Many people favor shrooms (and psychedelics in general) not only for their mind-bending trips and mental health benefits, but also for the added bonus that, instead of a comedown, you often get an afterglow — a state characterized by feelings of peace and psychological clarity.
Sadly, however, that doesn’t mean comedowns aren’t impossible, even if they’re uncommon. Whether they had the trip of their lives, an okay time or a categorically bad time, some people report feeling deflated and down the following day, while others say they simply feel nothing. But why does this happen for some and not others? And are there any shroom-specific comedown symptoms to watch out for?
“After taking magic mushrooms, especially in therapeutic contexts, some people report feeling positive for a sustained period afterwards,” confirms Adam Waugh of the festival welfare and harm reduction charity PsyCare UK. “However, sometimes magic mushrooms can cause overwhelming psychological experiences that take a considerable amount of time to process.” While Waugh is reluctant to label this a “comedown” in, as he calls it, “the normal sense of the word,” he says “it can be challenging for people to integrate their experience into their normal life.”
Rachel Clark of DanceSafe, a harm reduction non-profit, distinguishes more distinctly between the colloquial use of the word “comedown” and “coming down” from a drug, with the first being used “to describe a negative experience” around the process of “exiting a drug experience” (or “coming down”). She says “one defining characteristic” of this kind of comedown “is the gradual ebbing of visuals, increase in thought clarity, and sometimes a feeling of having one foot in and one foot out.” Still, Clark adds, while there are some comedown characteristics that can be generalized, “psychedelics are different for every person and experience.”
Nevertheless, some people can feel the effects of shrooms for a long time after they stop tripping. Waugh explains: “While many people report that ‘difficult trips’ are ultimately positive experiences, they can leave people feeling anxious and sad in the days and weeks after.”
This may be especially true for fledgling shrooms users. “My first comedown I was very anxious,” one person, who suffered a shroom comedown, previously wrote on Reddit. “But I think that’s due to me tripping my first time and then attempting to go to a restaurant with my friend. Just felt weird. The days following I felt anxious and just… off.”
Replying in the comments, another person said they felt “really low” the following day after their first trip. “Maybe because it had been a very euphoric experience, and what goes up must inevitably come down,” they said. “But after later trips, it was more manageable.” Still, they added, they’ve learned to make sure they “don’t have anything too important to attend to the day after a trip.”
Another redditor described their shroom comedowns as “boring” and the “most uncomfortable feeling ever.” They wrote: “I love the trip, and even the come up I tend to enjoy for the most part, but the comedown is awful. It’s not that it’s bad, the issue is [that] nothing seems interesting and music seems boring. I don’t get suicidal thoughts typically, I just feel discontent. Nothing is okay, and I can’t really change that, so there’s nothing left to do but wait.”
Many people recommend smoking weed to alleviate the boredom, anxiety or depression of a shroom comedown, but for others, creating (or adding to) a cocktail of drugs may not be the answer. One redditor wrote about the aftermath of their “amazing shrooms trip” — during which they “learned a lot” — explaining that they felt “really low.” They attributed this to the plethora of drugs they took prior to their trip, including an “herbal mood complex” and 5-HTP (a supplement that boosts serotonin levels), which they think may have made their serotonin “go through the roof” during the trip, hence the comedown.
This idea might have some standing — evidenced by a recent study that found that, when issued in a clinical setting, MDMA doesn’t induce a comedown. Researchers concluded that the existential crisis you feel after taking molly is mostly due to all the other shit you do to your body when you take it — for example, drinking copious amounts of alcohol or going to bed at 8 a.m.
Still, even if you take a small dose of shrooms, don’t drink alcohol and sleep well, you could still feel a comedown-like effect afterwards — and you can probably put it down to the intense experience you had while on the drug.
The best thing you can do, according to Clark, is just to “roll with it.”
“Doing shrooms puts you in a position of learning to adapt to your own needs, which may require being experimental (or saying no to things),” continues Clark. “Comedowns can be a meditative process where you’re watching yourself react to the experience and making small adjustments in response, regardless of the substance. Trying to change how you feel or run away from the discomfort of a weird comedown could actually deny you a really positive experience.”
Instead, she adds, you could try “putting some fun tunes on and cooking yourself some sort of easy healthy food (if you’re sober enough to not burn yourself, obviously), going for a two-hour walk, playing around with art supplies, whatever is the vibe at the moment.”
For those feeling particularly vulnerable after a trip, it may be helpful to seek out other people who have had similar experiences to talk through it. In many cases, though, like with a bad trip, the comedown too shall pass.