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A Complete Guide For First-Time Psychedelic Mushroom Users

Amy Hauer
Amy, a mental health researcher, writer, and curious thinker, finds inspiration in our connection to the natural world and its profound healing potential. She's particularly enamored with the therapeutic influence of mushrooms in enhancing mental well-being. During her free time, you'll often spot her preparing mushroom dishes, practicing yoga, and immersed in the world of literature.

Welcome, welcome! This article is for all you first-timers who have never done psychedelics and are considering (or already decided) to take psychedelic mushrooms.

Now, there are a plethora of reasons one would be interested in these substances—which are nothing short of magical—but a key and core motive for experimenting in such a way is the touted therapeutic benefits of these powerful medicines. 

Psychedelics—especially psilocybin—are being heavily researched and shown to have profound benefits for a wide array of conditions, whether physical, mental, or even spiritual.

You have likely heard about psilocybin’s proven efficacy as an alternative to SSRIs for depression and anxiety, but research is extending into even more obscure illnesses like chronic pain and chronic fatigue

And while there are quite a few different substances to choose from, psychedelic mushrooms in particular have garnered well-deserved attention as of late, especially given their rich and diverse historical relationship with us humans

In this comprehensive guide, we have tailored a wealth of information for first-time trippers—although even seasoned psychonauts may benefit, and we hope this article helps diminish any pre-trip anxiety you may be experiencing.

Key Takeaways

  • Take time to consider if a psychedelic experience is right for you as well as your expectations and motivations for a therapeutic psychedelic journey.
  • Being ready for a magic mushroom trip involves practical and intangible preparatory steps in order to ensure your trip is safe, effective, positive, and well-supported.
  • Using safety tools like QTests for testing purity and potency as well as using an at-home inoculation kit can be a game changer when trying to have the most ideal psychedelic ceremony. 
  • 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.

Let’s Start With the Basics: Are Psychedelics Right For You?

Magic mushrooms have been referred to as being as effective or more effective than 10+ years of talk therapy (Ziff et al., 2022), however, even with those incredible success rates, not everyone is a good fit for them.

Prior to any guided trip, all of our clients undergo a preparatory health screening to ensure there are no contraindications with pre-existing conditions or medication use. Overall, it is important to assess if someone is in a stable enough state to engage with the medicine.  

There are a few things to consider when trying to decide if psychedelic therapy is a good option for you, so here are some potential questions to ask yourself at the beginning of your decision-making process:

  • What are my motivations for considering psychedelic therapy?
  • Am I in a stable mental and emotional state currently?
  • Am I aware of the potential risks of psychedelic therapy?
  • Do I have a support system in place to guide me through this experience?
  • Am I ready to potentially confront and process challenging or uncomfortable emotions and experiences?
  • Do I have any underlying medical conditions or medications that might interact negatively with psychedelics?
  • Am I comfortable with the idea of surrendering control during the experience?
  • Have I considered or tried alternative forms of therapy and their potential effectiveness for my specific needs?
  • Have I researched and found a reputable and qualified facilitator or therapist for guidance?
  • Have I discussed my interest in psychedelic therapy with a mental health professional or doctor to gain their perspective?

As with any other medicine, if you take mushrooms with discipline and with the intention to use them as a tool for self-growth, they may indeed be miraculously beneficial. 

What to Expect During a Magic Mushroom Trip 

If you have never taken psychedelic mushrooms before, reading about their effects can only take you so far. While it can help to understand a little bit about what is to be expected, much of the experience is ineffable and only known through real experience.

After ingestion, effects typically manifest within 20-40 minutes and may last up to six hours. Initially, a sense of euphoria and heightened sensory perception emerges, often accompanied by gentle waves of energy and subtle shifts in perception. 

Vivid colors, intensified sounds, and a deepened connection to the environment may become prominent. Patterns and textures may seem to breathe and undulate, imbuing the world with a surreal, dreamlike quality. 

Insights and introspective thoughts flow freely, revealing new perspectives on oneself and the universe. Emotional experiences can range from profound joy and awe to introspective contemplation and, occasionally, moments of unease.

The sense of time may feel distorted as well, with minutes feeling like hours and vice versa. Some individuals report a heightened sense of interconnectedness with nature and humanity, fostering empathy and a broader understanding of existence. 

It’s important to note that the intensity and nature of the experience can vary greatly based on factors such as dosage, set and setting, and individual differences.

This next section can help you gain a more general sense of initial preparatory steps, but we also have written past articles on the topic of preparation and, of course, having a facilitator is the way to go when it’s your first time prepping for such an occasion. 

Preparing For a Psychedelic Mushroom Experience in 8 Steps

One of the first steps of preparation is simply doing a little digging into the medicine so that you understand a bit about how it works and how it feels. Considering this article may be a part of your research phase, you’re doing great!

And assuming you know a bit about medicinal uses of magic mushrooms already and how to navigate this budding industry, this list jumps a bit deeper into what to know during the preparation stage.

1. Finding a Psychedelic Guide

Finding a guide to facilitate your trip is like finding a therapist. It should be someone with whom you feel comfortable in their experience, qualifications, and general disposition and energy. 

The reason this is first on the list is because, as a first-timer, you may need comprehensive support and presence before, during, and after your trip. This is especially the case if you have preexisting conditions and are hoping to find relief through psychedelic use. 

Research in modern psychedelic clinical trials has shown the irrefutable benefit on patients’ outcomes of having trained and compassionate professionals guide the experience (Carhart-Harris et al., 2018).

Your guide plays a key role in curating a safe and positive experience by helping you navigate and holding space during potentially vulnerable or challenging moments. 

Your guide is also meant to equip you with reasonable expectations and help set a mental framework for navigating these altered states of consciousness. 

When it comes to finding a facilitator or guide, check out our past articles on what to look for and where to look for more information, but we do recommend checking out our ’referral network’ page or booking a call to connect with our network of guides specifically. 

We at Psychedelic Passage have curated a network of U.S. based psychedelic guides to facilitate ceremonial psychedelic experiences with an emphasis on harm reduction. Utilize and explore our network to find someone who feels like a good fit for you. 

2. Sourcing Your Psychedelic Mushrooms

The next step to take in preparing for your psychedelic journey is sourcing the medicine that you will bring to the ceremony. Fascinatingly, different mushroom types have different medicinal properties. 

Choosing between the psychedelic mushroom strains can be a fun and interesting part of the process, so be sure to check out our previous supportive articles on how to properly source, and your psychedelic facilitator can also help you avoid unsafe sources.

3. Determining Therapeutic Psychedelic Mushroom Dosages

Psilocybin affects people in unique ways that sometimes have little to do with actual potency, but even still, it’s crucial to understand dosing dos and don’ts.

Thanks to burgeoning research, as psychedelics become increasingly decriminalized and legalized, we have both scientific and experiential information to help you determine proper dosage.  

The “recommended” dosage of psilocybin is 20-30 mg of psilocybin per 70 kg of body mass. This can roughly be translated to about 3-5g of dried mushroom. 

However, most research on psilocybin involves the active chemical itself rather than the whole mushroom which, again, changes in potency depending on a variety of factors including type, cultivation means, and storage.

Another factor which can alter the dosing protocol is the psilocybin-blunting effects of SSRIs and antidepressants, which oftentimes requires the journeyer to take higher doses even after tapering off their antidepressant. 

There are unseen factors at play as well, such as someone’s metabolism, body weight, general physiological, as well as their personality and degree of openness to the experience. 

While larger dosages naturally induce more intense psychedelic experiences, there are also a lot of known benefits associated with taking particularly low, subthreshold doses known as microdosing

Overall, it’s better to start with a lower dose and work up as opposed to taking too much and having a “bad trip.”

4. Setting Your Intentions

Setting intentions for your journey is probably in the first few chapters of “Magic Mushrooms for Newbies” (if that book were to exist). 

There is great importance placed on setting your intentions prior to taking a trip, especially for those seeking to address specific issues.

An intention is your motivation for pursuing a psychedelic journey. It can be as broad as being open to the experience and receiving whatever may come your way, or as narrow as a specific habit you wish to transition out of or a conflict in your life you are seeking to gain clarity on.  

The purpose of setting an intention is to anchor your journey, and as we’ve discussed in this article and in others, there are predictable unpredictabilities to a psychedelic trip. 

Psychedelic-assisted therapy is more geared towards providing the “how,” “where,” and “when” of making change in your life. For this reason, we recommend making your intention more focused and actionable than just wanting to “fix” or “eliminate” something.

A concentrated intention may be to try to live more authentically and true to yourself, to let go of a stubborn communication pattern that doesn’t serve you, or to work towards forgiving a long-held grudge.

That being said, it is a beautiful thing to enter a psychedelic experience with a great deal of receptivity and openness, inviting in insights from the Divine or higher parts of ourselves which are often difficult to commune with. 

5. Choosing a Ceremonial Environment

Remember that the use of psychedelics for healing practices dates back to ceremonies and rituals performed among indigenous people who were the first to write the recipe for a psychedelic ceremony as we know it today.

As psychedelic healing practices become more westernized, the role of the ceremonial environment is not obsolete. In fact, current psychedelic research is further supporting just how crucial the psychological and physical environment is in predicting a positive therapeutic outcome.

In a meta-analysis of modern psychedelic trials, researchers noted that the trials in which the therapeutic environment was manipulated to minimize distraction and maximize calming, positive energy (through low lighting, curated music, pleasing decor, etc.) breed the most positive acute and long-term outcomes (Carhart-Harris et al., 2018). 

Researchers propose that the pharmacology of psychedelics works “synergistically” with the context you cultivate to create an experience that is conducive to particular outcomes.

This is similar to the traditions of indigenous peoples who prioritized principles and spiritual beliefs that the medicine will commune with you in the space (both headspace and physical space) that you meet it in.

Carhart-Harris and Nutt in their 2017 analysis proposed that increased serotonin signaling mediates cortical plasticity (or cognitive flexibility) and an associated sensitivity to internal and external influence.

In other words, we may be differentially influenced by external factors dependent on the sensitivity of our internal states, and our internal states may be more or less mediated by our external environment. The relationship is a two-way street. 

A positive psychedelic experience is about the integration and confluence of “therapeutic” elements that include the psychological preparation, the bond between the patient and guide, the therapeutic environment, and the intentional integration of content.   

Creating the ceremonial environment is a joint endeavor to curate a space that is safe, comfortable, and lends itself to healing. This includes eliminating physical hazards, reducing external noise and distractions, and adding comforting elements like lighting, music, blankets, plants, and water. 

6. How to Prepare & Consume Magic Mushrooms

Once you settle on the right dosage, decide on the setting, and have the right support system in place, you may be wondering how to actually prepare and ingest your mushrooms. 

There are a number of ways to consume, which result in more or less a similar experience, so ultimately it comes down to preference.

After all, psychedelic mushrooms are just mushrooms, so you can eat them whole. The taste can be quite bland and earthy, so people often prefer to conceal the flavor by chopping them up and putting them on something like peanut or almond butter toast.

Another idea is to blend them up into a powder or steep them into an herbal tea. Regardless of the way you consume your medicine of choice, it’s important to know how this method of ingestion delivers the predetermined dosage. 

For a more in depth look at how to consume magic mushrooms, check out our previous article which covers the top 5 ways to take them according to, well, people who have done it before.

7. Surrendering to The Psychedelic Experience

Earlier, we briefly mentioned the idea of surrendering to the process. This is a term that gets mentioned quite a bit when it comes to psychedelic journeying. 

You might be wondering what it means, as the word “surrender” can sometimes have a negative connotation that is akin to giving up.

The “surrender” we talk about in psychedelic work means allowing the psychedelic to do its job. It means opening yourself up to the experience and being okay with the unknown

It means not trying to steer the wheel but being comfortable sitting in the passenger seat, trusting that the psychedelic knows what you need and how to get you there.

This may seem counterintuitive to being intentional about your trip, but really, the two go hand in hand in order to produce an outcome that feels fulfilling. 

It is in our nature as humans—both consciously and subconsciously—to cling to expectations and assumptions. The phrase “old habits die hard” is a common cliché because it holds so much truth. 

The reason for embarking on a psychedelic trip is to release the grip we have, to relax our mental schemas, and to take down some firmly built walls we’ve put up. 

The phenomenon is fundamentally one of pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones for our greater good. When you go into a psychedelic experience, the psychedelic can take you places you didn’t expect to go. 

Feeling a little bit stressed or panicked upon the thought of “this isn’t what I expected” can be quite common, but that internal friction that your experience isn’t lining up with your expectation, can become more of a negative feedback loop of distress. 

This is why we emphasize the idea of “surrendering” and doing a trust fall with the psychedelic medicine and with yourself is so crucial. 

Surrendering is not a momentary switch of a light, but an ongoing process throughout your experience. It can be as simple as just breathing and bearing witness to the experience without feeling like you need to intervene.

Rather than feeling like you have to “relinquish” control to the psychedelic, think of it like delegating the work. You’ve done your fair share of prep work, you’ve briefed it on your goals, and now you can take a step back and be more passive. 

You’ll have plenty of time to process and digest what you observe throughout the experience during integration with the help of your guide. 

8. Receiving Psychedelic Integration Support

Integration support is a key service provided by your therapist, guide, or facilitator. While there may be many techniques, methods, or approaches, integration can be defined as a process of integrating the insights of your experience into your daily life.

This definition is abstract for a reason. As we’ve stressed with almost everything pertaining to a psychedelic journey, there is no one-size-fits all. 

There is no mandatory content to extrapolate; rather, the individual will work with their guide to revisit their experience and make sense of it.

A study on integration acknowledged that lack of adequate social and/or psychological support may hinder the ability to work through this process and gain meaningful insight (Bathje et al., 2022). 

You might have heard before that you should write your dreams down immediately when you wake up, because they tend to fade quickly. 

The idea of integration is to “write down” the sensations and perceptions that you just lived through in the height of what it feels like to live through them.

Lessons, revelations, and take-aways can be associated with this process as you translate your intangible experience into a tangible life approach, in the direction of your intentions. 

Engaging in integration, at its core, is aimed at leading you to a more internal sense of wholeness, bringing together separate facets and elements of your psychedelic experience.

The Best Purity & Potency Test Kits for Psychedelics

Discover the transformative benefits of psychedelic therapy while prioritizing safety with purity and potency test kits. Although psychedelic therapy is renowned for its effectiveness in treating mental health conditions, safety concerns, especially with synthetic psychedelics, highlight the importance of testing for contaminants.

There are several options on the market, so to simplify your decision-making process, we’ve narrowed down our focus to two companies: Dance Safe for purity test kits and Miraculix QTests for potency test kits. Our selection is based on their reputation for offering simple, accurate, and cost-effective tools that ensure the identity and purity of substances before use.

It’s crucial to note that our recommendation is not influenced by affiliate partnerships; rather, these companies have become affiliates due to their commitment to providing valuable and reliable information to our readers.

Explore Harm Reduction Products:

Dance Safe – Fast, Accurate Psychedelic Purity Test Kits

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Explore DanceSafe, an organization dedicated to health, safety, and harm reduction within the music and nightlife communities. Their reagent test kits come with transparent information on accuracy and limitations. DanceSafe prioritizes education and community engagement, ensuring a trustworthy source for reagent test kits.

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Miraculix QTests – Breakthrough Psychedelic Potency Test Kits

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Embark on a new era of harm reduction with QTests, the world’s first at-home quantitative drug checking kits. Developed by Dr. Felix Blei, these kits go beyond identification, providing accurate potency data in milligrams or percentage.

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Experience a simple four-step process – extraction, reaction, calibration, and evaluation – ensuring accurate results for a safe psychedelic journey and granting users unprecedented control over treatment processes.

Unlock the full potential of psychedelic therapy while prioritizing safety with these advanced purity and potency test kits.

The Best At-Home Mushroom Grow Kits

Choosing the right method for cultivating mushrooms at home can be a daunting task, given the plethora of options available. To simplify your decision-making process, we’ve narrowed down our focus to two companies: North Spore and Midwest Grow Kits. In addition, Inoculate The World takes first place as our top recommendation for premium mushroom spores.

Our selection is based on their reputation for offering straightforward, cost-effective, and efficient mushroom cultivation solutions. It’s crucial to note that our recommendation is not influenced by affiliate partnerships; rather, these companies have become affiliates due to their commitment to providing valuable and reliable information to our readers.

Explore Harm Reduction Products:

North Spore (10% Off With ‘PSYCHPASSAGE’)

Visit North Spore

Founded in 2014 by a mycologist, an organic farmer and a photojournalist, North Spore is dedicated to making mushroom cultivation accessible to all. They offer a diverse range of products, including premium sawdust, plug, and grain spawn, mushroom grow kits, fruiting blocks, sterile substrates, and medicinal mushroom supplements.

North Spore places a strong emphasis on customer service, ensuring swift order processing, multiple contact options, and a hassle-free return policy.

Boomr Bin Monotub Grow Kit – $150

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Their ‘Boomr Bin’ Monotub Grow Kit, priced at $150, is a standout choice for manure-loving mushrooms, reusable housing, improved humidity control, and enhanced airflow.

Midwest Grow Kits (5% Off With ‘PPVIP5’)

Visit Midwest Grow Kits

In partnership with Midwest Organics, Midwest Grow Kits has been a leading supplier of bulk mushroom substrate and automated cultivation kits for over 18 years. Established in 2011, they aim to make mushroom cultivation accessible to hobbyists.

Midwest Grow Kits prioritizes customer satisfaction with fast shipping, diverse contact options, and reasonable return and refund policies.

All-In-One Mushroom Grow Bag – $19.99

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Their ‘All-In-One Mushroom Grow Bag,’ priced at $19.99, is perfect for compact setups, offering a “set it and forget it” approach with easy disposal after harvest.

Mega Mushroom Growing & Incubator Kit – $124.99

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For serious growers seeking precision, Midwest Grow Kits offers the ‘Mega Mushroom Growing & Incubator Kit’ at $124.99. This advanced kit provides precise control over variables like lighting, heating, and humidity, making it ideal for high-volume production.

Inoculate The World – Your Trusted Spore Source

Visit Inoculate The World

Inoculate The World, established in 2016, is our top recommended medicinal mushroom spore vendor. Known for their legitimacy and excellent support, they offer a wide range of psilocybin mushroom strains.

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With a commitment to open-sourcing genetics and timely shipping, they provide reliable spore syringes for both novice and experienced researchers.

Explore the world of mushroom cultivation with confidence, guided by our recommendations for the best grow kits and spore vendors. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cultivator, these companies offer solutions tailored to your needs.

Connect With Our Network of Pre-Vetted Psychedelic Therapy Providers

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.

Learn More About Our Network

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I determine the right dosage for a magic mushroom trip?

Determining the appropriate dosage involves factors such as your body weight, metabolism, and sensitivity to psychedelics. 

As a general guide, the recommended dosage is around 20-30 mg of psilocybin per 70 kg of body mass, roughly equivalent to 3-5g of dried mushrooms. 

It’s advisable to start with a lower dose and work your way up, considering individual tolerance and the potential blunting effects of antidepressants, if applicable.

Q: What is the significance of setting intentions before a psychedelic journey?

Setting intentions is a crucial preparatory step before a psychedelic experience. Intentions serve as a focused motivation or purpose for your journey, allowing you to anchor the experience and work towards specific goals. 

Whether it’s fostering authenticity, overcoming a communication pattern, or seeking forgiveness, intentions guide the psychedelic journey, aiding in a more meaningful and intentional transformation.

Q: How can I ensure a safe and positive environment for my psychedelic journey?

Creating a safe and positive environment is vital for a successful journey. Incorporate elements that minimize distractions and maximize calming, positive energy, such as low lighting, curated music, and pleasing decor. 

Eliminate physical hazards, reduce external noise, and introduce comforting elements like blankets, plants, and water. A supportive guide or facilitator plays a key role in cultivating a nurturing environment, ensuring you feel secure and at ease throughout the experience.

Learn More About Our Network

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I determine the right dosage for a magic mushroom trip?

Determining the appropriate dosage involves factors such as your body weight, metabolism, and sensitivity to psychedelics. 

As a general guide, the recommended dosage is around 20-30 mg of psilocybin per 70 kg of body mass, roughly equivalent to 3-5g of dried mushrooms. 

It’s advisable to start with a lower dose and work your way up, considering individual tolerance and the potential blunting effects of antidepressants, if applicable.

Q: What is the significance of setting intentions before a psychedelic journey?

Setting intentions is a crucial preparatory step before a psychedelic experience. Intentions serve as a focused motivation or purpose for your journey, allowing you to anchor the experience and work towards specific goals. 

Whether it’s fostering authenticity, overcoming a communication pattern, or seeking forgiveness, intentions guide the psychedelic journey, aiding in a more meaningful and intentional transformation.

Q: How can I ensure a safe and positive environment for my psychedelic journey?

Creating a safe and positive environment is vital for a successful journey. Incorporate elements that minimize distractions and maximize calming, positive energy, such as low lighting, curated music, and pleasing decor. 

Eliminate physical hazards, reduce external noise, and introduce comforting elements like blankets, plants, and water. A supportive guide or facilitator plays a key role in cultivating a nurturing environment, ensuring you feel secure and at ease throughout the experience.

Connect With Psychedelic Passage

Seeking psychedelic assisted therapy?

Take the first step and book a consultation call with us today. You'll get access to an exclusive network of pre-vetted facilitators. We'll match you with a trusted provider based on your unique needs.

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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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