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[PD] Welcome & Beginners FAQ

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Bluelight Crew
Mar 12, 2007


The Psychedelic Drugs forum (PD) has grown and evolved quite a bit over the years since it was created. The purpose of this thread is to explain what our community is, how we operate and what we ask of you, our members, to keep the Psychedelic Drugs forum as friendly, welcoming and helpful to others as we hope it is to you. Also below is a F.A.Q. to try and answer very common questions.

We have put a lot of time and energy into making PD a nurturing and friendly environment. We view this as more than just a tool to share information, but also a true community, a place to meet new friends and a virtual home away from home for us all to share. Regulars here on PD may seem like a pretty close-knit group, but don't worry - we're always happy to welcome newcomers! While users are always expected to be courteous and respectful when posting on Bluelight, we take that especially seriously here in PD.

Two drugs that some consider to be psychedelics - Cannabis and MDMA (a.k.a. Ecstasy) - have their own dedicated focus forums. Questions that are specifically about one of those drugs should go there. However, enactogen "research chemicals" such as methylone and 5-APB are discussed here in PD, while synthetic cannabinoids are not. If you have any questions about where a specific drug should be discussed, send a private message to a moderator.

The Psychedelic Drugs forum exists to discuss all topics relating to psychedelic drugs and their use. Obviously, this includes questions about the drugs themselves and their effects, just like you'd expect from any focus forum. However, there are a few ways we differ from most of the other focus forums here on Bluelight. Most notably, while other focus forums direct people who are new to the drug(s) in question and have very basic questions to go to Basic Drug Discussion first, we encourage people who are new to psychedelics to post their questions here. Additionally, we discuss a lot of topics here that other focus forums would likely refer to Drug Culture - for example, artists with strong psychedelic influences such as Alex Gray, or discussions of what types of music people like to listen to while tripping. The lines between psychedelics themselves and the art, culture and ideas that surround them can be much blurrier than with many other drugs, and we encourage users to share and discuss things that they think will be of particular interest to fellow psychonauts. In general, if it's about psychedelics, we're happy to discuss it here on PD!

Please read the list of rules and guidelines below. If you're unsure whether something you want to post is appropriate, send a private message to a moderator.



Following are questions that are answered only briefly with a redirect to the appropriate thread that exists for it:

- to do:

- What is the best psychedelic?

I took a hit of LSD but it wasn't visual. Why?

  • It's not uncommon to have surprisingly little visuals, although usually when you have had a good number of trips and titrate* your
    dose upwards you should be able to experience them soon enough. Most of the time it is just a matter of taking a little bit more. For some people acid is generally not extremely visual, it happens but less than some might think. Visit this thread about the subject!
  • *Titrating your dose, what is it? Titrating just means starting with a low dose and slowly work your way up with steps or increments. If the steps are not too large much fewer unexpected results will be had.

What's the most visual psychedelic?

  • Psychedelics only have certain tendencies to be visual, in different intensities and in different forms. It can be like comparing apples to oranges because visualizing complete imagery of scenes in your mind is different from seeing objects morph and distort with open eyes. There is no answer, this is a debate without end, but nonetheless much can be said about it that should satisfy your questions about this! Read here.

Threads that are especially valuable to beginners:

Safer Research Chemical User's Guide

This FAQ is a work in progress and you can help out! If you know a question that is bound to be asked by people new to all this, post it below. If it is valuable to be answered here it will be added. If not then eventually the posts will be made invisible and the thread will be closed - this is in the end not a platform for discussion but only a FAQ.

questions yet to be answered:

- How do SSRI's interact with psychedelics?
- Can you take vitamin C, sugar or something else to stop a trip in its tracks?
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I have never tried psychedelics but I have become interested in them, where do I start?

These are your basic resources, and instructions on how to use the forum and the on-site & off-site resources:
  • The number one reference for the Psychedelic Drugs focus forum (PD), is the Psychedelic Index.
    There you can find this FAQ listed, most of our so-called Big & Dandy's which are 'centralized megathreads' on general topics that are important / essential to psychedelic drugs, commonly discussed or otherwise perennial. Use the index find or re-find links to relevant and recurrent topics, or check the index to come up with new topics you realize you ought to cover as 'homework' before trying something that is new to you. "Set & Setting" is one such term or topic that in my opinion everyone needs to know and appreciate the purpose and value of, before experimenting with psychedelics.
  • You can get yourself acquainted with the existence of various psychedelics and other drugs by not only checking that index list (possibly a little flabbergasted), but also reading some trip reports in the Bluelight forum for that. Reading about them in 'practice' complements rather well with reading through mere reflections on the forum.
  • Just to be clear, Neuroscience & Pharmacology Forum (formerly known as Advanced Drug Discussion) is meant - among other things - for discussion of purely theoretical substances or -aspects of drugs. So that includes drugs that are not yet used, but only exist in the lab. That forum is also the place to go if you want to get more deeply into how the drugs work in your body.
  • Vital to getting good basic information on a lot of psychedelics and other drugs is www.erowid.org. On a lot of substances (at least regarding somewhat commonly used ones) on Erowid you can find straight-forward data on dosage ranges and listed positive/neutral/negative effects in a way that you can only find scattered on most message boards. Also, under experiences you can search for trip reports neatly organized / labeled.
  • Though outdated, additional or secondary info can be found at www.lycaeum.org.
  • The Shroomery is specialized in psilocybian mushrooms including cultivation and hunting them in the wild, whereas mushroom identification questions are actually not allowed on Bluelight. Information and trip reports on other drugs including synthetic ones can be found on the Shroomery but is in my opinion clearly much less interesting.
  • The DMT Nexus is rather specialized in DMT, ayahuasca and a few other visionary / shamanistic drugs such as Salvia Divinorum.
    (These, too, are in the basis harm reduction communities. But be aware that they come with their own subculture and attitude. A high general specialization rate on some topics may seem to come with limitations or ignorance on other parts. This is not meant as judgement, just combine these resources wisely so that you are not bound by the limitations and weakness of one community or resource.)
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So now I have picked up a couple of names of psychedelics that sound interesting to me, now what?

  • After you have become more familiar with the territory and have learned about some families of psychedelics or drugs in particular, use the Index to find almost any chemical. Then you can go into it deeper. If at any point you have questions, ask them in the appropriate topic - that way it stays clear for everyone.
  • Also, note that especially the biggest Big & Dandy threads have subthreads listen in the OP (opening post or first post of the thread), check those for a deeper focus on a particular aspect of the drug, it's use, how to store it and many more things.
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I have looked around the index but there is something I would like to know that is not in there, it seems!

  • It may be a lame answer but really recommended is the search engine, it shows at the top of the window but if you want to get more specific (but not TOO specific) about your query use the advanced search! A big tip is that the quick-search will search in all posts and not in title threads. That is why unintentionally the result can become a mess.
  • If the Index does not satisfy your questions and the search engine doesn't either then of course you can create a new thread. But understand that right now there are more threads created that actually fall into the topic of a pre-existing Big & Dandy megathread. If we can just ask you to try and keep the forum organized, that is all. Hopefully you will find PD informative enough for your needs and if there are any suggestions you want to make, there is a sticky thread at the top to post improvements you thought of. Hopefully we can all help each other, this is a platform supported by users for users so let's act like a community!
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Right now I am on medications, is it alright for me to use this psychedelic / empathogenic stimulant / research chemical etc ?

  • If you are on psychiatric medications then psychedelics are generally not a good idea. To trip you need to be stable mentally and then you wouldn't need the medication. Of course there are many different kinds of medications. Best case scenario is little interaction or a dulled trip, worst case scenario can mean life-threatening problems so do not just go combining things!
  • Still, for info please visit our medication interactions thread HERE!
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I have read about a number of different things but it is just very hard to pick a drug to begin with, which one do I take??

  • First off: please don't create a thread asking that because we cannot tell anyone what to do here, it is one of our rules. What then?? Well what we can do even though it approaches it, is discuss which psychedelics are the easiest to deal with, the best introductions to tripping, the most forgiving and the least relentless, we discuss that HERE! But ultimately you will have to make your own choices and do your own research. It would be irresponsible to let other people do it for you, to be honest. So we have your best interests in mind!
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3. What is an "RC" ?

  • RC stands for research chemical and it is pretty much the same as a designer drug, although "designer drug" is a term used more often by media and "research chemical" is a term used more often by the actual people using it i.e. this scene or community.
  • Research chemicals imply that there is not a lot of scientific information about the effects of the chemical compounds / drugs yet, people experimenting with them do it to explore these effects for personal reasons, general interest related to the broad variety of these compounds (in the name of science) or simply in the name of recreation.
  • The term designer drugs indicate that the compounds are designed chemically to circumvent current drug laws but a large part of the commerce behind it has the intention to achieve the same effects as popular illegal drugs like XTC (MDMA). So you could say many RC stimulants are 'wanna-be MDMA' compounds, although enough users respect these different compounds in for their own special character or quality. The differences in intensity, duration and other properties can give you the option to custom fit your psychedelic experience or high.
  • Some users are interested in exploring relatively new compounds because it seems more excited, it may feel to the like discovering novel things. But this is also an argument against use of research chemicals because the novelty also means uncertainty and unpredictability regarding the short-term and long-term safety. If you value your safety and health over anything else you might want to reconsider trying research chemicals that are very new.
    On the other hand the good news is that some chemicals that can hardly be called research chemicals anymore like the common ones from the 2C family seem to have been proven relatively safe as long as you follow the rules of responsible use, i.e. adhere to set & setting and do not dose too high, combine inappropriately, etc.
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Where can I find reports from people who have tried these drugs?

  • You can use the following resources for trip reports / experience reports: Our own dedicated BL TR forum section and Erowid which is absolutely excellent as well. There is also the Shroomery which is ideal especially for info and reports on mushrooms and the DMT nexus for info on DMT and related entheogens. The link below will lead to their experiences section. On Bluelight and the Shroomery utilize the search engine to find specific ones. Erowid has a special applet for this purpose.

------------ ------------ ------------
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Does LSD make your brain bleed or stay in your spine forever?

  • Clear and simple: no! These are myths and they are perpetuated among people who don't really know very much about this and people who fearmonger and demonize psychedelics out of fear and hysteria.
  • On this page of erowid a number of myths are debunked i.e. proven to be false / wrong.
  • Also visit this thread about LSD myths (which should include other psychedelics).
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How is a trip structured?

  • Let's take an example from here:
  • duration_chart_lsd.gif
  • Chart:
    • Total Duration: 6 - 11 hrs
    • Onset: 20 - 60 mins
    • Coming Up: 15 - 30 mins
    • Plateau: 3 - 6 hrs
    • Coming Down: 3 - 5 hrs
    • After Effects: 2 - 5 hrs
    • Hangover / Day After: -

  • ONSET: Now how can you think about a trip to be structured chronolically? It usually starts with an 'alert' which is the first sign you have that you have taken something, there is a change in yourself but it is hard to explain. You start to feel 'something' though. This usually happens somewhere near the end of the onset, which is the time between taking a drug and actually getting any significant effect.
  • COMING UP: You see a steep ramp going up in the graph above, that is the come-up where the effects manifest themselves and grow stronger and richer and more complex, it takes some time to get used to this, to adjust. Especially when it's your first time with a compound or the first time tripping in general. If it's completely your first time it can be hard to tell for some people if the trip is not very intense, because there is no frame of reference.
  • PEAK: The peak is the part of the plateau where the effects are really the strongest. People then say that they are 'peaking'. There's a peak amidst the plateau i.e. the highest point of multiple peaks that ebb and flow, and the plateau itelf is a period of average stability in effects. The plateau is not a comedown stage even though it's average overall intensity may be slightly less intense than the highest peak within it. The peak would rarely, if ever occur at the end of the plateau, and is most likely to occur at the beginning after the comeup, or a little way in to the plateau.
  • PLATEAU: When plateauing the trip stabilizes somewhat and does not really get that much stronger. But that's not the end of that: unforeseen circumstances, positive or negative, can impact the trip still at that point and can make it a lot more stronger. That is because when the set or setting changes it can have similar effects as if the dosage were different, it is that big of a factor. When we look at the graph we see that LSD comes in 'waves' quite often, the intensity can fluctuate but in average it should stay somewhat the same during the plateau and at the end start to lose momentum or power.
  • COME DOWN: That is when the effects start to decline, usually this is very relaxing and somewhat opposite to the come-up which can produce some anxiety. The trip can feel more dilated in this stage and feelings of rest or peace or re-stabilization or re-integration are not uncommon at all.
  • AFTER EFFECTS / AFTERGLOW: Some psychedelics and some trips have neutral after effects, that tell you you are still not back to your old self completely. People speak of an afterglow when the tailend feels especially beautiful and euphoric, there is reason to believe that the more content the trip had or the more extreme it was, the bigger the chance of afterglow is. After all, who wouldn't feel a sense of relief when you have just had an incredible but also difficult trip with lessons and insights. At the time it might have felt like too much but afterwards you are glad you did it because you can take something away from it!
  • RESIDUAL EFFECTS / HANGOVER: Though not a clear cut definition residual effects come after the after-effects or after-glow for example they are what still can linger after you have had a good time's sleep. Again, the more impact your trip had on you the longer it will take to integrate the experience. These hangovers are experiential and can also be said to include the spent energy from a strong trip until deep into the night for instance. Most psychedelics do not have a hangover like alcohol, it is very different.

  • Many trips are not like that of LSD, they have a peak that hits like a massive wave, then decreases in intensity before really dropping off. There are different kinds of so-called pharmacokinetics possible that mean long outstretched come-ups are possible or long come-downs (usually they go hand in hand), but some drugs can also hit very fast and have a really short peak. It's all possible.
  • To consider another graph that shows the temporal intensity here is that of mushrooms:
  • duration_chart_mushrooms.gif
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I have an RC (research chemical) in pure form. Now what? How do I use it?

  • Research chemicals have specific small doses to match a certain intensity of effect, doses that you typically cannot guess just by looking at it (called eyeballing), furthermore without a scale you can not always be as sure that the amount you think you have is precisely that instead of more or less. So, a very important investment but not one that necessarily has to be expensive, is a scale accurate to preferably 0.001 g = 1 mg. There is a thread on it here.
  • When you get a scale that shows only a display of 0.01g then DO NOT make the mistake of thinking that 0.01g is 1 mg. 0.01g is 0.010g is 10 mg! A factor 10 difference can get you into a lot of trouble and you would not be the first.
  • An addition to using a scale is what is called 'liquid measurement' or the 'volumetric method'. The idea is that you can make a solution by putting your chemical in a solvent. That solvent can be water (preferably distilled water available in many places) but better is to have it contain alcohol (ethanol). Don't use household or cosmetic products that contain ethanol, it should be something like vodka. The reason is for proper storage which is also covered in another question in this FAQ. If you want to read more about it visit the Big & Dandy Liquid Measurement Thread.

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What's the best way to store my acid and other psychedelics?

  • You can visit this thread for it but here are some things to know that should answer many initial questions...
  • The basics of storing things and chemical stability are these: storing well means preventing degradation.
  • Degradation is a term for unwanted chemical reactions that turn your active drug into something else. One of such reactions is oxidation.
  • Each chemical is sensitive to different factors to different extents, depending on the type of degradation reaction we want to prevent.
  • The key factors that determine the rate of most of these reactions are these:
    • Water / moisture, also the water present in normal air.
    • Temperature: a general rule is that for each 10 degrees Celsius you lower the temperature the reaction (like degradation) goes at half the rate. So basically placing something properly in the deepfreeze will multiply the shelflife by more than 16! Because you go from 25 degrees ambient temperature, to -20 in the freezer, is more than 40 degrees difference, so 4 times those 10. 2^4 = 16.
    • Oxygen: this is needed for things to oxidize. We need it to breathe for the same reason but need to make sure we use airtight containers to stop oxygen refreshing.
    • Sometimes: light, especially UV-radiation that is in normal light like sunlight. LSD is sensitive to this in particular but other compounds may be as well.
  • So, all these considered what is done best? It depends on how serious you want to take this but as a rule eliminate as many factors as possible. LSD in aluminum foil in an airtight baggy out of light is good. For longer storage putting it in a fridge or freezer is better. But especially when working with those you need to get a dessicant (drying material), like those sachets you might find with
    products you buy that have to remain dry (shoes, beef jerky, I don't know). They absorb water from the air.
  • An ideal situation would be to put your chemical in something protected from light (optional), seal it in a vial or mini mason jar (displayed below) together with a dessicant baggy. Then put that in the fridge or freezer.
  • Pay attention! If you take it out of the freezer or fridge as long as it is colder than room temperature it will attract condensation,
    water from the air making drops. So after taking it out of the freezer do not open it but first let it warm up gradually until it is at room temperature. THEN open. Otherwise moist air will enter and make your drugs all wet. Ideally also freeze the drugs gradually. Thawing and freezing gradually can be done by insulating like with foam around your container.

Some common storage containers for psychedelics or related substances



Top left: mini-masonjar ; Top right: eppendorfer tube ('Epp') ;

Bottom left: glass vial ; Bottom right: liquid 'scintillation' vials (typically used for a dose of GHB but also marketed bk-MDMA, 4-FMP or 2C-X products)

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I took acid or mushrooms (or another psychedelic) just a few days ago. Can I do it again right now?

  • Psychedelics like those produce tolerance very quickly, even a single trip can make you tolerant for a number of days up to 1-2 weeks.
  • Be sure to visit the Big & Dandy LSD & Mushrooms Tolerance Thread where this is discussed and also quantified into a graph. In other words you can read here how much tolerance there is in the average person after a certain number of days.
  • In general it can be said that it is good to wait a week or two anyway, not only for tolerance but also to allow yourself to really integrate the trip. Even if you think you are fine, be open to the possibility that everyone needs time to process unconventional experiences. If you trip too often you can lose a magical quality or feeling of novelty. That is because trips make you conscious about yourself and your life, you can receive insight but there still needs to be done something with it. If you keep tripping without experiencing actual content in life in between, then there is nothing new to review. And the trips can get lame and empty eventually. Don't let that happen.
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What are some risks of tripping and how big are they?

  • To start with some good news, most psychedelics are quite benevolent on the body and certainly the classic psychedelics that have been researched for a pretty long time, like LSD mushrooms and mescaline appear to do no real harm physically. But still let us remember that they are very powerful mind expanding drugs and that they can promote mental and spiritual processes that can be unwanted or detrimental.
  • Psychedelics are not classically addictive, often they can actually have the opposite effect because a trip can be hard to endure instead of easy and recreational. Psychedelics increase your awareness which usually does not allow for a lot of escapist behavior. The more easy and recreational a psychedelic is though, the more it can be abused. But there is no real craving that is not in line with the will of the user.
  • Much experience tells us that a mentally stable person is very unlikely to get psychosis or schizophrenia or other precipitated illnesses or disorder without strong factors of stress or a latent condition. It can be genetic that someone is predisposed to mental instability or sensitivity. Such a person can get into trouble especially if little care is paid to set & setting. Sometimes this predisposition cannot be detected in time and that can be a tragic accident, but it does not happen alarmingly often and one might argue that there could have been many more triggers or so-called luxating factors, that would cause a similar illness to precipitate. Addendum: link to study supporting that psychedelics are not associated with (causing) mental illness ; PD thread discussing this (I, too, expand on my opinion there)
  • The experiences can be very extreme and spiritual in content. This can cause a spiritual revolution in people and make them question who and what they are and what their place is in life and the universe. This can happen without asking for it, and for many there is no way back but only a way through it. This can be troubling or even somewhat traumatic, but it can also teach you a lot about yourself that is priceless.
  • Flashbacks, they are not really caused by the drug itself but by the extreme nature of some experiences. Similar to a deja vu, some triggers can make you re-experience very intense experiences vividly as if you were back there. If the experience was horrible then the flashback can be expected to also be bad. But if the experience was emotionally neutral (it just was) or very positive, then such a flashback is not a problem. They happen but not very often at all, and even if they happen they are definitely not all bad. Visit the Flashback thread for more info.
  • HPPD (Hallucinogen Peristing Perception Disorder) is something else that is seen and chances of it increase when frequency of tripping is abnormally high. Some people, again, are very sensitive to this though. Many trippers have symptoms of this but do not have the disorder itself because they are fine with them and call them 'free visuals' or 'tripping on demand' so to speak. Others are bothered by it though. It is not something one should worry about when trying psychedelics but it is definitely something to remember when you are doing it more often and often. Visit the HPPD Thread for more info.
  • To conclude one doesn't need to be scared of psychedelics but instead be very respectful to your use of them. Consider set & setting very well and evaluate your own emotional and mental state before taking them. That way you can prevent some things listed above. Tripping is often about exploring new territory but the bigger leaps into the dark you take the less predictable the outcome is, so be careful with that and first learn how to actually take steps into this territory of mind exploration. If you do take these precautions seriously then most of the things above can be minimized to a level that is hard to quantify, but seems to be acceptable. If you do not want to risk anything at all, simply don't trip. But realize that the majority of things in life puts you at risk of something or another, and harm reduction and safety precautions are the best way to be able to do these things well.
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What does a + or ++ or +++ etc mean?

  • These notations mean an intensity of psychedelia on Shulgin's scale.
  • Alexander Shulgin, writer of the books PIHKAL and TIHKAL, invented a way to express the level of intensity in the following manner:
    • - not really used but it designates no effect at all.
    • +/- also rarely used, it designates not being sure if there is an effect happening or if it is placebo or anticipation or something else.
    • + a definite effect is happening but it is so mild that it stays on the background, whether you like it or not.
    • ++ a stronger effect is happening that one can really go into if wanted, but it can also go to the background if so inclined.
    • +++ a strong effect that is undeniable and that will not go to the background, whether you like it or not.
    • ++++ a very special level, this is sometimes used equal to ego death or mystical states, however it is not originally meant to designate those states, rather it is meant to designate a truly life-altering trip independent of the primary intensity of effects but depending on the secondary deeper lasting insights and effects. They may make you see the world in a way that can never be reversed or make you make a very serious change in your life. Again: ++++ is not a measure of intensity, at least it was not intended to have this meaning. However since this is counterintuitive many people use their own definitions of the term that are more intuitive to them.
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How many micrograms of acid is on a blotter?
I have some blotters, they have a certain print. How many should I take for a good trip?

  • It depends, we can't know that really. Unless it can be tested at a laboratory which is possible in a few countries like the Netherlands and Spain it seems. There are many different kinds of prints and you cannot see from that how potent they are i.e. how many micrograms they contain.
    If there are tested blotters that are geographically very close to you it may be possible, especially if the print is a rare or uncommon design.
  • How strong is it, in probability? Consider the following estimation of dosage on a blotter. It is a course guess not based on real data except experience and anecdotal suggestion, though I am trying to get it supported by actual data from test labs. Please note that this chart includes blotters that actually contain any LSD at all. Some of them are just inactive and others contain compounds like DOX. Those have not been quantified / guesstimated.

*image was removed from server - I will need to recover it from archives*

  • So most of them are around 75 ug, but they can be much weaker or stronger than that!! It's nothing to gamble with.
  • Now, what can you expect from certain doses? Here are a few typical descriptions of effects to expect from certain doses:
    • µg = micrograms = 1/1000 of a milligram is 1/1000000 of a gram!
    • 25 µg - threshold, you can feel an alert and a feeling you can't quite put your finger on. Things might seem a little more lucid to you, you just might feel more energized in the slightest but it is so mild that you might doubt it's anything real at all. A +/- .
    • 50 µg - mild, it is enough to get a feeling for it and get into a more crystallized, lucid or clear headspace. You might feel like your visual field is augmented but actual distortions are probably still quite around the corner at this point. It is a nice way to get acquainted with LSD, that much is sure. You should not expect to be overwhelmed. This would be a + .
    • 75 µg - light to moderate, it is all more evident at this point and there is less need to really try to pick up on the effects. Besides a big smile on your face I would not be surprised if you would get some visuals at this point and feel like you are tripping. You can do something with this trip and start exploring better. But it still does not have a very large potential to drag you along in its intensity. Expect a ++ .
    • 100 µg - moderate to somewhat strong, at this dose you can really have some serious fun. Visuals should not be a big problem at this point and the trip can be quite complete and envelope you. Without effort some ego dissolution can easily become apparent. This is a proper dose that a good number of people might say is enough. Not that more is really unwanted but you should not miss out on a whole lot. It should still be possible to function at this dose but expect to be noticeably altered anyway. A ++/+++ .
    • 150 µg - strong, it starts to get more serious here and you can definitely get surprised by some intensity especially on the peak. Parts of it might get you carried away but with some previous experience this should still be manageable. A very nice dose indeed, nothing pathetic about this! Distortions and morphing can be very original and stunning. This has significantly more potential for dissolution of boundaries, so be prepared to get as acid washed as the jeans you are wearing. (++) / +++ .
    • 200 µg and higher - intense, fasten your sealtbelt because objects melting at this point would not be uncommon at this point. From here on out shit gets deep, it really may not be easy anymore to have a purely recreational time. More ego loss and things you may have never experienced before. Just extraordinary, much more easily a +++ .

  • So now you will understand it is a hard question to say how many you should take, because if they are strong one or two hits can blast you away but if you are weak one hit or less can be a little disappointing or have hardly an effect at all while you may be anticipating something serious.
  • As a rule, start low with any batch of drugs you have newly acquired. Evaluate the reputation of your source if he or she made any claims about the potency, and without experience to go on better be safe than sorry. If you are a beginner, "when in doubt double the dose" is silly. You can always do more a next time, but you cannot take it back when you discover that you are in way over your head. These are not toys, so treat tripping well, treat yourself well... and have a wonderful time! :)
  • Visit this thread on the subject for further reading and discussion.
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What are set & setting and why are they so important?

  • In short: set & setting are the summarized factors that determine the outcome of your trip. They are key to investigate before you trip, to even consider if tripping is a good idea or not. If you decide that both set and possibilities for settings are good enough to trip, you should still work on them to increase the chance of a positive and worthwhile experience, whether your goal is recreation, therapy, exploration or otherwise.
  • Now then, what are they exactly? Which aspects are included?
    • Set is the state you are in, the term mindset designates the psychological state - you take all of this with you wherever you go
      and this is the hardest to change, many of these things take years to learn and develop or control:

      - How you feel emotionally, how mature you are, your intelligence or intellectual level
      - Your ability to adapt and handle unexpected events, your anxiety and panic threshold
      - How well your identity is integrated (closely related to maturity), how well you are integrated socially
      - The extent to which your sense of reality is integrated and how flexible it is
      - Or how open to suggestion you are, or to warping your mind.
      - Your personality in general
      - The issues you have in your life
      - Experiences in the past that have shaped you, positively or negatively / traumata.
      The totality of your set is also your physiological state including:
      - Your condition and resilience, how much energy you have (in general or how tired you are at the moment)
      - How well you are in contact with your biological energy, if you can relax yourself well and let experiences flow naturally.
      - Some people are more sensorimotorically oriented and others psychomotorically.
      - Your tolerance for and previous experiences with drugs.
    • Setting is the external factor
      - The place you are in, the time of day
      - How much free time you have
      - If you are outside: the season, the weather
      - How many people there are with you, how well you know them, if you like them, and if you can allow yourself to be yourself.
      - What there is to do, if there is entertainment or a possibility to take a nice walk, if there is nature nearby
      - If your phone is on, making it possible for people to call you which might be difficult, awkward or confusing.
  • You do not have absolute power over everything that happens around you but you can arrange to be in a place that is as safe
    as possible, where you are best protected from potentially disturbing situations. If you can be yourself, have the freedom to be
    outside in nature but also to retreat and hide out - if only for reassurance, the chances of having a good trip are much better.
  • As for social factors, some people rely on theirselves much more for feeling stable, while others may be gregarious or rather insecure when alone that they feel strange when left alone. This determines what is best for tripping as well. People who can have issues with functioning socially definitely should watch out with being in company with too many people and/or people they don't know
    well. On the other hand people who find socializing vital are more likely to find support in a fellow tripper or tripsitter. But it can be therapeutic for all people to step out of their comfort zone. People who derive their self-value from others might do well tripping alone because it can help them learn to be an independent individual whose self-value is self-derived. Conversely introverted people might do well tripping together and open up their heart to allow social connections to be made.

Why does it matter this much?
  • Drugs like uppers and downers have a rather reliable effect. You can expect them to be stimulating or sedating and it will not depend as much on set & setting. Of course you can still react differently due to set & setting but with psychedelics this is much more extreme.
  • Psychedelics may present a certain character in their trip but contrary to what some might believe you are not a victim to the utter randomness of a trip experience. What you experience comes from within yourself and what part of yourself comes out and in what way depends on the listed factors. This is all true even while sober, all natural forms of life's causality. But psychedelics exaggerate or precipitate what is in our consciousness or subconscious. Whether you have a bad experience may depend somewhat on physical events like side-effects of the drug on your body but other than that it is set & setting that will make the difference between one of the best trips of your life or an extremely difficult experience. Psychedelics do not produce anything themselves directly, they do not contain anything but a specific mechanism in which they modulate and catalyze mental processes.
  • One way to add to the control of these mechanisms is rituals. And this is meant not in a religious but in a shamanistic context. You can try to program the experience using things like mantra's, NLP techniques or specific intentional actions meant to direct the trip to some extent and to focus on some premeditated meaning.

Visit the wikipedia page on set & setting and our own Big & Dandy set & setting thread
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What may psychedelic visual effects look like, what are some typical kinds of visuals?

(also: "How does such an experience affect you?")

  • There is a wonderful website that shows examples of certain distinguished visuals that you may encounter during a trip, to visit click HERE.
  • Another poster worth taking a look at can be found HERE. It shows a few proposed mechanisms involving concepts like form constants. This starts crossing into territory of how psychedelics work on a nervous level. This will be covered in the answer of another FAQ question and forms the bridge to 'psychopharmacology' and things like signal transduction. In other words how these chemicals work in the brain.
  • A few very important notions worth remembering:
    • Examples shown in the link to the first website and the poster are examples and not much more. In real psychedelic experience the results are not so clear-cut, they form only soms basic that can combine into fantastic and unimaginable perception. When the effects advance to stronger or higher levels elaborate visionary experiences may follow including feeling like being transported to other worlds, other dimensions and even meeting non-human entities.
    • To expand on this further, there is something a lot of people don't realize when they try to imagine what a trip is like. It is typically not like watching a movie like a spectator but instead being immersed and involved in it, actively or interactively participating. What happens affects you and the deeper you go into a trip the harder it can get to remember that parts of it are not as real as they seem.
      An experience is an experience, it doesn't make it feel any more or less real than another experience. You may feel like you have gone to heaven or you may feel like you have gone to hell (in extremely intense trips), just remember that in that moment it is incomparably more real to you than watching a movie, but when the effects wear off, it's over. So it's not necessarily good or bad, it's just something to consider before you underestimate or overestimate what you get yourself into.
    • Once you decide to get yourself into it, be prepared to face the consequences. As they say: 'buy the ticket take the ride'.
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I would like advice about my specific personal situation but I see that such threads are sometimes closed, why?

  • Here in PD we do not allow questions of the nature "what should I do?", that includes asking if you should take something or not, how much of it, and basically all other questions that involve personal decisions. You should make your own decisions, the only thing we provide is a platform to share information. You can make your own decisions based on this information.
  • If you want to get information to base your decisions on, formulate your question in your OP in a smart way, instead of specific for your situation keep it general. Don't make up a story about 'your friend', that is still a specific personal situation.
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I have heard you can get a bad trip. Should I be worried about that?

  • Bad trips do exist, it is a subjective thing to talk about like most experiences. But there is a lot to it, there are ways to avoid it and there are ways to look at it that can bring nuance. A lot of people come to see that there are trips that may just be "difficult" and there are ones that are plain downright negative. What is the difference you may ask?
  • Difficult experiences arise from conflict. That conflict may be completely internal, such as unsolved questions that lie buried deep inside you, or the feeling that you should be doing something else with your life. In a trip you should always be prepared to face things about yourself and about your life. To confront them, even if a lot of the time you are able to ignore them.
    Logically, because people find it very hard to surface such issues while they are in a trip that may be pretty intense, they try to deny it. To run away from it. While sober it can be a lot easier to lie to yourself and leave the problem for another time (if ever), but while tripping this can be much more difficult.
    Try to imagine not seeing this as something horrible that may happen to you, but an opportunity to work on things that may be very important to your life.
  • Though trips can show you a lot of color, beauty and unusual sensations, it is not wise to accept only a recreational side of psychedelics, because you cannot always control the sort of effects that you will get. IF you do happen to experience such issues, face them head on and see if you can work on the issue, if you are powerless then you have done all you can. Try to let it all go. If not, be brave! And it could turn out to be one of the best or most important things you ever did!
  • A very similar thing can be said about spiritual experiences. You may not want them, but you may not always have a choice - use a similar approach as I just suggested.
  • Now, there are also experiences that can just be pointlessly negative. Sensory overload is a good example of this. There is little or nothing to be gained from that, and it can be quite painful to go through.
    To avoid such things, be careful with your dosage and combinations, and especially set and setting (refer to one of the other questions in this FAQ that covers set and setting). Trip in a safe and controllable environment. See if you can have a benzo on hand just in case for such emergencies.
    Please, don't lie to yourself - be honest and look yourself in the eye to see if it is a difficult trip or just a bad one! :)
    All the above are tips that may be based on opinions I have. Not everyone may share my opinions, so definitely check a lot of threads in our forums to see many other opinions, so that you can form your own!
    I wish you all the best <3

(Lastly, here is the link to the Big & Dandy Bad Trip Thread)
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