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On heroic doses Options
 
Hailstorm
#1 Posted : 6/30/2020 5:47:34 AM

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Months ago I came across a piece of advice that resonated with me. I hope you enjoy it too. I am copying it all here in case Reddit bans the subreddit one day.



"Hey everyone, hope you're doing well.

Over the years, I have seen many posts on this sub from new users who have tripped only a handful of times on light or moderate doses, and now they are planning on upping the dose and going on a big trip. For reference, these users have done something like 2.0g-3.5g of dried mushrooms or 100mcg-300mcg of LSD, and now they want to do 5g+ of mushrooms or 450mcg+ of LSD. These posts are usually asking whether their new doses are "okay." The replies to these posts are usually recommendations to be careful, to maybe take things slower, and to consider having a trip sitter.

There is nothing wrong with that advice, but I have been feeling for a while now that some important messages are being left out. I am writing this so that novice trippers might have a good resource to read so that they can make more informed decisions about their psychedelic use going forward.

For some quick background on me, I have tripped ~40 times on a variety of psychedelics, and my most common experiences by far are P. cubensis mushrooms, LSD, and 4-AcO-DMT. My experiences have ranged from sub-threshold microdosing to an 85mg 4-AcO-DMT trip that took me completely out of reality and inspired me to make this reddit account. More importantly, I'm an avid trip sitter, and I have seen many other people go through many different psychedelic experiences.

I have structured this in a Q&A format, but I recommend reading from top to bottom if you have the time.



Q. I have had a consistent experience with psychedelics up to this point, and I haven't had any bad trips. How will a higher dose affect me?

Once you've tripped a few times, it's easy to think that you have a strong handle on the psychedelic experience. You know what it's like, you know what to expect, and you know how your mind works throughout.

Those experiences, while completely legitimate, are not giving you a full picture of the psychedelic state of mind. Please note that everything I'm about to say is not to discourage you from tripping, but to encourage you to trip as safely and responsibly as possible.

Many people describe psychedelic use as traveling inward. You "go deeper," confront yourself, and become much more in tune with your inner truth. Those are very wonderful words, and they make it sound like you'd want to go as deep as possible. When people caution against high psychedelic usage, they use very spiritual language, saying that you might not be ready, that the deep primal sea inside your mind might show you things you're not ready to see. You might be told that you must be prepared to meet God, and you must be ready to meet in him in Hell if that's where you end up. When I hear these cautions, they make me feel like some sort of spiritual warrior about to embark on a great trial. They make me want to prove my valor and mental fortitude, and they make me excited to reap the rewards of doing so.

I want to offer a different metaphor. The stronger your trip, the more you lose your mind. As your trip intensity increases, your understanding of reality deteriorates. You will become progressively less able to function, communicate, and make rational decisions. You cannot control this. Reasonable thought will give way to complete confusion. You absolutely cannot guarantee that you will be "fine" when this happens.

To understand the implications of this, you need to let go of any preconceived notion you have that you will somehow be able to choose a healthy or productive state of mind while in the middle of a trip. Here are some examples:

* You may think, "No matter what happens, I can tell myself it will end eventually. I know that psychedelics are temporary." This will not help you when you get so high that you can't remember how you got so high. You may not remember what drug you took, or whether you took any drugs at all. You may remember that you took a drug, but you may strongly question whether that memory is real. You may consider the possibility that you're just tripping, but that you're also having a stroke just by pure coincidence, and that you're too messed up to tell the difference and you might need medical help immediately.

* You may think, "I know I just need to let go. I'm very good at stopping my thoughts and letting the experience wash over me." This will not help you when you have an intrusive thought that you might need to do something important or make a decision. You may perceive that your mind is teetering on the ridge of a dark abyss, and you must either make the decision to fall in or steer clear, but that there is no "letting go" and waiting to see what happens. You may catch a whiff of smoke and seriously wonder whether you need to get up and check whether your house is burning down, which demands a decision. You may be confronted with a question that you feel you absolutely must answer, but you cannot possibly imagine being able to come up with an answer because you're so far gone, and this will cause you anxiety.

These examples are just a few out of the infinite number of completely frightening and baffling scenarios your mind can conjure up. They may sound kind of funny when sober, but they are absolutely real when tripping and they demand your thoughts.



Q. Okay, so maybe it will be too much for me to handle. What are the actual risks?

On a strong dose, there is a real chance you could seriously injure yourself, or even someone else:

* If you have stairs in your home, you cannot realistically tell yourself you won't fall down them while tripping very hard.

* If you have any glass around, you could easily break it by accident or on purpose. This includes mirrors in your room or bathroom.

I once was trip sitting for someone who lost their grip on reality. I brought them some water and they swung their arm around and smacked me in the face. They weren't trying to be violent; they were just very confused. Later on they were very spooked by the incident because they said they were sure they were in a dream and I was just imaginary. They tried to swing their arm through me to test whether I was real, and then when they hit me my image distorted, thus "proving" that I was nothing but a dream to them. Now imagine if I were a pet, significant other, or some vulnerable loved one.

The physical dangers are nearly endless when you're not in your right mind. Matches, boiling water, slippery floors... everything has a higher chance of causing real harm. Even the presences of other drugs and psychedelics in your house are a danger because you can confusedly take too much of the wrong thing.

There is also a non-negligible chance you get arrested if you do the wrong thing while out of it. Some people strip when they get very high. Some people try to leave the house when they get very high. Some people try to do both at the same time. You cannot predict what you will do when you're very confused.

On top of those physical consequences, you could also come out of the trip with mental issues. Bad trip experiences can be traumatic.



Q. Are you saying no one should take strong doses of psychedelics?

No! I would be a huge hypocrite if I said that. Strong doses can lead to insight about yourself, and they can have a life-changing positive impact on your mental state and your life. Even bad trips can often lead to something valuable. It's just important to understand the risks so you can minimize them.



Q. How can I trip safely and responsibly when taking large doses?

First, you need a trip sitter. Any time you're taking a very high dose, or even a moderate dose that's higher than what you're already familiar with, you should have a trip sitter. A trip sitter will keep you safe, and a good sitter can really improve your experience by bringing you things you need and assuring you that you're safe. The mere presence of a responsible sitter can actually improve the chance of a good trip, because you have fewer worries when you know a trusted person is there to handle anything that comes up. Of course, you might become paranoid and distrustful of your sitter, but they can handle that too.

Unfortunately, many people choose to go without a sitter when tripping hard. They may not know anyone they trust, no one might be available, or all their friends might be tripping with them and no one is left to sit. Also, some people don't like to trip with sober people around because they feel a disconnect from them which is kind of a downer. I cannot deny that these reasons may make having a trip sitter inconvenient, but all I can do is reiterate that the absolute only good way to keep yourself safe during a strong trip is to have a sitter somewhere nearby.

That said, there are things you can do to keep yourself more safe, with or without a sitter. The first thing is to slowly ramp up your doses. You do kinda-sorta learn how to deal with losing your grip on reality, although nothing will actually prepare you for the strongest experiences. By increasing your intensity slowly over time, you reduce the chance you'll find yourself in entirely unfamiliar territory.

Also, I'm just going to be honest here: you may very well discover that you don't want to trip that hard after all. You may want to take 7g of shrooms, only to find that desire evaporate after an intense experience on 4.5g. If you really want to do a huge dose, then that desire will stay with you as you ramp up. Psychedelic culture glorifies the so-called "hero" doses, but don't give in to the seductive idea of being a true psychonaut by doing something hardcore—there is no actual glory in it. Again, these doses can be valuable, but if they are valuable to you, they will still be so after you take a little bit of time to ramp up.

Finally, prepare your environment. Clean up and don't leave out glass objects or anything sharp. Consider locking doors to stairwells so you don't use them. Keep food and water nearby so you don't try to cook. Keep your environment dark, calm, and comfortable so you don't get overstimulated or agitated and feel the need to escape.



Q. Other people are saying they took huge doses and had a great time. They say you can handle it if you prepare properly. Are you being overly alarmist?

Everything I've written here is purely based on my experience, both as a tripper and as a trip sitter. I do not deny the experiences of others, but my experiences prove the existence of the other side of the coin.

Psychedelics are a very personal experience. A fundamental quality of that experience is that it feels very pure and true. A person who has only had positive experiences will have trouble imagining they can have a bad trip until they finally do. A person who has never done something dangerous will believe they are too responsible for that until something bad actually happens.

Also, sometimes people lie. Some of the people saying they've handled high doses have never actually done them, or they've done them but didn't have the level of control they claimed to have. This certainly isn't everyone, but it's some of the people you hear from on the internet.

To be honest, the vast majority of psychedelic experiences are good. Nothing bad happens, no one gets hurt, and the trippers come away feeling like they had a profound experience. This is true of even very strong trips. However, there is still real risk that should not be ignored or downplayed. If this post helps even one person make a good decision and improve their psychedelic journey, then I'll be very happy."
 

Have doubts about your samples? Get trusted results by having your samples tested.
 
Grey Fox
#2 Posted : 6/30/2020 8:24:45 PM

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The term "heroic dose" can be somewhat misleading. It romanticizes the taking of large doses of psychedelics. But really you dont have to be a hero at all to eat a lot of mushrooms. Just like you dont have to be a hero to drink a whole bottle of vodka.

The thing that caught me off guard at first about going up into the higher doses is that there is a period during the trip, usually starting toward the end of the come up and continuing to the start of the peak, when I get very heavy and cold feeling. I have to lie down and can barely move. At real high doses I start to lose consciousness and go in and out of awareness, alternating between being present in this realm and being lost in visions. This is a very vulnerable time. If a person or animal had intentions to hurt someone at that point they would be almost completely helpless. Its very important to be in a safe setting. Cant stress that enough. With the high doses it is very important to be in a safe setting.
IT WAS ALL A DREAM
 
null24
#3 Posted : 7/3/2020 11:07:30 PM

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Grey Fox wrote:
The term "heroic dose" can be somewhat misleading. It romanticizes the taking of large doses of psychedelics. But really you dont have to be a hero at all to eat a lot of mushrooms. Just like you dont have to be a hero to drink a whole bottle of vodka.

The thing that caught me off guard at first about going up into the higher doses is that there is a period during the trip, usually starting toward the end of the come up and continuing to the start of the peak, when I get very heavy and cold feeling. I have to lie down and can barely move. At real high doses I start to lose consciousness and go in and out of awareness, alternating between being present in this realm and being lost in visions. This is a very vulnerable time. If a person or animal had intentions to hurt someone at that point they would be almost completely helpless. Its very important to be in a safe setting. Cant stress that enough. With the high doses it is very important to be in a safe setting.

Thanks for saying this. I have been frustrated with the use of this word for some time. I don't really see anything heroic at all about taking drugs, and even considering the kind if thing that people refer to with this term in relation to psychedelics; that is confronting and integrating one's darkness, is not heroic either but rather simply not cowardly.

I prefer to reserve the term heroic to refer to first responders, doctors, rescue workers, even rescue dogs and service animals. I've caught a lot of grief for taking this position publicly, being told that it extends from my ego and that i haven't "done enough work on myself", although even if that were the case, I don't know how it's relevant.

Maybe i just need five grams in total darkness, brah.Confused
Sine experientia nihil sufficienter sciri potest -Roger Bacon
*γνῶθι σεαυτόν*
decrimART
 
Eaglepath
#4 Posted : 7/4/2020 8:58:38 AM

I rather root my values in my own hallucinations than in society´s neurotic illusions..


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There is only sufficient dosage and insufficient dosages..Wink
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doubledog
#5 Posted : 7/4/2020 9:11:26 AM

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Maybe is worth to mention here, that term "heroic" was originally used in 19th century pharmacology or medicine in the meaning "very strong" or "extremely strong", "drastic" and was partially pejorative.

It was really in the same category as drinking bottle of vodka.

Actually, it has total opposite meaning than popular, if you need any heroic dose, there is something very wrong with you.
And this was also McKenna's point I would say: our society is very ill, so we need extreme strong remedy.

If anybody thinks that he is a hero when taking 5g of shrooms, you could start to laugh. Big grin

Btw, this is also very subjective, 5g of shrooms is not very high dose for me. On the other hand, 450mcg of acid is a dose I would never ingest.
 
dragonrider
#6 Posted : 7/4/2020 11:39:37 AM

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I think most of us will agree that the word "heroic" is very out of place here, and that it is even kind of decadent to use the adjective as a qualification for a persons intake of psycho-active drugs.

Almost like calling contenders in a sausage eating contest "athletes".

I think it is relevant, however, to admit that doses of hallucinogenic drugs that causes you to breakthrough into other realities, are always paired with a certain level of incapacitation. And that such an incapacitation is never completely risk-free.

For instance: people have drowned after smoking DMT near a river or a lake.

On the one hand i think people should not worry too much about the dangers of larger quantities of psychedelic drugs, because it can contribute to anxiety and have a negative impact on the journey.

But on the other hand it should never be neglected.

I personally believe that experience matters a lot, and that for this reason alone, it is always better to gradually work your way up.

People often complain that they cannot manage to breakthrough immediately with DMT. But it is actually not that bad to get to know the molecule a little first.
 
Grey Fox
#7 Posted : 7/4/2020 3:12:08 PM

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I believe that Terrence McKenna popularized the term "heroic dose". I think that he wanted to distinguish a more serious approach of inward exploration versus the more popular choice of taking lighter doses in "party" settings. But it always amuses me to think that Terrence was not that large of a person. My guess would be that he probably weighed around 140 lbs. So 5 dried grams for him would probably feel like a bigger dose than it would for a larger sized man.

What I am getting at is that the effects of any particular dose will vary based on many factors, such as a person's size, metabolism, and just how "hard headed" they are, not to mention set and setting. I think that many people have fallen into the trap of viewing Terence McKenna's high dose (heroic dose) of 5 dried grams as a high dose for all people at all times. In my estimation, 5 dried grams of cubensis is more of a "solid dose" than an "heroic dose". But it will vary for everyone.

Whats exciting about this is that everyone has to do their own exploration to find out what their "heroic dose" is. And whatever that dosage is, if you go higher it still gets stronger from there lol.

With cubensis I went up above 10 dried grams several times, probably half a dozen would be my best guess. I never went more than 17 grams. For someone like Kilindi that would just be the minimum starting point! But I ended up realizing that 7 or 8 grams was the ideal "strong dose" for me. But for everyone it will be different.

Understanding dosage and your own personal tolerances, its all part of the process of exploring these substances. Anyone who is serious about it can experiment and see what works best for them. Each person's tolerances will be different based on their biology and psychological makeup and experience, etc. Going high with the dose isn't something that makes you a hero. But, when done responsibly, it does make you an explorer of your own mind. Thats really what the high doses are about, in my opinion.
IT WAS ALL A DREAM
 
null24
#8 Posted : 7/4/2020 3:48:22 PM

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Quote:
I believe that Terrence McKenna popularized the term "heroic dose".
He was literally almost the only person talking about this stuff in the 90's and was by far the most popular at the time. He played a role that straddled lines of promoter, apologist, and entertainer while portraying himself as an educator for putting forth his subjective experience as objective observation. He had his place then and deserves his accolades, but his words shouls be taken with the large salting they also deserve.

His work is funny, entertaining anf thought provoking at times, but he is not the be-all-end-all of psychedelic knowledge. I think there are folks on this forum with a greater grasp of the ineffable and myseterious nature of the psychedelic experience and the meaning of it to the huuman situation than he was. Just my opinion.
Sine experientia nihil sufficienter sciri potest -Roger Bacon
*γνῶθι σεαυτόν*
decrimART
 
Grey Fox
#9 Posted : 7/4/2020 6:14:23 PM

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I have a lot of respect for Terrence and many of his ideas. When I read Food Of The Gods it was the first time that I learned about how ancient psychedelic usage is and how formative psychedelics have been to humanity. He introduced me to the concept of "placebo" sacraments (and placebo spirituality in general). I can listen to his lectures for hours without growing bored. I consider him to be a giant in this field, even with his flaws. And we are all flawed.

But on the matter of "heroic doses" I have to disagree with him somewhat. But it doesnt change the respect that I have for him or the value of some of his other insights. I wish he was still around today to speak to the current state of things with this "Psychedelic Renaissance". But many of his insights continue to resonate (at least with me) in current times. His perspective is a good counterpoint to the present day medicalization and commodification of psychedelics.
IT WAS ALL A DREAM
 
 
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