There are a number of things to think about before you take a mushroom-induced trip. How should you take them? Who should you take them with? Where will you go? What if you have a big life realization? Then, inevitably, what happens if you hate it and want it to end?
This was the conundrum put to Reddit last month, when a user — mid-trip — turned to the platform for help. “How can I cancel a mushroom high?” they asked. “I just want it to be done now. Not having a good time at all.” Unfortunately, the most common response was probably not what they wanted to hear: You can’t. “Accept the trip and stop fighting back,” another redditor replied. “It’s gonna be over soon.”
Many people, however, disagreed, suggesting that there’s certain “trip-killer medications” that can bring you back to Earth. Those mentioned include alcohol, cigarettes, zopiclone (a sleeping pill), diazepam (anxiety medication), mirtazapine (an antidepressant) and quetiapine (an antipsychotic). Others blanketly recommended any type of benzo. However, aside from the fact that you might not have these particular drugs on hand, their use as “trip-killers” are anecdotal, and they’re likely to affect each person differently.
Other than that, there aren’t a lot of reliable quick fixes to end a trip. “The best way to reach the other side is to go through the experience,” says Chelsea Rose Pires, the harm-reduction manager and clinical support officer at the psychedelic harm-reduction and education platform Zendo Project. “This can include all the uncomfortable or difficult sensations or feelings that may arise.” This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, though. Pires says a bad trip has the potential to “offer meaningful insight and understanding about our lives,” and adds that “our biggest growth comes through challenging times.”
However, she also says there are a handful of tangible things that you can do to ground and calm yourself during moments of panic. These include staying hydrated, having snacks on hand, tripping with a good, supportive friend who can help if things go haywire or switching up your scenery by changing the music, going for a walk, taking a shower or having a cry. If the weather’s nice and you’re outdoorsy, being outside can be particularly helpful — mushrooms often enhance people’s connection to the natural world, and nature can be comforting in times of distress.
For nervous first-time trippers, there are also steps you can take ahead of your trip to lean yourself in the direction of a good time. Read up about the type and dose of shrooms you’re taking — Pires recommends DanceSafe and DrugsData.org as two valuable resources. Then, during preparation, consider the set and setting — the former being your “internal state at the time when you ingest” and your intention for the trip, while the latter is the physical space you’re in and the people you’re with. “Planning ahead for these sort of important details can make all the difference in how you experience your trip,” says Pires.
As with many anxious feelings, often it’s all about your mindset. When someone on Reddit said a chamomile tea “saved” them when they were “peaking hard and full of anxiety,” another person wisely replied: “Chamomile tea didn’t do much of anything to help you — what helped you was believing that you had just consumed something that would help you.”
My favorite piece of Reddit advice, though, comes from HornySusamongsus, whose kind reminder about shrooms should narrate everybody’s trips: “Remember, friend, they are not your enemy, they are your friend.”