Psychedelics like magic mushrooms induce transformative experiences that have captivated human curiosity throughout history for centuries, and our modern day use and fascination is no different.
These powerful substances have been used for various purposes, including spiritual exploration, personal growth, and therapeutic healing (even now shown to be effective in treating anxiety disorders like OCD and PTSD).
However, alongside the profound effects, psychedelics can also bring about an unpleasant side effect: nausea.
Even though it is probably unlikely to totally avoid nausea if you are prone to it while on psychedelics, there are certain practices which can help mitigate the symptoms.
This article will be focusing mostly on nausea caused by psilocybin mushroom ingestion, and won’t be focusing as much on symptoms specific to hallucinogens like LSD, DMT, ayahuasca, and MDMA.
Some tips will be relevant for other substances like LSD as well, however. Understanding the reasons behind this phenomenon and discovering ways to minimize it is essential for maximizing the benefits of the psychedelic journey.
Why So Sick? Why Psychedelics Can Make You Feel Nauseated
The exact mechanisms that cause nausea from psychedelics are not yet fully understood. One theory suggests that these drugs interact with serotonin receptors in the gut, leading to changes in digestive processes and the sensation of nausea.
Another theory suggests that nausea may be triggered by the overall sensory overload experienced during a psychedelic trip, such as increased somatic awareness, heightened perception, and feelings of sudden movement.
According to a 2016 review, “Stimuli giving rise to nausea and vomiting originate from visceral, vestibular, and chemoreceptor trigger zone inputs which are mediated by serotonin/dopamine, histamine/acetylcholine and serotonin/dopamine, respectively” (Singh et al.).
Many people believe that, in the case of magic mushrooms, the polysaccharide known as chitin is responsible, because it is indigestible and can trigger allergic-like and inflammatory reactions.
While chitin is typically broken down during the cooking process, many people avoid cooking psilocybin mushrooms as it can break down the psychoactive components.
Most likely, nausea arises as a combination of multiple factors, but the fact that psychedelics frequently induce these feelings makes sense due to their strong effects on serotonin receptors and hormonal pathways in the body.
While the exact cause remains uncertain, it is important to address and minimize the occurrence of nausea during a psychedelic experience, because we want a more pleasant and focused journey.
Magic Mushrooms: 4 Tips For Avoiding Nausea
1. Prepare Your Mind and Body
Preparation is the single most important factor which holds the power to dictate the quality of your psychedelic experience.
Preparing your mind and body before the trip can significantly reduce the chances of experiencing nausea in ways that you may have not considered.
First, your state of mind directly affects your body, and it is likely no surprise to you that having pre-trip anxiety can impact the entire duration of your experience.
Ensuring you are in a positive and relaxed state of mind mitigates stress and anxiety which can exacerbate physical discomfort, digestive symptoms, and nausea.
Feeling adequately prepared, engaging in calming activities such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises, and nourishing your body with plenty of fluids and nutritious foods leading up to your trip makes all the difference.
Additionally, having a light meal prior to dosing can help support the system without burdening it or slowing it down. Eating a large meal or eating nothing at all can contribute to a nauseous feeling, although each person is different.
It’s important to listen to your body and not skip meals if you have specific dietary needs or health conditions. Find a balance that works for you, ensuring you have some sustenance while avoiding heavy or greasy foods that may contribute to nausea.
Lastly, choosing the right substance and dosage is worth mentioning as well, because taking too much or taking a substance that doesn’t agree with your unique body can greatly increase the risk for nausea and digestive issues.
2. Mushroom Tea
When it comes to psychedelic mushrooms, bypassing some of the “breakdown” process prior to ingestion can help alleviate some of the burden on our digestive system.
For instance, some people choose to dry the mushrooms and turn them into a powder in advance. Once it’s time to take a dose, adding the powder to warm water in the form of a tea is much gentler than simply ingesting mushrooms on a sandwich for instance.
Adding this simple additional step to preparing your psychedelic does some of the heavy lifting for your digestive system and can in turn reduce the chances of becoming nauseous.
3. Extended Chewing (Mastication)
Let’s say you don’t have enough time to dry out the mushrooms and turn them into a powder. Another option commonly used by psychonauts is simply chewing the mushrooms for a longer period of time.
Again, this begins the digestive process much earlier than if you were to simply ingest them immediately, because the additional grinding and exposure to saliva helps break down the components that may lead to nausea.
Our bodies are so incredible. We should really be doing this with all of our food, now that I think of it!
4. Lemon Tekking
Lemon tekking is a popular method used to prepare magic mushrooms for consumption, known for its potential to enhance the effects of psilocybin and reduce the likelihood of experiencing nausea.
By soaking the mushrooms in lemon juice or citric acid, this technique aims to facilitate the conversion of psilocybin into psilocin, the compound responsible for the psychedelic experience.
After the soaking period, the lemon tek mixture can be consumed. Some individuals prefer to strain the mushroom particles from the liquid before ingestion, while others consume the entire mixture.
Lemon tekking is believed to help reduce nausea by facilitating a more efficient conversion of psilocybin into psilocin before ingestion, potentially leading to a smoother and more enjoyable psychedelic experience.
You can read more about lemon tekking in our article about the top ways to consume therapeutic magic mushrooms.
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4 Tips for Managing Nausea During the Trip
If nausea does arise during your psychedelic experience, there are techniques you can employ to help alleviate it:
This plant ally has been utilized and well-known for its anti-nausea properties for centuries. Ginger can help soothe and settle the stomach and has other health benefits as well.
Thanks to the natural component gingerol, the root works by “increasing the gastric tone and motility” and can alleviate stomach pain, gastric upset, indigestion, and nausea (Lete and Allue, 2016).
You can try ginger in various forms—such as ginger tea, ginger candies, or ginger capsules. If you are a true ginger-lover, you can even just chew up little pieces of raw ginger that have the peel removed.
2. Temperature Regulation
It’s not at all uncommon for journeyers to experience extreme fluctuations in body temperature during a ceremony.
Not only can feeling excessively hot or cold lead to additional stress, distraction, and discomfort, but it can also contribute to feelings of nausea and dizziness.
Whether it’s adjusting the thermostat, using blankets or fans, or applying an ice pack or hot water bottle, temperature regulation can help mitigate unwanted symptoms like digestive discomfort.
3. Relaxation Techniques
Feeling anxious, paranoid, hypervigilant, or stressed can actually manifest in physical symptoms of discomfort. If you haven’t had a panic attack (count your lucky stars), then you may not be familiar with just how much nausea and anxious energy are correlated.
Some of the best ways to stay calm are deep breathing, meditation, positive visualization, and practicing surrender and acceptance.
4. Avoiding Triggering Stimuli
Certain stimulation during a trip can actually increase feelings of nausea, because during an altered state, your senses are likely heightened to such a degree that a mere smell could either teleport you to heaven or immerse you in great discomfort.
If your trip takes place in a controlled environment, it is much easier to control potential exposure to triggering stimuli, but keep in mind that strong and pungent odors and certain visual patterns can also induce feelings of nausea.
Also, it might be best to lie back or relax in a posture that is stable. While moving can actually be a powerful tool for moving uncomfortable energy and sensations, if you have the spins, you may want to stay still until it has passed.
Speak With Our Psychedelic Concierges & Take The First Step
We at Psychedelic Passage aim to provide supportive services and resources for those seeking intentional psychedelic experiences and hope to have a safe, therapeutic experience.
Our network of psychedelic facilitators is located all over the US and are pre-vetted to ensure that each guide has experience, qualification, and reverence for the medicine.
Book a consultation with us to get connected with our network of facilitators and begin your psychedelic journey with adequate support during not only the ceremony itself but also during the preparation and integration stages of the process.
We also encourage you to take advantage of our resources page which has free articles and information on a wide array of psychedelic-related topics, ranging from psychedelic research to helpful how-tos and tips.
We hope this article alleviates some undesirable symptoms and helps you have a more positive, safe, and transformative journey!