Category: Drugs

Bad Trips: Inherently good?

From the article “What Can We Learn From Bad Trips? published in EntheoNation.

“In a society that so prizes pleasure over pain, we are conditioned to regard difficult experiences as “bad” and avoid them at all costs. This encourages an energy-sucking struggle to shut out challenging material, such as traumatic memories and painful emotions. As we confront the shadow, we redirect this energy, opening the doorway to cognitive potential – a process Jung likened to alchemical transmutation, from “base metal” to “gold.” When we integrate shadow content instead of fleeing, we take crucial steps toward manifesting the Self, our true nature, in the here and now.

Though we often flee the shadow, we see the necessity of its confrontation reflected in countless stories. Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter must face and integrate their internal connections to Vader and Voldemort in order to manifest their heroic nature. Frodo Baggins must endure the sadistic call of Sauron to destroy the Ring of Power. Dante must descend through nine rings of Inferno, for only in descending the underworld can he ascend into Paradiso.”

Link to full article.

Needed: Public pot consumption spaces

In the early 2000s I Busabout-ed across Europe and spent brief but quality time in Amsterdam. This was in the days when magic mushrooms were sold in Dutch head shops but I was more interested in the pot cafes. They provided a public chance to meet strangers who also enjoyed exploring their head, philosophizing, laughing, discovering patterns, chilling. I’d walk in, there was often a cigar box of pre-rolls to choose from, I’d sit near other customers and enjoy the atmosphere and companionship. There was no need to pass the joint because everyone had their own. This was long before vaping displaced joints as the indoor pot vehicle of choice. There was something raw, hippyish and charming about the slow-motion speed of the cafes. After laughing and perhaps having my mind blown by whatever conversation I was privy to, I’d walk to a museum, perhaps to experience Van Gogh’s Starry Night in stoned 3d glowing liquidish form. On mushrooms I imagine Starry Night it was even more magical, but on weed it was still glorious.

Years later I moved to the Northwest, US and was infatuated with Vancouver, Canada. There was/is an aptly named cafe called the New Amsterdam, the “world famous smoke friendly cafe”. You couldn’t buy pot there, but people brought joints and bongs and sat at community tables. It was an ideal additional activity item for an evening out, somewhere between dinner, bar, club or whatever. I admit I felt like a tourist and a moocher (I didn’t have easy access to pot), but I still was captivated.

As medical pot took shape in Seattle I was privy to private vaping lounges. They had dabs for $5, volcano vapes for personal use, and a dispensary attached. At these, I found excellent music, but because they weren’t for the general public, it didn’t feel to me like as natural of a public experience. Perhaps I came at the wrong times, or perhaps they were just figuring things out.

However, as recreational marijuana was voted legal, the lounges were forced to shut down which was a shame. I want to hobnob with stoners in public but we are resigned to consuming our weed in private, away from other folks. Lounges are beginning to pop up, but not where I live.

In California, try:

In Vegas, check out:

Profit: The medicalization of psychedelics

Will psychedelics be reduced to an elite product that enhances status and feeds egos, as yoga and meditation have been found to do in some Western contexts?

Geoff Bathje

If you read this blog regularly, you’ve probably ascertained that we at TripOut believe the statement “capitalism is problematic” is objective truth. This article from attempts to synthesize the arguments against the profitization motives in the medicalization of MDMA and Psilocybin.

Image: Christ Driving the Money-changers from the Temple” by Theodoor Rombouts. Credit:

Illustrate: How drugs feel

Bay-area Artist Pixel-Pusha went on a variety-drug binge, trying 19 different intoxicants in 19 days. He drew an illustration while under each influence, attempting to capture the essence of each. His drugs ranged from nitrous to GHB , and he added a 20th-day influence of “love”, which also happens to be intoxicating. You can learn about Pixel-Pusha and purchase posters of his 20-day binge here.

For the People: Mail order psilocybin microdoses

Medicinal marijuana was a stepping stone towards legalization. Next step — at least according to drug activist Dana Larsen — medicinal microdoses of psilocybin.

In 2008, Larsen opened a medical marijuana dispensary in Vancouver as an act of civil disobedience. While he was arrested (with charges eventually dropped), his dispensary proved a model for many others. He gave thousands of tours and encouraged people to start their own. Now that pot is legal, Larsen is on to his next project, the Medicinal Mushroom Dispensary. This is a mail order business and serves all of Canada (but only Canadians), with a Vancouver storefront in the works. You do need a doctor’s recommendation to become a member. The microdoses of encapsulated psilocybin are available in a few different strengths, with a suggestion of dosing twice per week.

The MMD website lists ailments that qualify for treatment (editor’s note: most people would qualify):
Anxiety Disorder
Substance Addiction/Withdrawal
Cluster Headaches
Sleep Disorders
Multiple Sclerosis
Pain – Chronic
Severe or terminal illness

Although MMD only serves Canadians, will Oakland and Denver — both of whom recently decriminalized medicinal mushrooms — offer something along this model in the future?

Guided: Michael Pollan shrooming

UCal Professor and food journalist Michael Pollan writes in the New York Times about his first mushroom trip experience, with an underground professional guide:

I WOULD HAVE preferred to have my own guided psilocybin session aboveground in the reassuring confines of a medical institution, but the teams at Hopkins and N.Y.U. weren’t currently working with so-called healthy normals (do I flatter myself?) — and I could lay claim to none of the serious mental problems they were studying. I wasn’t trying to fix anything big — not that there wasn’t room for improvement. Like many people in late middle age, I had developed a set of fairly dependable mental algorithms for navigating whatever life threw at me, and while these are undeniably useful tools for coping with everyday life and getting things done, they leave little space for surprise or wonder or change. After interviewing several dozen people who had undergone psychedelic therapy, I envied the radical new perspectives they had achieved. I also wasn’t sure I’d ever had a spiritual experience, and time was growing short. The idea of “shaking the snow globe” of my mental life, as one psychedelic researcher put it, had come to seem appealing.

Michael Pollan

Endings: Stop your trip

Check out the PsychedSubstance YouTube channel. It offers opinionated and educational advice on a variety of psychedelic-related topics. Below is one on “trip killers”, exploring methods to end what the narrator describes as a “stuck in a nightmare trip” vibe.

When should you take a trip killer? Preferably never. A bad trip can unlock a door and show us secretive aspects of our personality or psyche or things that we need to heal in our life. It shows us things we need to work on…

Psychedsubstance youtube channel

A few other trip killing reasons not mentioned in this video for those who aren’t all in on the psychonaut gung-ho ethos: (1) you just need to go to bed because you now have responsibility tomorrow; or (2) your trip just has lonely sharp edges.

Word: MDMA street slang

Street slang for drugs is valuable for confusing authority figures. It also offers cultures an amusing space for creativity about the appearance, effects, associated letters, pill imprints and sometimes even ironic associated figures, celebrities and ideas.

In my world, I’ve heard MDMA/Ecstasy called Rolls, E, X, the Love Drug and Molly.

According to the Internet, here are more: Blue Lego, Beans, Lover’s Speed, Booty Juice, Clarity, Moon Rocks, Dancing Shoes, Disco Biscuit, Go, Happy Feet, Bath Salts, Skittles, Buddhas, 007’s, Vitamin X, Malcolm X, Vowels, Yin Yangs, Armanis, Fergie (she talked a openly about her use of MDMA), Eminem (reportedly takes MDMA before going on stage to “loosen up”, Sting (practitioner of “extreme, yoga, tantric sex and ecstacy”).

Legalize: All drugs?

A couple thoughts: (1) video games from Pac Man and Mario on have had druglike bonus items, and you can’t really win the game without them; (2) privileged people can do all the drugs they want and it rarely comes back to bite them legally.

Playboy magazine explores some arguments for total legalization, spending drug war monies on on treatment (when necessary), as opposed to war.

Activists often turn to Portugal as a model for a more pragmatic and humane approach. Facing a breaking point with their heroin crisis, Portuguese lawmakers started looking into new strategies in 1999. They implemented a policy in 2001 that decriminalized drug use and funded a system of social workers, clinics, and treatment centers. Following decriminalization, Portugal saw a decrease in HIV infections, addiction, overdoses, and drug-related prison sentences. From 1999 to 2015, the amount spent per capita on “drug misuse” went down by 18 percent. Meanwhile, there was a 60 percent increase in addicts seeking treatment. In an article for The Guardian, Susana Ferreira attributes Portugal’s drug laws to a “major cultural shift” and argues that these policies were “merely a reflection of transformations that were already happening in clinics, in pharmacies and around kitchen tables across the country.” 

Daniel Spielberger

Historical: First psychedelic

A British member of Parliament filmed taking mescaline in 1955.

Enjoy this Vice interview with author Mike Jay, whose book Mescaline: A Global History of the First Psychedelic was recently released:

Mescaline is an alkaloid that occurs in nature in two families of cacti: the San Pedro in the Andes and the peyote in Mexico, and a bit of what’s now Texas. It’s a phenethylamine, biosynthesised by the cacti from the amino acid phenylalanine, which is also present in foods such as eggs, milk and soybeans, in breast milk and in trace amounts in the human brain.

This makes it different from other psychedelics such as LSD, psilocybin and DMT, which are tryptamines, derived from a different amino acid, tryptophan. Other mind-altering phenethylamines include amphetamine and MDMA. Mescaline has some effects that are similar to these, though it’s also intensely visual and trippy. Compared to other psychedelics it’s more physical, with an intense body load [a tactile sensation] that can be experienced as euphoria, or nausea, or both. It’s slower to cross the blood-brain barrier, so onset time is longer – up to two hours – and it also lasts longer, around 12 hours.

Mike jay