic experience falls disappointingly short of your expectations. 

This phenomenon can be disheartening, leaving you questioning the authenticity of your chosen substance. One primary reason for such letdowns is the degradation of the active ingredient in the drug.

This degradation can occur for various reasons. In the case of psilocybin mushrooms, improper storage conditions or the passage of time can lead to a decline in potency. 

Similarly, LSD and psilocybin can degrade over time, leaving users with a less potent product than initially intended.

Moreover, the inconsistency in the distribution of active ingredients within different parts of mushrooms or even different sections of a blotter sheet of LSD further complicates the matter. 

This variability makes it challenging to gauge the precise dosage, often resulting in underwhelming effects for those seeking a transformative experience.

Introducing QTests: A Quantum Leap in Harm Reduction

In a groundbreaking development for harm reduction practices, Dr. Felix Blei, based in Jena, Germany, has pioneered Miraculix QTests—the world’s first quantitative reagent test kits specifically designed for psychedelics. 

These innovative kits represent a significant leap forward in harm reduction within the psychedelic community.

Unlike traditional reagent kits that merely identify the presence of a substance, QTests go a step further by revealing the potency of psychoactive compounds in milligrams or as a percentage. 

This level of precision empowers users to make informed decisions about their psychedelic experiences, ensuring a more predictable and meaningful journey.

If you’ve ever wondered why your psychedelic adventure felt underwhelming despite taking what should have been a substantial dose, QTests may hold the answer. 

These kits allow you to assess the strength of your substance accurately, ensuring you achieve the desired effects.

QTests offer a comprehensive range of options to cater to various psychedelic substances. Whether you’re exploring the realms of MDMA, LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, and even cannabis, there’s a QTest kit tailored to your needs.

Dr. Felix Blei's Miraculix QtestsShop Miraculix Qtests

Solution #2: Psychedelic Purity Test Kits

One of the significant challenges in the world of non-prescription medicine is the prevalence of adulterated substances. These adulterants are added to psychedelics for various reasons, often driven by profit motives. 

The inclusion of impurities, substitutes, or other substances can significantly alter the intended effects of the drug, leaving users with an experience that falls short of their expectations.

These adulterants not only compromise the authenticity of the experience but can also pose serious health risks. Identifying and mitigating these risks is crucial for those seeking safe and meaningful psychedelic journeys.

DanceSafe: Guardians of Purity and Harm Reduction

Enter DanceSafe, a remarkable organization dedicated to promoting health and safety within the music and nightlife communities. 

Beyond their commitment to education and harm reduction, DanceSafe offers a lifeline to individuals seeking clarity about the purity of their psychedelic substances.

DanceSafe doesn’t just provide reagent test kits for various psychedelics; they embody a culture of transparency and empowerment. 

Their extensive range of offerings includes MDMA Testing Kit, an LSD Testing Kit, a Ketamine Testing Kit, and a Standard Set of 6 Reagents that test for MDMA, ketamine, and LSD.

What sets DanceSafe apart is not only their commitment to providing quality test kits but also their wealth of educational resources. 

Their website serves as a treasure trove of articles, educational materials, and resources on responsible drug use. 

They equip their community with the knowledge and tools needed to make informed decisions about substance use.

Connect With The Psychedelic Therapy Provider That’s Right for You

Hi there! We sincerely hope that you’ve found valuable takeaways that resonate with your current intentions. To explore research-based education, stay updated with psychedelic news, and benefit from practical how-to articles, we encourage you to head over to our resources page.

If you’re seeking personalized advice and are prepared to take the first step toward a therapeutic psychedelic experience, we invite you to book a consultation with our team of experienced psychedelic concierges.

This consultation is more than just a conversation; it’s an opportunity to be matched with a trustworthy local facilitator. You’ll be seamlessly connected to our rigorously vetted network of psychedelic guides, ensuring potential matches align with your needs.

Psychedelic Passage offers confidence and peace of mind by alleviating the burden of having to guess who’s right for you. If you want to discover how Psychedelic Passage can help you, we empower you to learn more about our services and check out client testimonials from those who’ve gone before you.

Your healing path is uniquely yours, and our commitment is to serve you at every juncture. Psychedelic Passage: Your Psychedelic Concierge — The easy, legal way to find trustworthy psilocybin guides, facilitators and psychedelic assisted therapy near you in the United States.

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Frequently Asked Questions 

Q: Can certain medications or health conditions affect the psychedelic experience?

Yes, some medications such as SSRIs and antidepressants as well as certain health conditions may dampen or alter the effects of psychedelics. Antidepressant medications are known for their blunting effects.

Consulting with a psychedelic facilitator or medical expert can help prepare you and mitigate exposure to contraindicated substances or dosing requirements.

Q: Can differences in metabolism impact the psychedelic effects?

Yes, variations in metabolism among individuals can influence the rate at which psychedelics are absorbed and processed by the body. This can lead to differences in onset, intensity, and duration of the experience.

Each psychedelic experience is unique, and can drastically change from trip to trip even for one person. Given the relativity of the psychedelic experience, experimenting with good support and in a safe setting is crucial. 

Q: Could improper storage or handling affect the potency of the psychedelic substance?

Definitely. Improper storage, exposure to light, heat, or moisture can degrade the potency of the substance, reducing its effects. It’s important to store psychedelics in appropriate conditions to maintain their efficacy.

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  2. Isbell, H., Wolbach, A. B., Wikler, A., & Miner, E. J. (n.d.). Cross tolerance between LSD and psilocybin – psychopharmacology. SpringerLink. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00407974 
  3. Nichols, D. E. (2016, April). Psychedelics. Pharmacological reviews. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4813425/ 
  4. Olson, J. A., Suissa-Rocheleau, L., Lifshitz, M., Raz, A., & Veissière, S. P. L. (2020, March 7). Tripping on nothing: Placebo psychedelics and contextual factors – psychopharmacology. SpringerLink. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00213-020-05464-5 
  5. Paul C. Bresslo¡1 , Jack D. Cowan2* , Martin Golubitsky3 , Peter J. Thomas4 and Matthew C. Wiener. (n.d.). Geometric visual hallucinations, euclidean symmetry and the … https://www.math.utah.edu/~bresslof/publications/01-1.pdf 
  6. Reiff CM;Richman EE;Nemeroff CB;Carpenter LL;Widge AS;Rodriguez CI;Kalin NH;McDonald WM; ; (n.d.). Psychedelics and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. The American journal of psychiatry. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32098487/ 
  7. Ayahuasca. Ayahuasca – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. (n.d.). https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/ayahuasca 
  8. BH;, S. M. S. (n.d.). A case of Mao inhibitor/MDMA interaction: Agony after ecstasy. Journal of toxicology. Clinical toxicology. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2884326/ 
  9. Bonson, K. (n.d.). The Interactions between Hallucinogens and Antidepressants. Erowid Maoi Vault : Info on hallucinogens with antidepressants, by Kit Bonson. https://erowid.org/chemicals/maois/maois_info4.shtml 
  10. F;, B. (n.d.). Psychedelic pleasures: An affective understanding of the joys of tripping. The International journal on drug policy. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28918193/ 
  11. Isbell, H., Wolbach, A. B., Wikler, A., & Miner, E. J. (n.d.). Cross tolerance between LSD and psilocybin – psychopharmacology. SpringerLink. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00407974 
  12. Nichols, D. E. (2016, April). Psychedelics. Pharmacological reviews. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4813425/ 
  13. Olson, J. A., Suissa-Rocheleau, L., Lifshitz, M., Raz, A., & Veissière, S. P. L. (2020, March 7). Tripping on nothing: Placebo psychedelics and contextual factors – psychopharmacology. SpringerLink. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00213-020-05464-5 
  14. Paul C. Bresslo¡1 , Jack D. Cowan2* , Martin Golubitsky3 , Peter J. Thomas4 and Matthew C. Wiener. (n.d.). Geometric visual hallucinations, euclidean symmetry and the … https://www.math.utah.edu/~bresslof/publications/01-1.pdf 
  15. Reiff CM;Richman EE;Nemeroff CB;Carpenter LL;Widge AS;Rodriguez CI;Kalin NH;McDonald WM; ; (n.d.). Psychedelics and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. The American journal of psychiatry. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32098487/ 

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At Psychedelic Passage, we offer professional 1-on-1 guidance and companionship on your journey of healing. We simply can't sit back and let Americans continue to sit in silent suffering trying to battle mental health issues within a broken health care system, all while knowing that effective alternatives exist. We stand for the sacred, at-home, ceremonial use of psychedelics for consciousness exploration, which we believe to be a fundamental human right.

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