I had my first hallucinogenic experience when I was about 15 years old.
I remember the day and the surrounding events vividly.
One of my best friends had taken acid the night before and he excitedly shared his experience with me the next day. He tried to explain what he saw and how he felt, but ultimately, he said the only way to truly understand what he was talking about was to try it for myself.
He didn’t have to convince me, I immediately agreed and said I was in. The only problem was the price tag.
Each hit of acid was being sold for $20 (the dealer was probably getting them for $1, but knew he could take advantage of uninformed high school kids in a small town). At that time I’d estimate my net worth was about $3, so I couldn’t afford it. Luckily my friend had a job and said he’d gladly pay for both of us just so we could do it together.
This was a pretty common thing with us. I never had any money. When he would get a paycheck, I’d ask him “how much money did we make?” and we’d laugh. But I was serious… like… how much do we have for booze and food this weekend bro? He’s a great guy that one. One of the best I’ve ever met and we are still are friends to this day.
A few days later we held two tiny pieces of paper in our hands. They didn’t look like much at all. He said all you had to do was put it on your tongue, which I did right away.
We sat back and waited and about 30 minutes later the giggles started to kick in.
The Tripping Experience
When you take LSD or mushrooms, there is a waiting period. At first you don’t think anything is happening. Then about thirty minutes later… you start to giggle.
Maybe you say the words “cat food”, but it sounds like “clam foot” and you start laughing about that. Then your friend sees you laughing and he starts laughing. Pretty soon you are both laughing yourself to tears with no real idea what it is that’s so funny.
Soon the giggle energy morphs into waves of heat, blurry lights and emotions. You feel like you’re on a psychedelic roller coaster that is approaching the precipice of a cliff.
It hangs in the balance for a moment. You look into each other’s eyes. And then you feel it slowly moving forward.. click… click… click…
Then all at once, the roller coaster dives off a cliff, the tracks turn into energy fields and the ride officially begins.
For the next 5–6 hours we were tripping balls.
I laughed and cried while watching the Universe come to life all around me. I could see the energy of the Universe, the thing that holds us all together pulsing through the air. When I waved my arms the energy would move like water and ripple through the wind and then disappear into the clouds.
Of course, to anyone not on the ride with us, we probably looked like crazy people.
We sat in closets, spent hours in the bathroom staring at our own reflections. We flicked the lights on and off, then watched ourselves turn into skeletons in the mirror. When I walked around it felt like I was an astronaut on the moon.
It was all very crazy and overwhelming. But in a way – my mind was more clear than it had ever been. I could see clearly for the first time in my life and what I saw as amazing.
Everything was connected. Everything was alive. Everything was the same thing. The Universe was one mass of energy and we were just small bits of bacteria inside of and endless field of colors, love and lights.
Things like war, religion, racism and money didn’t make sense and when someone unfortunately turned on the TV, it was easy to see that it was a propaganda machine used for mind control that disguised itself as sitcoms, commercials and evening news anchors.
It was like I had put on a special pair of glasses that allowed me to see straight through life’s bullshit and hold hands with God. No, not that God… the real god, that no organized religion can own.
In those hours I got an education that I think everyone on Earth would do well to get at least once. It was amazing and took me to another place… a place that I would return to many (many) times in the future.
A Great and Illegal Experience
After the trip ended, we sat back, guzzled water and talked about what had happened.
I don’t remember the exact conversation. But I do remember that we both agreed that the experience was a really good thing. We’d gained an insight into life, the Universe, God and reality. An insight that the teachers at school and the adults at church had no clue about.
From that day forward I felt a little bit better. I felt smarter and more insightful. There was nothing bad about it. No downsides. No hangovers. No regrets. It was a completely good experience inside and out.
Of course, what we were doing was completely illegal and if we’d been caught we would have been arrested, handcuffed and thrown into a cage.
To this day I’m not sure why LSD and magic mushrooms are illegal. Why should people who want to bypass expand their minds get put in cages?
The only reason I can come up with that makes any sense is that…
They’re trying to hide something.
Over the last few years I’ve watched as the health and science communities have tossed around the idea that hallucinogenic drugs might be helpful. Today, it seems everyone is willing to give it a second thought.
Stories have popped up of Silicon Valley tech geniuses micro-dosing LSD every day. I’ve heard people talk about how Ayahuasca has helped some heroin and alcohol addicts get clean. And more than anything, I’ve been seeing lots of talk on how LSD and mushrooms may help with depression.
Here is some info from just the last three years. You can see the progression from year to year and how hallucinogenics as medicine are being taken more seriously all the time.
Time.com in 2016:
A team led by Robin Carhart-Harris, a research fellow at the center for neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College of London, report on the encouraging results of a small group of people treated with psilocybin.
After one week, all reported improvement in their depression and two-thirds of the people were depression-free. By three months, about 58% showed improvement, five were in remission while five relapsed. “What these data show is that this is doable, and seems to be well tolerated,” says Carhard-Harris. “The efficacy of the treatment is impressive.”
This year it has been announced that the Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of the psychedelic ingredient in mushrooms for a drug trial to treat depression.
The BBC in 2017:
A hallucinogen found in magic mushrooms can “reset” the brains of people with untreatable depression, raising hopes of a future treatment, scans suggest.
The small study gave 19 patients a single dose of the psychedelic ingredient psilocybin.
Half of patients ceased to be depressed and experienced changes in their brain activity that lasted about five weeks.
However, the team at Imperial College London says people should not self-medicate.
There has been a series of small studies suggesting psilocybin could have a role in depression by acting as a “lubricant for the mind” that allows people to escape a cycle of depressive symptoms.
But the precise impact it might be having on brain activity was not known.
FOX Business 2018:
The federal agency gave the U.S. approval to London-based life sciences startup called Compass Pathways that launched in 2016 under the backing of billionaire Peter Thiel.
Regulatory approvals for the trial have already been given in the U.K., the Netherlands and Canada…
For years, many psychedelic scientists have been theorizing that hallucinating on so-called magic mushrooms could possibly reboot the brain and clear out negative thoughts that may contribute to depression.
Compass Pathways says psilocybin therapy, which combines a dose of psilocybin, a psychoactive medicine and the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms,” with psychological support has shown promising signals of efficacy and safety as a treatment for depression in academic studies in both the U.K. and U.S.
Ekaterina Malievskaia, chief medical officer and co-founder of the company, added that the study has been a collaborative effort with scientists, clinicians, patient representatives and regulators from all over the world.
The AA Connection
You may or may not know this. But Bill Wilson (who created the AA program) originally used LSD to aid his recovery and thought it could be a useful tool to help new members find and connect to a higher power. He raved about it and thought all new members should experience it.
The program didn’t like that idea much and have wiped all mention of LSD from it’s books, but I think ol’ Bill was on to something.
Getting a drunk to turn their lives over to a higher power is almost impossible. It’s one of the biggest hurdles in the program and has kept many people drunk. But I imagine if they gave each new member a controlled, safe LSD experience… they would accept the existence of a higher power right away.
“Bill W. was convinced that connecting with this higher power was essential to recovering from alcohol addiction, but he knew that not everyone could experience a vision like his own. After taking LSD under the guidance of British psychiatrist Humphrey Osmond, he felt he had found the solution he was looking for. He believed that LSD could help treat alcohol addiction by inducing the kind of profound insight and connection to a higher power he had experienced. ”
From the Guardian:
The co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) believed LSD could be used to cure alcoholics and credited the drug with helping his own recovery from often debilitating depression, according to new research.
About 20 years after setting up the Ohio-based sobriety movement in 1935, Bill Wilson came to believe that LSD could help “cynical alcoholics” achieve a “spiritual awakening” and start on the path to recovery.
LSD, by mimicking insanity, could help alcoholics achieve a central tenet of the Twelve Step programme proposed by AA, he believed. It was a matter of finding “a power greater than ourselves” that “could restore us to sanity”. He warned: “I don’t believe [LSD] has any miraculous property of transforming spiritually and emotionally sick people into healthy ones overnight. It can set up a shining goal on the positive side, after all it is only a temporary ego-reducer.”
But Wilson added: “The vision and insights given by LSD could create a large incentive – at least in a considerable number of people.”
“I am certain that the LSD experiment has helped me very much,” Wilson wrote in a 1957 letter to the science writer and philosopher Gerald Heard. “I find myself with a heightened colour perception and an appreciation of beauty almost destroyed by my years of depressions.”
So while LSD and magic mushrooms have long been talked about as possibly being a good thing. The powers that be have been completely against it. But now – it looks like mushrooms and psilocybin might finally get a fair shot.
And while I don’t trust that the FDA, the government or the multi-billion dollar corporations to tell us the truth about what they find. And God only knows what kind of legal and corporate swamps they’ll have to go through to dispense it. I do feel like it’s only matter of time before it’s legalized, regulated and dispensed, not unlike what is happening with cannabis right now.
Are There Downsides?
So far, I’ve only spoken about the wonderful effects these drugs had on me. But it would be a mistake for me to not include some information about the potential downsides that I experienced and how they might be dealt with.
Of course I’m not recommending you go out and try LSD or mushrooms. I’m just sharing my thoughts and experiences with the stuff because – that’s what I do here on the blog. I’m a story teller… not a doctor.
You hear people talk about “bad trips”. And as I got older, I started to have some. They weren’t the freak outs you’d imagine where someone jumps off of a building or anything.
It was just that the acid and mushroom trips started to get more intense. Instead of mindlessly floating around on a cloud of rainbows, playing the harp strings of the Universe, I would start to think about real life things very intensely.
Adult problems that I had in my life started drifting up and confronting me head on. How was I going to pay that bill? What was going to happen with that court case? Where was I going to end up in life?
When these kinds of “adult problems” drifted up, it caused anxiety and spoiled the fun. At one point I decided “that’s it, I can’t go through that again!” and I quit.
Then, years later I heard Joe Rogan talking about his experience with paranoia and cannabis and it completely changed my mind.
He was talking about the benefits of getting high with a guest who rarely smoked. The guest said he couldn’t smoke cannabis because it gave him anxiety and panic attacks about all the problems in his life.
Joe Rogan responded with something like (and I paraphrase):
When you get high and things start to pop into your head that cause you anxiety, let it happen. Watch what comes up and see what it’s all about. Then write those things down on a piece of paper and after you come down… work on clearing them from your life.
Cannabis isn’t giving you a panic attack… it’s giving you a to do list.
I thought that was genius and one of the healthiest things I’d ever heard in my life.
When you look at it that way… even the downsides are upsides. That panic isn’t fun at all. But if you take note of the things that make you panic, and then clear them all from your life one by one. You will end up a much happier and healthier person in the long run.
There have been anecdotal cases where LSD has possibly exacerbated schizophrenia in schizophrenic people. The stories of Syd Barrett and Brian Jones come to mind. They both are said to have been taking huge amounts of the drugs before losing their minds.
Still no one is sure if the drugs brought out the condition or if the condition brought in the drugs. And of course it’s an individual experience for everyone who tries it. Just like with any other thing you put in your body, it could definitely be possible that some people will not react well to LSD or mushrooms at all.
All that being said, the biggest downside is that they are currently illegal. If you’re caught with them they just might put in a cage for a very long time.
I had my first hallucinogenic experience when I was about 15 years old. Since then I’ve had dozens more experiences with hallucinogenic drugs. The experiences have all been good.
I’ve always thought that if everyone on earth took hallucinogenics at least once in their lives it would transform all humans into smarter, kinder and more gentle animals. And it seems we may be heading in a direction that could make that a possibility.
The medical, mental health and science communities are ready to give these drugs a more honest review. If their results are good enough, maybe these drugs will be made more available to the people who need some help breaking through.
Because there are millions of them.