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I've Taken over 500 Tabs of LSD
Here's My "Definitely Not a Guide" with some Pro Tips
I’ve taken over 500 tabs of LSD in the last 8 years. I don’t know, exactly, how much higher that number is, but it’s higher.
(A “tab” is usually just a very small piece of paper that has 100 micrograms (ug) saturated on it.)
65-75% of those have been taken within the confines of music festivals.
For me, music festivals are THE BEST place to take LSD and push my limits with dosing.
Terrence McKenna has said things like, “If you’re not concerned you might have taken too much, you haven’t taken enough”.
That’s been true for me, but I want to be clear: I would not advise that to a newbie unless there was an apt set and setting.
The first few times I took LSD were mostly just silly and surprisingly long. That silliness, for me, is an important part of the psychedelic experience.
I’m going to share stories from Earth Rhythms Music Festival 2017, Shangri-La 2019, and Lions Gate 2020 to illustrate what I like about LSD, why I think more people should do psychedelics for fun and not just healing, and what I have learned about how LSD works with our ego.
At the end, I also share a guide to How I Would Plan My Next LSD Trip.
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Lesson 1: Bring a Watch…and Some Toys
One of my most memorable LSD trips came at Earth Rhythms Music Festival in 2017, held at Pure Bliss Ranch in Northwest Minnesota. Day 2.
My friend and I were fairly seasoned LSD users by this point. A mantra of mine at music festivals, if you have never been with me, is to “take more LSD”. I’ve never regretted a single dose.
At one point, we looked at each other. “You feeling anything yet?” “When did we take those? Do you remember? What time is it anyway?”
We were getting impatient and so we doubled down. We started with 2.5 tabs, roughly 250ug, and then doubled that, to 5 and 500ug.
About 5 minutes later, the first round hit us, hard. After another 5 minutes, a HUGE storm rolled in, fast. They had to shut down ALL music and programming and we had to retreat to our tent for an indeterminate amount of time.
This was….not ideal.
You see, LSD is a very active psychedelic. I want to move my body and I NEED external stimulation. My brain is making so many connections and synapses are firing so fast that I need something to focus on to give it some form, otherwise the trip can get weird, fast.
Having to retreat to a cramped tent and a potentially dangerous storm could be a recipe for disaster.
This is why you bring your toys. We settled in, got into some dry clothes, and I turned on music. For festivals, you always want to have some music that you don’t need the internet to access. Often they’re held in fairly remote locations where you can’t count on coverage.
You also want to bring the fun stuff. For me, that means lights, an etch a sketch, markers - things to do with your hands, mouth, and eyes.
My co-pilot in this experience brought his colored laser pointers and crystals, and I had my vape.
We didn’t just get by. We had the time of our life shooting colored lasers and lights through huge puffs of vapor, bopping to music, and who knows what else. We had to stay there for hours, and we had so much fun doing it.
It helped that he was my best friend at the time. I don’t know if I’ve ever had so much fun in my life, honestly.
When the storm ended, we emerged and checked on our neighbors. Their experience of the storm was different than ours. Should’ve brought more toys…
Lesson 2: Have Fun With it
Nowadays, it seems like everyone is obsessed with healing.
When people talk about the potential of psychedelics, it’s always about how they can help cure depression and ease the angst of impending death.
And that’s real.
I still think it’s a massively missed opportunity to only use them within this frame. Some of my most important growth and life changes came from using them “recreationally”.
Everyone is all, “It doesn’t matter what your peak experience is, if you can’t integrate it who cares?”
I fucking do.
Many of the most impactful doses of LSD I have ever had came within the context of a festival or party. Sure, LSD therapy probably holds TONS of potential, but that hasn’t been my way.
Why are we so quick to downplay the importance of having fun with them? Folks who are veterans in the psychedelic community shit on places like Burning Man or Electric Forest for “hedonistic nihilism”, and yes, I get that there are problems within festival culture.
But come on man.
Enjoying being with people, seeing live music, dancing, and expressing ourselves within a safe container like music festivals should not be downplayed.
I needed it. I know that I would not be where I am today if the early stages of my healing journey weren’t…mostly fun.
I loved taking a little bit too much LSD in a safe container and “seeing what happened”. Do I think it’s good to then stack alcohol, cocaine, and ketamine on top of that? No.
For what it’s worth, I’ve never tried Ketamine and I don’t really want to.
Cocaine? Mostly bad IMO. Neurochemically, it’s too much. Have I done it? Sure. Let’s talk about the last time I did.
Lesson 3: Some Drugs Suck, Don’t Do Those Ones
Look no further than the night before the trip I described above. Night one of Earth Rhythms 2017.
I had a little bit of cocaine left from…something, not even sure when honestly.
(Lesson 3.5: Bring all your goodies to the festival)
So, after a standard half tab of LSD on day 1 of the festival, I took a few bumps of cocaine to carry me into the late-night music.
The night was fine. The main problem with Cocaine is that it hits hard and fast, and leaves you wanting more. If you can stop at just 1, it’s actually kinda nice.
Very few people stop there. Basically nobody. You would be unwise to think you are the exception to this. Even the mention or presence of cocaine seems to change some people into junkies who can’t think about anything but the next snort.
The next day, I was an absolute wreck. I’ve rarely felt such despair in my entire life. I’m not exaggerating. I was moving through a rough patch with my partner at the time. After night 1, it felt like my world was ending.
I felt like a piece of literal garbage. I couldn’t shake this dark cloud ALL DAY. I told my Festi friend that I was ready to go home. I don’t want to party. Thankfully, we had others with us though too, and I wasn’t actually ready to leave, I was just very, very sad.
At one point, he must have remembered the cocaine the night before.
“Hey man, is it possible that you’re feeling so shitty because your brain chemicals are out of whack from last night and the coke you did?”
A light bulb went off.
“You might just need some 5HTP (a serotonin precursor) to help you recover a bit and try some yoga.”
And that, plus a clearing conversation in the parking lot with my partner was all I needed to bounce back.
It cleared the way for the night I mentioned above.
I’ll never forget that dark feeling though. For real, I think basically everyone would be wise to avoid cocaine forever.
Lesson 4: LSD Expands Your Sense of Self
It’s interesting too, because I have had feelings like the world was about to end on psychedelics before, with high-dose LSD.
The way LSD interacts with our Ego is unique. It expands the sense of self to the people around us, and the world in total. My sense is that this is one reason why so many psychonauts have joked about “dosing the water supply”.
Because when our sense of self expands, often our empathy for the world around us expands too. There is enormous potential here because It’s hard to deny that the world would be a better place if we began to identify with the world.
(The inverse tends to happen if the person has narcissistic personality traits. They actually become more effective and psychopathic narcissists.)
This can be an interesting experience, though. LSD has the potential to diminish the presence of the Ego, to the point of “ego death”.
When our sense of self is expanded to the whole world, and then that sense of self “dies”, the experience and belief for me have been that the world is about to end.
What was interesting about the experience for me was that when I accepted my fate, I broke through to a new plane.
One was incredibly disorienting, the other was very organizing.
Lesson 5: Have a Safety Net, Even if Going Solo
Let’s start with the disorienting one. I was at Shangri-La Music Festival.
Saturday night. The LSD was hitting exquisitely. We are at main stage at Harmony Park. The Movement, a reggae band, was just starting and my friend from the earlier story had the brilliant idea to roll up a fat blunt (cannabis rolled into a cigar paper). After his partner bowed out quickly and no one else around was all that interested in finishing the blunt with us, we looked at each other.
I knew that look. It was the same look he gave me when we realized what we had gotten ourselves into at Earth Rhythms. If I was going to go there with anyone, it was him.
We smoked that blunt for what felt like forever. I was on about 10 hits or 1000ug of LSD at this point (Saturday Night at the Festival!).
The reggae was a good time :) We danced and grooved and were honestly blown away. This still goes down as one of my all-time favorite live music experiences. I finally understood why Weed and Reggae…just kind of make sense together.
It was after that that things got interesting.
The next act took the side stage and, all of a sudden, I was filled with a combination of anxiety and dread. I remember thinking, this is it. Everything began to feel like a movie. Fake. Scripted. Performative. I looked around and it felt like everyone was in on it, or totally oblivious.
It was like an end-of-the-world ceremony or ritual was happening. Like the music was somehow calling it in.
It was a familiar feeling. Impending doom. And I fought it. I resisted. And something inside me…just snapped. My brain broke.
I looked over at my partner (now my wife) and said, “We have to go”. After this things got…hazy.
I remember stumbling through the trees along the path, and I was trying to make sense of what was happening around me. Random words would just kind of emerge.
Trees. Sound Healing. Andrea. Shangri La. The Movement. (My wife and I joke about this now)
I couldn’t make sense of the world or human existence, and my mind was grasping for meaning.
When we got back to our tent I remember being really confused. I changed my clothes several times. I didn’t know what to do. I was hot, I was cold. I wanted to go, I wanted to stay.
Eventually, I settled myself, but it took me about an hour.
As confusing and disorienting as this was, I don’t regret it, and I learned something.
I learned I could count on my partner to pick me up when I was a puddle. To carry me through the darkness.
Lesson 6: Psychedelics and Sound Healing Work Well Together
The other time I had this experience was in August 2020, 8/8 to be exact, Lion’s Gate. There is an abundance of details here that I want to share someday, but I want to keep this focused.
I was towards the end of a really beautiful solo LSD trip where I biked around Minneapolis. I stopped at my friend’s place, and we smoked some weed before going to a Gong Bath for Lion’s Gate. They were driving, all I had to do was sit back and relax.
It was supposed to be outdoors (pandemic) but it rained, so they had to move it indoors, which wasn’t exactly allowed at the time.
One of my friends wasn’t super comfortable with this, and given my state, anxiety crept in.
But I trucked ahead. As I entered the building, we were funneled down the stairs into a long, narrow hallway. As I approached, I had the same feeling: “This is where it ends”. I was gripped with fear.
“Do I need to wear a mask? It looks like some folks are. I don’t have one. What do I do?”
And then I saw a dear friend of mine, maskless, big smiling face inviting me in, and I felt calm.
I remember thinking, “If this is it, I can accept that. This is where I’m supposed to be.”
And I sat, back against the wall, for the entirety of the Gong Bath. I remember thinking several times that I might die, and I sat with my mantra - a collection of Sanskrit seed mantras (Bija mantras).
I mentally repeated it over and over and over again. I had probably repeated this mantra 50,000 times already that year, which helped calm me.
And I allowed myself to die, to change, and to be reborn. I trusted in the dying process.
I could feel my DNA restructuring during the gong bath. I thought I was floating at one point (spoiler: I wasn’t). I experienced a tapestry of colors and geometry akin to a DMT trip.
Every time I felt the fear creep back in, I remembered my mantra, and I surrendered more deeply to death.
The next weekend, I bought a gong 🙂
Lesson 7: Tripping on LSD is a Skill You Can Develop
LSD is potent. A little tiny tab is all you need to completely reframe your reality. It expands your sense of self. The trip can be a very physical experience. It can be visual, it can be emotional. It can be dark, it can be joyous. It can be scary.
It’s different than mushrooms. Very different. It’s also shockingly inexpensive, compared to the money we spend on alcohol.
And, I see it overlooked quite a bit in modern psychedelic conversations. I get it. It’s still illegal and sourcing it can be tricky. Testing is a good idea, although I’ve personally never tested a drug before.
It offers something unique that no other psychedelics offer. The only other one that comes close is Mescaline. I actually think this experience is similar to LSD, although not the same.
People new to psychedelics seem to have a preference for fungi or plant alternatives like Mushrooms or Ayahuasca.
Still, working with LSD is a skill worth developing if you have personal development, healing, spiritual, or peak performance aspirations.
Definitely Not A Guide for Tripping on LSD
Let’s be clear. I am not making a recommendation to use LSD here. If I were to plan a trip this Saturday, though, and I wasn’t going to a music festival, I would plan something like this.
Prep: Clear your Saturday. Eat a big, clean, solid breakfast. You probably won’t want to eat much for a few hours. Be well rested, and don’t drink alcohol within a few days.
Dose: Such a tricky question. Macro doses start at 1 tab which is typically, but not always, 100 micrograms (ug). Always ask your source if they know how much is on each tab. If it’s more, you’ll usually have to pay more for it. If it’s me, I’m taking 2.5 or 250ug. I’m not your average bear, though.
The Comeup: Coming up on LSD can be a lot. I have to be moving for this part. My three favorite ways for integrating the comeup are Yoga Asana, Dancing, and Bike Rides. I prefer open to enclosed spaces, generally, but I can come up indoors just fine if it is my home. Other people can be a lot, throughout the trip. Be mindful of who you plan to be around. Give yourself at least an hour here in the come-up.
Pro-come-up tip: Wait to integrate other substances until the tail end of the trip, after you’ve peaked. If you use other substances early, you’ll peak early, and you will have to keep using those substances throughout your trip. LSD can be nice to stack with some other substances, but my recommendation is to do so later in the trip.
Pro Tip Caveat: Taking MDMA with LSD at the same time can help soften the come-up of LSD and help you start the experience from a place of serenity and peace. Because MDMA deactivates the amygdala, the fear center of the brain, sometimes this is an easier way for folks with anxiety. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t had a good time with this combination.
Caveat #2: What if it never hits or it doesn’t hit hard? This happens sometimes. LSD is mysterious. Sometimes, the trip just never gets going like you want it to. Depending upon your time container, you could double your dosage or use cannabis to accentuate the trip.
The Trip: Hours 3-7 are the peak tripping hours. Many people prefer to be outdoors. Meditation, movement, and being in nature are great here. Laying in the grass, sitting on a hillside, climbing a tree, all great. Being creative is essential for some. Coloring or painting is great.
There’s typically a strange blend of disorientation and coordination that’s hard to make sense of. Playing music, singing, dancing. Get lost in whatever you’re doing. I really love biking on LSD. Physical activity feels really good and there is a deep connection to the body that is possible if you come up skillfully (see above).
Side quest for the adventurous: Terrence McKenna often said that his favorite time to smoke DMT was during the peak of an LSD trip. I’ve never done it, but that’s probably because it has been a while since I really tripped on LSD. I do not recommend this for novice psychonauts.
The Comedown: You’ll probably start unwinding after 6-8 hours. If I was planning a full festival day, I would double my initial dosage around the 4-5 hour mark. Just remember that you will want to sleep later on. If you’re running out of energy and you want to keep going, MDMA or THC would be my recommendation. They wear off more quickly but can keep you going. Some people like to do the all-night thing, but that’s never really been me.
If you’re at home or in a more intimate setting, this is the perfect time to focus your mind. Art, fun lights, a game, a walk. Meditation can be great here. Just sit and inquire into your being. What is life calling me towards? I’ve had powerful insights and clarity emerge out of meditating towards the tail end of LSD trips. My experience is that I’m able to sit in a meditative seat for longer too.
Settling in: Make sure you have eaten. Seriously. Something every 4-6 hours. You might not want to, but you should. Around the 10-hour mark, support yourself with some relaxation. TV is often weird, but some types of TV or movies can be useful.
Planet Earth, inspiring shows, or things about spirituality make great places to put our attention. Build a fire. Keep your hands busy. By the time you lay down, you want to be practically asleep already. Laying down and recognizing that your mind is way too active can be a bummer.
Final Pro tip: LSD likes novelty. If you’re taking LSD and just going about your business, don’t be shocked if you don’t trip that hard. Don’t try to replicate a previous trip. LSD wants to align with the emergent life force of creativity, and the more you can do that, the more it will show you what you want it to.
Big announcement coming Thursday. Please keep an eye out for it. Thanks for reading!