Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The Psychedelics Challenge

MoCh - Challenge #12 n/a 2014 - The Psychedelics Challenge


First a few lines from the owner of this blog, Mr Me. One evening I talked to a near and dear friend of mine who asked me if he could share experiences from a challenge he had done earlier this year. He was inspired by my monthly challenges, and decided to set out and do a challenge for himself. When he told me what he had done I almost fell off the chair in shock. I will not reveal who this person is (for his own sake, even though I am not sure if he cares that much). Let's call him Mr X. First we'll start with an interview of Mr X, then I will let him describe to you "The Psychedelics Challenge".

The Interview

Mr Me:   Am I understanding you right? You have done one month with psychedelic drugs, as a challenge?
Mr X:    Sounds bad when you state one month of drugs. I was inspired by your challenges.
Mr Me:   Do not get me involved in this insane project. Several times in one month you tried out different dangerous drugs?
Mr X:    Hold your horses, Mr Prejudiced. First of all, I do not believe the drugs are dangerous, when you know what you are dealing with. And I have tried this five times, only. And nothing bad has happened.
Mr Me:   Only? Five times! You can mess up your brain, seriously! Are you crazy?
Mr X:    Do not "seriously me". You do not know what you are talking about here. I suggest that you do some reading before you make statements like that.
Mr Me:   Why do you ask me to publish your seemingly-crazy-wacky-ass-project on my blog? What are you thinking? Do you want to inspire people to start using drugs?
Mr X:    I just want to tell my story. This is very potent stuff, and used the wrong way it can be an unpleasant experience. However, just like you, there are a lot of people that do not know much about this subject. All they "know" is that it is very dangerous, and can or will mess up your life. But is that really true? No, I would say. Used the right way this can actually help people.
Mr Me:    You are crazy! How did you get hold of this stuff? Where did you do this?
Mr X:     None of your business!
Mr Me:    How the hell did you get the idea? I know you as a well educated, ambitious and sporty person. A person that even says no to a beer. Have you ever even smoked a cigarette in your entire life? What went wrong here? Is this a bad joke?
Mr X:     I suggest that I present you with my story, and some links. Then you can decide on publishing this or not, and decide on me being crazy.

And publishing of this story did happen, since you are reading this right now. I decided to publish it because it truly is an interesting story. My friend was right. There was a lot I did not know, and it seems not to be as black and white as I earlier though. He is not saying that there are no dangers involved. There are, as there are dangers with many thing. However, I had no idea that what I looked at at very dangerous drugs seemingly also can be of help to some. Done right, that is.

The Psychedelics Challenge
Written by Mr X.

I look at myself as a serious guy. I have a good education. I have a good family. I have good friends. I have healthy interests. I seldom drink. I never smoke. I do a lot of sports. And prior to this challenge I had never done any drugs, not even considered it. To be honest I did look down at those who had. Neither did I have any close friends that had used any drugs, I believed. I was wrong.

It all started with me being given a gift from some people that are very near to me. They told me that a new world had opened to them, after they tried out psychedelics. As you, I was shocked. I associated all drugs with nothing but problems and the possibility of mess up your life. I though that those people were experimenting with what could lead to their death, or for sure was the first step on a path to completely ruin their lives. What did I really know? Not much, I later realised.

I will stress the importance of having an experienced guide when going on psychedelic trips. You should do this in a controlled environment. Set and setting is truly crucial for avoiding bad trips. A bad trip is a trip where you will end up with stressful and frightening experiences. Psychedelics will easily amplify your mood. If you are in bad mood it will get worse. If you are in a good mood it will become much better. You should plan your trip well. It is not something you do on a party, or a night out. Do not mix these drugs with other stuff. Psychedelics is a tool, a very potent tool. If used the right way it will open doors to places you had no idea existed. It will open up a new and beautiful world. If used in the wrong way you might wish you never tried. Once you have started a trip there is no way back. You have to travel, and the travel can take hours.

I would also emphasise that psychedelic trips are not for everyone. I would say that you should have a good / normal psyche. On a trip the world will change. And after a trip you will be forever changed. But once again, if done right, only in positive ways. Psychedelics has been used for hundreds of years, by for example Indians and other indigenous people. But remember, these were done as ceremonies. It was not something they did often, or unprepared. There were shamans who guided the trips, to make sure it became a good experience.

You can not get addicted by the substances that I tried. It is not like caffeine or nicotine, where the case is quite the opposite.  However, the feeling that you experience can be so good that you might want to visit that world often. This will self regulate, though. It is not something you can do every second day, because if you do it often the effect will not be there. Can this be a first step to other stronger drugs, in the search of the same great feeling? I believe that is a possibility. If you are a person that do like to experience a lot, maybe. In the same way as tasting the first glass of alcohol can "lead to" alcoholism, for some. It depends on the person. What about me? I would never consider using anything else, without knowing equally much as I know about these substances, knowing there are few dangers involved, when doing it right. I believe I have a great deal of self control. But there is always a risk. This was a risk I was willing to take.

Having tried out these substances has forever changed me. I am extremely happy that I did this project. That I did it in safe surroundings, having people I trust around me, that looked after me. I did this as a one time experiment, but I might visit "the other world" again. What I have experienced is indescribable. I can not think of any more significant event in my entire life, than visiting the world of psychedelics. If you have not tried you will not understand.

Another important point though is that you should know what you are using. A problem is that these substances are very illegal in most parts of the world. You can not go to the pharmacy and pick up a bottle of pure acid. Do never ever experience with anything that you do not know with 100% certainly what is. One thing that I am sure some people would have liked, to feel safe, would be to take part of a controlled medical experiment. Executed by people that know what they are doing. But there are not many of them.

I am no expert on this subject. However, I have done some reading, and watched some documentaries and other relevant information. I want to present to you a few links. Please do follow the links. Read the text, and watch the interviews and documentaries suggested. That will give you a better understanding of what psychedelics is, and is not.


The Mushroom/LSD Experience Explained & Explored
Scientists Studied What Psychedelics Do to the Brain, and It's Not What You've Been Told
Psychedelics and Mental Health: A Population Study
Fleinsopp og LSD gir ikke psykiske problemer (Norwegian)
Sobered up using LSD
Alcohol 'more harmful than heroin' (and mushroom is the least harmful)
Magic Mushrooms Can Cause Positive Personality Changes According To New Study

Neurons To Nirvana (trailer)
Inside LSD (Full Length Documentary)
BBC Horizon: Psychedelic Science - (DMT, LSD, Ibogaine) (full length documentary)

If you did not take the time to look through the above links then I would ask you to not judge me. Because you do need proper knowledge to make proper judgements.

I have been on five trips, and tried out a few different substances, listed below. Psilocybin / magic mushroom was by far my favourite. This is the substance I will use, if I am to at a later stage do new trips.

The first substance I considered trying out was Dimethyltryptamine, or DMT. However, I actually can not inhale smoke. I do not know how to, as I have never smoked. This substance is easiest to to inhale, hence taking DMT is slightly problematic to me. It is possible to inject the substance as well, but that I did not even consider. DMT can also be taken orally, as it is the primary psychoactive in Ayahuasca.

DMT seems too heavy for me. It frightens me. I guess it would not have been the best starting point into a psychedelic world, for me at least. One day if I ever get the chance to try out Ayahuasca I might try out that though. I believe that can be a tiring but useful experience.

DMT (Wikipedia)
DMT (Erowid)
DMT (Talk To Frank)
DMT (Palo Alto Medical Foundation)

Do note what treatment4addiction.com writes about the dangers of DMT:
"Using DMT can be a serious health risk that results in death. Users can go into a state of unconsciousness or a drug induced coma. Often, unconscious users will begin to vomit resulting in choking and death."

The same thing might very well happen to some drinking too much alcohol. However, on their page on alcohol that is not mentioned. Why? Alcohol is accepted by the society, psychedelics are not. Both substances can be dangerous, if used wrongly, or can be a good experience, if used wisely.

MDMA is a compound used in what most people know as Ecstasy. However, talking about MDMA most people seem to mean Ecstasy. Ecstasy contains other chemicals, like amphetamine / speed. MDMA gives a very mild psychedelic effect. Pure MDMA is the first substance I ever tried. This was all about the feeling, which was amazingly good. This is a synthesized drug, and using it often seems not good. Too often of one thing seldom is. I feel no urge to try this again, but I am not afraid of doing it one more time either.

MDMA / Ecstasy (Wikipedia)
MDMA (Erowid)
MDMA (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
What MDMA is doing to your brain (YouTube video : 3 minutes)

Lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, is a semi-synthesized psychedelic drug. I tried out this twice. The experiences were amazing. I saw things I never before have seen. I visited places where I never before has been. LSD worked really well on me. That is the scary part, that the effect on different people, using the same substance with the same strength, can have so different outcomes. I did a very small dose, but even so I completely lost all control, all sense of time and space was gone, and everything changed. The trips lasted too long for me. For about seven or eight hours I was very "far out". I got extremely tired from all the impressions, and wanted the trip to stop. But there is no returning once started.

After my second LSD trip I was certain that I would never again try the substance. I believe I have seen as much there is to see in the LSD world, and I do not care to experiment more to find out if I am right or wrong.

LSD (Wikipedia)
LSD (Erowid)
LSD (Talk To Frank)
LSD (Palo Alto Medical Foundation)
LSD (treatment4addiction.com)

Psilocybin was by far my favourite substance. Everything was comfortable and beautiful. I did not lose all control, as I did on LSD. I had several deep insights, that forever has changed me as a person, in a better way. Mushroom is natural, and it also felt natural. Magic mushroom even grows in your own garden.

I am open to try out psilocybin again, at a later stage.

Psilocybin (Wikipedia)
Psilocybin (Erowid)
Psilocybin (Talk To Frank)
Psilocybin (Palo Alto Medical Foundation)
Psilocybin (treatment4addiction.com)

Below is a list of other useful resources on this subject, found and added after the article originally was written.

How Psychedelics Saved My Life by Amber Lyon
Governments worldwide lied to us about the medicinal benefits of marijuana.   The public has also been misled about psychedelics.
It’s a human rights crisis psychedelics are not accessible to the general population.  It’s insane that governments worldwide have outlawed the very medicines that can emancipate our souls from suffering.
It’s time we stop the madness.
Link to the article.

Joe Rogan Experience #470 - Amber Lyon
Amber Lyon is an Emmy Award-Winning journalist. She has recently been traveling the world working on Reset.Me, an independent journalism site covering psychedelics, natural medicines, and alternative therapies.
Interview with Amber Lyon about psychedelics

More articles is found on reset.me, a is a site who's goal is to produce and aggregate journalism on consciousness, natural medicines, and therapies.

Magic mushrooms expand your mind - Human Brain Mapping
In a new study, published in Human Brain Mapping, we scanned the brains of volunteers who had been injected with psilocybin – the chemical found in magic mushrooms which gives a psychedelic experience – and a control group who hadn’t, and discovered two key things: that psilocybin increased the amplitude (or “volume”) of activity in regions of the brain that are reliably activated during dream sleep and form part of the brain’s ancient emotion system; and that psychedelics facilitate a state of “expanded” consciousness – meaning that the breath of associations made by the brain and the ease by which they are visited is enhanced under the drugs.
The related news article
The study

Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD)
Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) is a disorder characterized by a continual presence of sensory disturbances, most commonly visual, that are reminiscent of those generated by the use of hallucinogenic substances. Previous use of hallucinogens by the person is necessary, but not sufficient, for diagnosis of HPPD. For an individual to be diagnosed with HPPD, the symptoms cannot be due to another medical condition. HPPD is distinct from flashbacks by reason of its relative permanence; while flashbacks are transient, HPPD is persistent.

Healing trip: how psychedelic drugs could help treat depression - The Guardian
Next year, if all goes to plan, a dozen patients with clinical depression will be invited to a UK laboratory and given psilocybin – the psychedelic ingredient found in magic mushrooms. Over the next four or five hours, many of these volunteers will experience dream-like euphoria as colours, smells and sounds become more intense, perception of time distorts and their sense of self dissolves. Some may feel a surge of electricity through their bodies, sudden clarity of thought or hilarity. Others may experience anxiety, confusion or paranoia. These hallucinogenic effects will be short-lived, but the impact of the drug on the volunteers could be long-lasting.
The related news article

Manifesting the Mind: Footprints of the Shaman (2009)
Full Documentary

More Challenges
View all the challenges here.

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