A remarkable shift in societal attitudes toward psychedelics has allowed them to emerge from the shadows of stigma and into the realm of scientific inquiry and therapeutic usage in recent years.
As interest in psychedelic substances continues to grow, so does the importance of ensuring that these experiences are approached with utmost care and respect.
Whether seeking personal growth, exploring consciousness, or pursuing therapeutic benefits, understanding and implementing proper safety practices can greatly enhance the potential for a positive and transformative psychedelic journey.
In this article, we delve into the top safety practices to consider when embarking on a psychedelic experience. By equipping ourselves with the knowledge and tools to approach psychedelics responsibly, we can maximize the potential for personal growth while minimizing potential harms.
4 Ways to Prepare For a Safe Psychedelic Journey
In this section, we cover safety tips and considerations for the preparation stage, which will help set a safe container for your experience.
1. Research and Education
Research and education play a crucial role in ensuring a safe and informed psychedelic experience. Here’s why research and education are key:
Firstly, each psychedelic substance has unique effects on the mind and body. By learning about the specific substance, you can familiarize yourself with its typical effects, such as changes in perception, mood, and potential sensory enhancements.
This knowledge helps you set appropriate expectations and navigate the experience more confidently, as well as decide which psychedelic substance is right for you.
Secondly, educating yourself about the potential risks associated with the psychedelic substance is crucial. This includes understanding the potential psychological effects, challenges that may arise, and any physical risks associated with the substance.
Knowing the risks empowers you to make informed decisions and take necessary precautions to mitigate potential harm.
Thirdly, Some individuals may have specific medical conditions, medications, or mental health concerns that would contraindicate the use of certain psychedelic substances.
By researching and understanding contraindications, you can identify if there are any factors that may make the substance unsafe or unsuitable for your individual circumstances.
Consulting with a professional guide can provide further guidance in assessing any contraindications, and we also discussed this in a previous article about who should not take psychedelics.
By investing time and effort into research and education, you empower yourself to make informed decisions, reduce potential risks, and maximize the benefits of your psychedelic experience.
Remember to rely on reputable sources of information, such as scientific literature, reputable organizations, and qualified professionals in the field of psychedelic research and therapy.
2. Sourcing Safely
When it comes to safety, benefiting from any medicinal substance hinges on your source being reputable and trusted.
Contaminated substances or misleading substances can lead to adverse reactions or unexpected effects, compromising the safety of the experience.
It’s important to verify the purity and quality of the substance, ensuring that it is free from contaminants, adulterants, or impurities, and you can do this both by obtaining from reliable sources and testing your substances.
Here are some resources on ensuring your psychedelic substance is pure and unadulterated:
3. Choosing the Right Guide or Facilitator
Finding a sitter or guide that is experienced and qualified—as well as someone you have a strong rapport with—to support you during a therapeutic journey sets you up as being well-equipped to deal with any safety risks.
As discussed in a previous point, acknowledging the risks associated with psychedelics, even when used therapeutically, means that you recognize the need to be bolstered with judgment-free and seasoned support.
Screening and assessment are also vital safety practices to undertake before engaging in psychedelic therapy. Seeking professional guidance and undergoing a comprehensive evaluation is important for a few reasons.
Our network of pre-vetted facilitators offer experienced insights, address any concerns, and help ensure your safety and well-being throughout the process.
Your facilitator will take you through a thorough screening and assessment to evaluate your mental and physical health and suitability for the psychedelic experience.
This assessment may involve discussing your medical history, current medications, any mental health conditions, and any relevant personal experiences.
It helps identify potential risks or contraindications and ensures that psychedelic therapy is appropriate and safe for you. If you have concerns, we encourage you to speak with us directly about if psychedelics are right for you.
Each person is unique, and their response to psychedelics can vary. The screening and assessment process allows professionals to tailor the experience to your specific needs.
Lastly, they can provide recommendations on dosage, preparation techniques, and integration strategies based on your individual characteristics and goals.
4. Set and Setting
Set and setting are crucial factors that have multifaceted effects on a journey. When it comes to setting, we have written articles on how to create the ideal at home ceremony space and deciding between an international psychedelic retreat or at-home psychedelic therapy.
This decision sets the tone for the type of dynamic and overall relationship you have with your trip sitter and environment, and when it comes to safety, this has lasting impacts.
Mindset, on the other hand, is likely even more important. Entering the realm of psychedelics often requires deep levels of acceptance, surrender, and a willingness to explore aspects of the self that one has stuffed away.
It is important to enter the space with clearly set intentions but also checked expectations, acknowledging that you could have a painful or “bad trip.”
Some questions to ask yourself prior to your psychedelic journey are:
- How emotionally ready am I for this experience?
- How deeply can I trust myself and my guide during this vulnerable time?
- Am I ready to bravely face things about life, the world, and myself that are potentially painful, intense, or scary?
If you answer positively to these questions, you likely are ready to journey into the unknown, and this will help mitigate many risks associated with taking hallucinogens when you are not ready.
5 Safety Tips For During Ceremony
This section covers safety tips for during the journey itself, but it’s important to note that the presence of a facilitator or guide can help take the responsibility off of you, the journeyer, and allows you to solely focus on your inward expansion.
Any tips in this section are best done in the presence of a sober guide whose role is to anchor you and keep you safe, calm, and on track.
1. Stay Hydrated and Nourished
It can be easy to forget how to take care of basic bodily needs as you explore aspects of the self that are usually overlooked. Be sure to stay hydrated and always have snacks on hand.
2. Remember To Relax
Think about what practices can help you stay calm if you start to feel anxious or overwhelmed (and remember that your guide is there to support you and hold your hand if need be).
Our favorite relaxation techniques are:
- Breathing exercises like box breathing
- Meditating on feelings of surrender and acceptance
- Yoga nidra, body scans, and somatic awareness
- Grounding and intuitive movement
- Making sound or humming
- Cathartic emotional expression and release
- Holding a sacred or sentimental object which calms you
- Be patient and remember that what you are feeling is temporary
Any number of practices can offer emotional and psychological relief. The most important thing is that you remember that these are in your back pocket if you begin to feel consumed by negative thoughts or emotions during the experience.
3. Anchor to Your Intention
Another aspect of relaxation is remembering why you began this journey, and what you were hoping to confront, expand, or release.
It is possible to get swept up in the complexity of it all, but anchoring to an intention can help stabilize you during any intensity that arises.
A facilitator helps you set intentions prior to the ceremony through active preparation work and can help remind you of those intentions during the journey itself.
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4. Start With a Low Dose
Because everyone reacts to mind-altering medicines differently, it can be helpful to start low and slow with dosing.
In a previous article, we created a comprehensive dosage guide which includes multiple psychedelic substances, so that you can go into any trip prepared on how to safely take the correct amount.
It’s also important to consider your own individual sensitivity and honor your personal boundaries. You can always take more, but once you take a certain amount, only time can make you come back down.
5. Be Cautious of Combinations
You should always avoid combining psychedelics with substances like alcohol or prescription medications, unless advised by a healthcare professional.
While a guide can help make you aware of potential contraindications, you have to protect your own well being as well.
Certain herbal combinations on the market are sometimes sold with psilocybin mushrooms and other drugs to help increase potency or extend the duration of the trip.
Be cautious of these additional substances; it’s best to consult with a facilitator before taking any foreign substance.
When it comes to antidepressants and medications, on the other hand, we have also written articles on the effects of antidepressants and anti anxiety medications on psilocybin.
Again, consulting with an expert is the best way to mitigate any adverse reactions of combining or having multiple substances in your system.
A Note on Integration and Aftercare
Our last safety tip simply but profoundly highlights the importance of integration. Especially following an intense trip, integration is crucial for bringing the lived psychedelic experience back into everyday life.
As part of aftercare is self-care and allowing yourself the time to process, rest, and revitalize. Taking a break from draining activities and honoring your sensitivity is important.
Exercise, nourishing meals, time in nature, creative activities, therapy, movement, and spending time with loved ones can help soften the landing and ground you back on to planet earth.
Lastly, our network of facilitators not only aid you during the preparation and in-ceremony phases of the psychedelic experience but also throughout the post-trip integration phase as well.
Having a sober guide from beginning to end provides you with unique insights into your overall journey.
Speak With a Psychedelic Professional
We hope these safety tips were helpful and offer deeper insights into preparation around mitigating harm and risks for intentional psychedelic use.
We encourage you to check out our resources page for additional psychedelic tips and tricks, topics, and research-oriented articles on the wide-reaching world of psychedelia.
Before we wrap up, we invite you to book a consultation with us today so that we can support you and help ensure a safe, meaningful, and transformative trip.
Our concierges will connect you with our network of pre-vetted psychedelic guides who are located all over the United States, so that there is no headache and guesswork on how to best be supported. Thanks for reading and safe travels to all!