Why I Don’t Do Psychedelics Very Often Anymore

I feel like I should start this off by saying that I’m never going to stop doing psychedelic drugs and to say that I don’t do them very often anymore would sort of ignore the fact that I get high almost every day. In my mind weed’s a bit more of hallucinogen than most people like to acknowledge, it just takes a bit more focus to be used in that capacity and people are lazy. Things like acid and mushrooms come right into your world impose their essence into the very fiber of your world. They’re the only reason I’m writing this weird shit for you today. I took mushrooms when I was 18 and saw a universe of transcendent shape shifting mutant space art that no one will ever be able to explain to me with conventional thought. One of the more mind blowing aspects of randomly experimenting with psilocybin as a teenager had to do with reading people like Carlos Casteneda shortly thereafter. Whatever you think about the guy’s work, I can absolutely say that I was completely unfamiliar with the concept of sorcery or shamanism until that exposure. Most of us tune it out. I wasn’t crazy. People had been basing their spiritual beliefs on the ritualistic use of entheogens every since we can remember there being people, and yet, we’ve outright rejected this philosophy in western culture. I just can’t figure out why everything’s fucked. I just can’t figure it out.

The sensory fire works of psychedelic high strangeness eventually lead me into the even freakier spectacles of astral projection and chaos magick. I can say with all certainty that these things have lead to more coherent cosmic informational downloads than psychedelics ever have. Hands down. The psychedelic experience is almost too powerful. You get a constant invasion stream of more than you can take, which is why it’s so awesome, but it’s also easier to process the information more effectively in alternate formats like sex ganj-i-tation and dream analysis (both ofwhich I talk about on Facebook often, friend me). It typically takes me months to process a single trip, but there was a time when I didn’t take them so sparingly.

The problem is the drug war. Set and setting largely dictate the resulting imprint of any ethneogen voyage, and in this day and adaemonicheatherblackrainbowge, your average teenager dives into them like they would any other illegal substance. You could argue that the majority of our spiritual beliefs are backhandedly diluted shamanism when you get down to it. This is some powerful shit. And most of us just throw ourselves into it as if it’s no different than choogling cheap beers and trying to get laid. I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into when I first tripped out. It was a Friday night, I was looking to party. What happened changed me forever. Not many people are going to tell you that’s a possibility. The psychedelic experience has never really grown up past its frat boy party phase in western culture. I’m still not of the mind that going to a crowded concert or festival is the best way to get something profound out of them, as hyper rad as that can be. Optimally I think sex should be involved, but that’s another story.

What I’m really getting at is that I sort of find psychedelic culture embarrassing to a certain extent. I remember reading about research done back in the sixties that indicated that without the implementation of an alternate spiritual practice, the long term affects of a given acid trip on an individual’s behavior were often negligible. I’ve known a crap ton of people who have taken a bunch of psychedelics, and very few of them have adopted any sort of alternative spiritual discipline whatsoever. It usually seems to be about, again, taking drugs as a means to escape life’s bullshit and little more. A lot of times it almost turns into a pissing contest sort of “I can handle more than you can” competition. Granted, I know a lot of other people who use it to inspire art, and that’s a spiritual discipline unto itself, but very few people I’ve known take on even basic things like regular meditation or intentional dream manipulation. For most casual trippers, it doesn’t change them much at all in the long term. If I were to put a finger on why this is, I’d wager it has something to do with the set and setting in which we take them, which is typically “at a party or party environment” under the impression that “they’re just drugs fucking with your head”. That’s a pretty good set up for a failure to learn anything. Basically, just edit out all the freaky shit to the best of your abilities because there’s no reason to pay much attention to it anyway. That’s the attitude a lot of us our launching ourselves heavenward with.

God, the dumb shit I did in my youth. I have multiple stories of being drunk at like 3am at some random party and one of my friends finding acid. Yeah, let’s take that, right now, after 17 beers. It’s not like it wasn’t fun. I had the free time and I used to be able to handle these shenanigans. On the other hand, it’s also kind of stupid. I knew one girl who took mushrooms and had to be forcefully evacuated from a concert because she wigged the fuck out. I knew another guy who on several different occasions ate shrooms and wound up in a mental institution not really having any idea how he got there. He lost a couple of jobs because of that. Right after high school I sold a dude some and he went home and took them by himself. Ended up freaking and his mom took him to the hospital in the middle of the night to get his stomach pumped. That has to be one of the worst trips on record and I still sort of feel bad for selling him those. Why doesn’t anyone say obvious shit about psychedelic drugs? Why is it always just GOOOOOO TEEEAAAAMM DRUGGGGGSSSS!!!!!?

No seriously, I’m about the biggest advocate for the stuff imaginable, but if someone who’s never tried them asked, I’d tell them to try weed first. If you can’t handle what that does to your brain (and a lot of people struggle with it) you really have no business going any further. Try smoking pot and meditating and if you like that, by all means proceed. If you have a predilection to things like manic depression, schizophrenia or spontaneous schizophrenic experience, taking acid or mushrooms might just push you way over the edge, which we’ve seen time and time again. When you do try them, take a small dose and wait for a couple hours. If you want more, take more but increase the dosage in small increments to test what you can deal with. I so did not take this advice or think this way when I was younger. Even when I took mushroom chocolates with my wife who had never done them six years ago, I accidentally gave her way too much because I’d never tried that batch and had no idea how strong they were. As a result, she had a rough first few hours (although she learned a few things) and I had to put in a bit of effort to pull her out of it, which worked. You’d think I would have figured this stuff out by this point, but it’s not like you learn in in schools or on tv. They tell you to party.

Thad McKraken

Thad McKraken

Thad McKraken is a psychedelic writer, musician, visual artist, filmmaker, Occultist, and pug enthusiast based out of Seattle. He is the author of the books The Galactic Dialogue: Occult Initiations and Transmissions From Outside of Time, both of which can be picked up on Amazon super cheap.
Thad McKraken

6 Comments on "Why I Don’t Do Psychedelics Very Often Anymore"

  1. Combattons_le_nihilisme | Oct 24, 2013 at 7:45 pm |

    Nice article :), ty for sharing your trips and your vision of hallucinogens! I totally agree with you on the conclusion.

  2. It was all fun and games, until I got my hands on some black pyramid microdots. At first we thought it was bunk, and we about to call our dude. Then it started, and boy did it go. I have been cautious since then.

    I encourage people not to drop though. Not unless they feel they really need to. As for setting, we always had safe places to go. My older friend could drive like a champ while tripping. I remember one trip while on Blue Felix, we laughed our asses off for hours while driving around.

    I’ve been told that the acid back in the day was best. Not only because of how it was made by Owsley, but also because the Brotherhood of Eternal Love would bless it. Maybe that’s one of those tripper tales like the cup of orange juice guy or something. No idea, but I can say unless the stars align in the right way. I will probably never trip again. My imagination is wild as is, I don’t need any help.

  3. “You probably don’t want to be doing this sort of thing too often, but rather, ritualistically and with respect. ”

    But why is it always one or the other? Don’t some use them frequently for a time, but with respect, intent, ritual, in proper set/settings? I’ve always wondered why people tend to just equate frequent use with recklessness or frying your brain… Perhaps that line of thought is partially a result of looking at psychedelic medicines through our western paradigm of widespread drug abuse of all sorts.

    Doing them more often isn’t right for everyone and can come in phases in a persons life depending on a number of factors, but in general I think that the overall context of the use, set/setting, and amount of integration that goes along with it all is much much more important IMO than just how often your tripping…Since some people go nuts after 1 or a handful of trips, while others are fine after even months of daily exploration of the tryptamine dimension…and vice versa, of course.

    Others that I’ve known including myself drank ayahuasca 1-2 times a week for over a year and it was always done ritualistically and with deep respect. Some apprenticing healers in the amazon will even take psychoactive plants daily for months on end. Its not for everyone and not something I planned to do for years on end, its just how my work with the medicine unfolded and it was probably the most interesting and transformative times of my life, in a very positive way. My solo forays with frequent vaped dmt have been similar. (I should note that for some reason it seems LSD runs a higher risk of being detrimental when its used frequently)

    I’m not saying there aren’t serious risks involved, nor am i recommending this. You have to be careful if you choose to do them, and especially so if its frequently. But after reading this I can’t help but feel that its all to easy to see why one would think that journeying too frequently will probably “fry” peoples brains when your own frequent use involved mixing it with things like alcohol and coke, in less than ideal set/settings. This is why i think the context is more important than frequency when talking about possible negatives.

    We tend to project inferences drawn from the patterns of our experiences and apply them to the general population, but its always very tricky and multi-faceted. Especially since a lot of the world is moving past just using them for kicks and taking more syncretic spiritual approaches. We’re in the midst of a second academic/cultural psychedelic revolution right now and many people aren’t just using them recreationally (which i have nothing against), but in more solo or exploratory/healing types of contexts.

    • TeddyOrwell | Oct 30, 2013 at 10:56 pm |

      Most people find it hard to do what you are doing. Usually, if people are doing it frequently, they will start to treat it more frivolously. Many get into a mode where they are just consuming experiences and not reflecting on them…just more, more, more. More visions, more epiphanies (or the appearance of epiphany), more euphorias, more. You get the idea. You see this a lot with people who just steadily do K like it’s pot or something.

      So yes, it can be done, but most people would get more out of it if they didn’t. I’ve noticed in my experiences that once a twice a year is plenty if it’s done properly with the recognition that there is work to be done after the drugs wear off. And yes, I have have done them very frequently too, and I don’t think it’s bad.

      • There is many “patterns” of use and that is definitely one of them. But mostly I think high doses tend to be self-regulating, in that they actually differ most people from wanting to do them again right away because of how powerful and earth-shattering it is. So when people go through periods of more serious frequent use for personal growth, they tend to be dedicated, with genuine intentions and respect for it. When people are doing it often and only getting more frivolous with it, they usually seem to be doing mostly lower end doses and/or mostly tripping for reasons outside of the introspective/exploratory/spiritual path. Or aren’t integrating enough…something that is always key.

        Anyways I think the classical psychedelics such as lsd, mushrooms, ayahuasca, and mescaline are far far different and not really that comparable to ketamine which, while profound in itself, is after all a dissociative by nature with much different activity, history, and uses. Its also addictive, whereas these other psychedelics are usually the opposite of addictive.

  4. TeddyOrwell | Oct 29, 2013 at 7:52 pm |

    Great article, Thad. I heartily concur. Mostly these days I just meditate. I too have been investigating Astral Projection/OBEs, and am coming to realize that one can have amazing self initiated OBE experiences that way which rival or even surpass the most mindblowing DMT trips. But it’s different, and yes, more accessible in many ways and easier to integrate into your life. And it doesn’t cost any money and you don’t have to risk your freedom to do it.

    Lots of psychedelic type people have this attitude like drugs are the ultimate, but they really are just there to show you what is possible. Psychedelics are certainly dependable in being effective and are impressive as hell, especially visually, but that’s not everything. In fact, the visuals can in a way can be a distraction from the much more profound stuff going on.

    Once you learn a few tricks, you may not ever need psychedelics again. If anyone is interested in how to self intiate OBEs, check out books by William Buhlman, Robert Monroe, Michael Raduga, or Robert Bruce. Or just search for interviews with William Buhlman on youtube and listen to him. I’m reading his book, “Adventures Beyond The Body” and it’s pretty outstanding. He discovered how to do that stuff on his own, but he teaches you all the tricks he knows. I’ve met others who are able to do it without ever trying, but most of us need to put some effort into it.

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