Psychedelics have been used for centuries for spiritual and medicinal purposes. Today, many people use them to achieve altered states of consciousness, which can lead to profound personal insights and therapeutic benefits.
However, one of the most commonly asked questions about psychedelic therapy is how long a typical psychedelic trip lasts. The answer isn’t a simple one, considering how the duration of a psychedelic trip can vary depending on several factors.
In this article, we’ll explore how long a psychedelic trip lasts and the various factors that can influence its duration, including contraindicated medications, dosage, and an individual’s personal relationship with control.
Not only that, but we’re also breaking down the length of a psychedelic trip for each and every mainstream psychedelic drug, including LSD, magic mushrooms, DMT, MDMA, and ayahuasca.
From dosage to physiology, and right down to the time-dissipating effects of psychedelic experiences, we’re covering everything you need to know about the objective length of psychedelic journeys, and even about the subjective variables that influence time perception.
We’ll outline the phases of a psychedelic experience for you, from how long the onset period lasts to the length of the peak and the comedown. To close off, we’ll offer 3 time-keeping tips that can help you keep track of elapsed time, amidst your psychedelic experience.
This means you’ll be able to identify where you are on the psychedelic trip “timeline”, while actively participating in the psychedelic journey. Alrighty, now that we’ve given you the rundown, let’s get right into it – what factors influence the duration of a psychedelic trip?
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Factors That Influence The Length of a Psychedelic Trip
A psychedelic trip can be a catalyzing and transformative experience, but it can also be unpredictable in terms of its duration. Many factors can influence how long a psychedelic trip lasts, and understanding these can help individuals prepare for and navigate the experience.
Psychedelic dosage is one of the most significant factors that affect the duration of a psychedelic trip. The more of a drug a person takes, the longer the trip is likely to last.
For example, a small dose of psilocybin mushrooms might only last a few hours, while a larger dose could last upwards of 6 hours. Similarly, a low dose of LSD might last 8-10 hours, while a higher dose could last 12-14 hours or more.
Individual Physiology & Relationship With Control
Another significant factor that can impact the duration of a psychedelic trip is the individual’s metabolism. Some people metabolize psychedelic drugs more quickly than others, which can cause variations in how long the trip lasts.
For example, a “small” dose of psilocybin mushrooms might mean 1 gram for one person and their individual psychology, but a “small” dose of magic mushrooms for another person can mean 3 grams. Dosage doesn’t have much to do with weight adjustment. It has more to do with an individual’s personal relationship with control, which has a bigger influence on the “amount” of effects that a person experiences.
Someone with a rigid, hard-shelled ego may require a higher dosage to reach their threshold, aka– the point at which a sufficient amount of normal-reality constructs have been disillusioned and therefore the individual can detect noticeable psychedelic effects.
Some may not begin to feel the effects until 3 hours in, others may begin to feel it 1 hour in. Metabolism may affect the digestion of the psychedelic drug, but your relationship with control can affect the depth of your psychedelic experience.
If you attempt to be in control of the journey’s unfolding, your resistance may push back the inevitable surrendering that allows you to fully embrace the psychedelic experience. If you enter the journey in complete surrender, you’ll likely experience a very organic and natural timeline of effects.
Psychedelic Substance Potency
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. The introduction of QTests revolutionizes the way individuals approach harm reduction in the realm of psychedelics.
By providing quantitative data on the potency of psychoactive substances, these kits enable users to accurately determine the exact dosage of the most popular psychedelic drugs. Qtests offers an MDMA test kit, LSD test kit, psilocybin mushroom test kit, and even a cannabis test kit.
QTests offer a scientifically validated method for determining the concentration of unregulated substances, granting both journeyers and healthcare providers greater control over treatment processes and enhancing the potential benefits of psychedelic therapies. The following is a brief overview of the fascinating and simple process behind QTest use.
Mindset and Environment – “Set” & “Setting”
The mindset of the journeyer can have a big influence on how long the trip lasts. If a journeyer is in a positive and open mindset, they may be more likely to have a longer and more profound trip. In contrast, if someone is feeling anxious or uncertain, the trip may be shorter and less intense.
However, this is equally as likely for the opposite of both mindsets. A positive and open mindset can make a journey feel shorter, like time went by quicker because they were having fun (as per the theory of relativity). Just like an anxious mindset can actually hyper-extend and intensify a journeyer’s perspective of time.
The setting in which a person takes a psychedelic can also affect the duration of the trip, mainly because setting affects mindset. For example, a comfortable and safe environment can help an individual feel more relaxed. A stressful or chaotic, unwelcoming, unfamiliar environment can cause a person to feel more agitated.
The type of mindset you’re in inevitably goes back to your relationship with control. If you surrender, you’ll have a more pleasant experience. If you resist and try to control, you’ll have a more anxiety-inducing psychedelic experience.
The length of a psychedelic trip can also be complicated by the use of certain medications and supplements, including, but not limited to, SSRIs and antidepressants, vitamin C, citric acid, and benzodiazepines.
1. SSRIs and Antidepressants
SSRIs and antidepressants are commonly prescribed medications for the treatment of anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. These medications work by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain, which is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in regulating mood, appetite, and sleep.
When taking a psychedelic drug, such as psilocybin or LSD, while on an SSRI or antidepressant, the effects of the psychedelic substance may be reduced or completely blocked. This is because the serotonin receptors in the brain are already occupied by the medication, preventing the psychedelic drug from binding to them and producing its effects.
In addition, the use of SSRIs and antidepressants can also prolong the duration of a psychedelic trip. This is because these medications can inhibit the breakdown of the psychedelic substance in the body, leading to a longer duration of the effects. This can be dangerous, as it can increase the risk of experiencing adverse reactions or serotonin overdose.
It’s important to note that discontinuing the use of SSRIs or antidepressants in order to take a psychedelic drug can also be dangerous. Suddenly stopping these medications can be severe and potentially life-threatening. Always consult with a medical professional before making any changes to medication regimens.
Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that are commonly prescribed for anxiety and insomnia. They work by enhancing the effects of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which slows down the activity of the brain and central nervous system.
Benzodiazepines such as Valium (diazepam) and Xanax (alprazolam) are known to have sedative effects, and they may reduce the intensity and duration of a psychedelic trip.
3. Citric Acid & Vitamin C or “Lemon Tekking”
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is found in many fruits and vegetables, including oranges, kiwis, strawberries, and bell peppers. It’s an essential nutrient that is important for a healthy immune system, skin, and tissue repair.
Vitamin C is also known to have some interactions with psychedelic substances such as psilocybin and LSD. Specifically, some people believe that taking vitamin C before or during a psychedelic trip can prolong the experience or intensify the effects.
One popular method of using vitamin C to extend a psychedelic trip is known as “lemon tekking.” This method involves grinding up dried magic mushrooms, mixing them with lemon juice or another acidic liquid that is high in vitamin C, and drinking the resulting mixture.
The idea behind this method is that the acid in the lemon juice will convert some of the psilocybin in the mushrooms into psilocin– the active compound that produces psychedelic effects, more quickly and efficiently than if the mushrooms were simply eaten whole.
The theory is that this faster conversion of psilocybin to psilocin can result in a quicker onset of effects, a more intense trip, and a longer duration. Some people who have tried this method report that it can extend the length of a trip by up to an hour or more.
It is important to note, however, that there is currently no scientific evidence to support the idea that taking vitamin C can actually extend or intensify a psychedelic trip.
While some people may find that this method works for them, others may not notice any significant difference in their experience. Furthermore, taking high doses of vitamin C can have potential negative side effects, such as stomach cramps and nausea.
Method of Administration
Different methods of administration can affect the onset, intensity, and duration of a psychedelic experience. Here are some of the most common methods of administration and how they can impact trip length:
1. Oral Ingestion
The most common way to take psychedelics is through oral ingestion. This can be done by eating dried mushrooms, drinking ayahuasca, or sublingually taking a tab of LSD. When ingested orally, psychedelics are absorbed into the bloodstream through the digestive system.
This process takes time, and the effects of the drug can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours to kick in. Once the effects do kick in, they can last anywhere from 4 to 12 hours, depending on the drug and the dose.
2. Smoking or Vaporizing
Another way to take psychedelics is by smoking or vaporizing them. This method of administration is commonly used with DMT or salvia. When the drug is smoked or vaporized, it’s absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs, which allows it to enter the brain more quickly.
The effects of smoked or vaporized psychedelics, like DMT, can be intense and short-lived, lasting anywhere from a few minutes to an hour.
3. Intramuscular Injection
Injecting psychedelics directly into the muscle is another method of administration that can impact trip length. When the drug (often ketamine) is injected into the muscle, it’s absorbed into the bloodstream more quickly than when taken orally. This can lead to a more intense experience, and the need for a reduced dosage.
4. Intravenous Injection
Injecting psychedelics directly into the vein is a way to quickly get the drug into the bloodstream and the brain. This method of administration is often used at ketamine clinics and can lead to a very intense and potentially dangerous experience, if not under medical supervision.
5. Sublingual Administration
Sublingual administration involves placing a small amount of the drug under the tongue, where it’s absorbed into the bloodstream through the mucous membranes. This method of administration can lead to a quicker onset of effects than oral ingestion.
The Phases & The Length of a Psychedelic Experience
The phases of a psychedelic experience each have their own time-dependent nuances. Timelines can vary depending on the type of drug, dose, and again, the individual’s physical and mental state.
However, we’re giving you a general outline of the experiential phases of each psychedelic drug, so your expectations can be better informed. Ultimately, the speed at which your experiences move through these phases, will contribute to the length of time you spend in the psychedelic trip.
How Long Does an LSD or ‘Acid’ Trip Last?
LSD – Length of Trip: 8 to 12 Hours
Onset: The onset of lysergic acid diethylamide, also known as LSD, can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, if the drug is taken sublingually.
Come-up: After the onset, the individual will start to experience the come-up phase of the trip. During this phase, the effects of LSD will intensify, and the individual may experience changes in perception, thoughts, and emotions. The come-up phase can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Peak: The peak of an LSD trip is the most intense phase of the experience. During this phase, the individual will likely experience visual and auditory hallucinations, changes in thought patterns, and altered perceptions of time and space. The peak of an LSD trip can last anywhere from 2 to 4 hours.
Plateau: After the peak phase, the individual will enter the plateau phase of the trip. During this phase, the effects of LSD will start to stabilize, and the individual may experience a sense of calm or tranquility. The plateau phase can last anywhere from 2 to 4 hours.
Come-down: The come-down phase is the final phase of an LSD trip. During this phase, the effects of the drug will start to wear off, and the individual may feel physically and emotionally drained. The come-down phase can last anywhere from 2 to 4 hours.
How Long Does a Psilocybin or ‘Magic’ Mushroom Trip Last?
Psilocybin Mushrooms – Length of Trip: 6-8 Hours
Onset: The onset of a psilocybin mushroom trip can vary depending on the method of ingestion. If the mushrooms are ingested orally, it can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to start feeling the effects. If the mushrooms are consumed in tea form or ground up and ingested, the onset can occur much sooner.
Come-up: During this phase, the effects of psilocybin mushrooms will intensify, and the individual may experience changes in perception, thought patterns, and emotions. The come-up phase can last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and a half.
Peak: The peak of a psilocybin mushroom trip is the most intense phase of the experience. The peak of a psilocybin mushroom trip can last anywhere from 2-4 hours.
Come-down: The come-down phase is the final phase of a psilocybin mushroom trip. The come-down phase can last anywhere from 1-2 hours.
After-effects: After the come-down phase, the individual may experience a lingering afterglow of the psilocybin mushroom trip, such as changes in mood, perception, and thought patterns. The after-effects can last anywhere from a few hours to several days, depending on the dose and the individual’s sensitivity to the drug.
How Long Does an MDMA or ‘Molly’ Trip Last?
MDMA – Length of Trip: 3-4 Hours
Onset: After ingestion, it usually takes around 30-60 minutes for MDMA to take effect. During this time, the user may begin to feel a sense of anticipation and nervousness as they wait for the drug to take effect.
Come-up: This phase marks the onset of the drug’s effects, which can include feelings of euphoria, increased sociability and empathy, heightened sensory perception, and an overall sense of well-being. The come-up can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Plateau: This is the peak of the MDMA experience, during which the user may feel intense feelings of empathy, love, and connection to others. Sensory experiences may be heightened, and the user may experience a sense of “flow” or timelessness. This phase can last for several hours.
Come-down: As the effects of MDMA begin to wear off, the user may experience a range of physical and emotional symptoms, including fatigue, depression, anxiety, irritability, and difficulty sleeping. This phase can last for several hours or even days.
How Long Does a DMT Trip Last?
DMT – Length of Trip: 10-30 minutes
Onset: After inhalation, DMT typically takes effect within seconds to a few minutes.
Come-up: This phase can include intense visual and auditory hallucinations, changes in perception of time and space, and a sense of being transported to another reality. The come-up can be rapid and intense, and may include feelings of fear, awe, or transcendence.
Peak: This is the most intense phase of the DMT experience, during which the user may feel completely dissociated from their body and surroundings, and experience vivid and complex visual and auditory hallucinations. The peak of the experience may only last a few minutes, but can feel much longer subjectively.
Come-down: As the effects of DMT begin to wear off, the user may experience a range of physical and emotional symptoms, including confusion, disorientation, and difficulty integrating the experience. This phase can last for several minutes to an hour or more.
How Long Does an Ayahuasca Trip Last?
Ayahuasca – Length of Trip: 4 to 6 Hours
Onset: After drinking the ayahuasca brew, the onset of effects may take between 30 minutes to several hours, depending on the dosage and other factors. During this phase, the user may feel nausea, stomach discomfort, and a sense of heaviness in the body.
Purging: Many ayahuasca users experience intense vomiting or diarrhea during the onset phase, which is thought to help purify the body and prepare the user for the deeper effects of the brew.
Come-up: As the effects of ayahuasca begin to intensify, the user may experience a range of physical and emotional sensations, including heightened sensory perception, emotional sensitivity, and altered thinking. This phase can last for several hours.
Peak: The peak of the ayahuasca experience can be highly intense and profound, characterized by vivid and often highly symbolic visual and auditory hallucinations, altered sense of self and reality, and a sense of spiritual or mystical connection to the world. This phase can last for several hours and may involve a deep exploration of the self and the universe.
Come-down: As the effects of ayahuasca begin to wear off, the user may experience a range of physical and emotional symptoms, including fatigue, confusion, and difficulty integrating the experience. This phase can last for several hours to a day or more.
Best Time-Keeping Practices For Psychedelic Experiences
Psychedelic experiences can be transformative events, but they can also be disorienting and emotionally intense. For this reason, it’s important to have some time-keeping strategies in place to help you stay focused on your intentions and make the most of your experience.
Overall, time-keeping can be a useful tool for navigating the sometimes unpredictable and overwhelming terrain of a psychedelic experience. Remember though, that the ultimate goal of a psychedelic experience is not to control or manage it, but to surrender to the experience and allow it to unfold in its own unique way.
Setting a Stop Watch
One of the simplest ways to keep track of time during a psychedelic experience is to set a stopwatch on your phone or a watch. This can help you know where you are in the experience.
A stopwatch can note how much time has elapsed and help you gauge roughly how much time is left in your trip. However, we wouldn’t advise setting a timer because the alarm sounds can be intrusive and distracting to the focused journeyer.
Have a Trip-Sitter or Guide Keep Track of Time
If you’re taking a high dose of a psychedelic, it may be difficult for you to keep track of time on your own. In this case, it can be helpful to have a trusted friend or trip-sitter keep time for you. They can let you know how much time has passed and help you pace yourself throughout the experience, especially if you’re planning on re-dosing.
Use a Visual Timer
If you’re looking for a more sensory way to keep track of time, consider using a visual timer, such as an hourglass. There are also many apps and websites that offer visual timers in the form of a bar that fills up as time passes. This can give you a visual cue of how much time is left and help you stay grounded in the present moment.
Explore How it Feels to Be Connected
Ready to get started on your healing journey? If so, we empower you to get connected with our pre-vetted network of psychedelic facilitators. Book a consultation today, to speak with our knowledgeable team of psychedelic concierges.
They’ll help get you paired with a facilitator that’s not only at a close distance from you, but also one who specializes in whatever modality your current circumstances call for. From the comfort of your very own home, embark on a journey of self discovery and actualization.
Accept, surrender, and embody your truest self, knowing that you’re under the care and supervision of qualified professionals. Have any lingering questions about psychedelic therapy? Head on over to our blog page and explore more informative articles like this one! That’s all for now, safety-first psychonauts. Mindful journeying!