The beginning of the 21st century will be looked back on as a time where the world was hit with — among other things —magic mushroom mania. After years in the wilderness, in terms of both legal and medical status, things changed, and are changing, rapidly for psychedelics. You don’t have to scour the internet long to find a news story about psilocybin’s ability to treat scores of mental health conditions. You won’t need to do the endless scroll to stumble upon an influencer crowing about microdosing. It’s all very exciting — but what if you feel as though it’s passing you by?
What with all the (justified) good press psychedelics are getting right now, more people than ever are keen to try them. Whether microdosing or full-tripping, folks who may have never considered hallucinogens before have had their heads turned. But just because something is popular, it doesn’t mean everyone is an expert. Many people, despite their interest, are yet to take the plunge, for taking your first shroom trip can feel scary — even if it seems everyone is doing it.
Well never fear, because Wholecelium is here! Whether you’re a microdoser who wants more, or an absolute beginner — we’re right by your side to guide you through your maiden voyage — with our top tips for first trips!
Step 1: Dosage
Now, first things first: these are tips for beginners — so we will be recommending dosage appropriate for a first trip — no heroic doses here!
Additionally, to reassure the nervous, psilocybin mushrooms are ranked by the Global Drugs Survey as the safest illicit substance, safer even than cannabis — which is legal in many places. On top of this, shrooms are non-addictive, so the only reason you’ll crave doing them again is if you have fun — and it’s likely you will!
The first decision you must make is what form you want your shrooms to be in. This will affect your dosage amount. Additionally, the type of shroom will affect it too — here we will assume you will be using the most common of trippy shrooms — Psilocybe cubensis.
For dried shrooms we’d recommend 1-3g. Obviously with 1g being gentler, and 3g being a stronger dose for the first time — but still only considered ‘moderate.’
For fresh shrooms the rule of thumb is usually multiply by 10. So then we would recommend 10-30g of fresh shrooms.
For fresh magic truffles you would usually multiply by 5. This means between 5-15g of fresh magic truffles.
We would recommend you don’t just ‘eyeball’ your measurements. Weigh it out to be sure! (Luckily our fresh magic truffles come in pre-measured boxes, so you don’t have to!)
*Note — even if you take a lower dose, we DO NOT recommend combining any form of shrooms with other drugs for your first time.
Step 2: Set and Setting
This is a big one. This phrase (attributed to psychonaut master Timothy Leary) basically means your inner, and outer, environments. As these are both vital to your experience, let us break it down for you:
‘Set’ is short for ‘mindset’. The mental state you bring to your experience will greatly colour it. Your mood, thoughts, feelings, and prior expectations of your trip are likely to affect how it goes. This is why we advise that you prepare for your trip the day before by relaxing, meditating, getting a good night’s sleep, and just generally practising self care. It’s normal to be nervous! But it doesn’t have to overtake you. Much of a trip requires ‘just going with the flow’, so the more open and calm you can be, the smoother it can go. We also recommend noting down your goals or what you hope to gain from your experience beforehand, to help you centre yourself and focus. Make sure you have kept the whole day free, and have no other responsibilities.
Additionally, your physical health is also something to take into account — if you feel sick or unhealthy these sensations can be amplified when tripping. So pay some attention to that too — healthy body, healthy mind. If you aren’t feeling 100%, don’t force yourself — wait until it’s right for you.
‘Setting’ is all about the physical and social environment you choose to trip in. When tripping on magic mushrooms all feelings and emotions are heightened. This means that if you feel uncomfortable or are in an unfamiliar environment, your anxiety could be exaggerated. Due to this we recommend a place that you feel good in — a familiar place. This will provide a sense of control to your experience, which will help you relax.
Indoors: for a first trip we recommend being in a cosy space indoors. Especially now it’s winter. Whether it’s your home, or a close friend’s or relative’s, create a comforting cave. Blankets, cushions, candles or lamps (lava lamp?!), calm music, snacks and water make the experience as chill as possible. Wear clean, comfy clothes — this is an important moment but you don’t need to dress fancy!
Outdoors: many believe tripping outdoors to be the most profound. Shrooms encourage a deep connection with nature. If you feel this is for you, decide beforehand where you might go. Whether it’s your garden, a nearby park or forest — depending on where you live — the choice is yours. Wherever you choose to go, make sure you dress for the weather, and stay safe!
Step 3: Friends and Trip Sitters
Friends and trip-sitters we are gathered here today…
Of course, although it is possible to trip alone (read our comprehensive guide here), many people prefer to have company for their first time. Whether it’s someone experienced with psychedelics, or a friend who knows you the best (if that’s one and the same person then all the better!), having someone on hand to keep an eye on you and offer a kind word if you need it is a great help.
Alternatively, asking someone to be your actual ‘trip-sitter’ can be the perfect option for your first psychedelic voyage. A trip-sitter is like the designated driver for your trip. They will stay with you for the whole duration, either totally sober or on a much lower dose. Their involvement can vary from just being a reassuring presence, to guiding you through every stage of your trip. If they are going to guide you, make sure they are experienced in psychedelics, or at least have read our Trip Sitter Guide! An atmosphere of trust is essential.
Step 4: Know Your Timeline
Presumably you have set aside the entire day for your first magic mushroom experience. It is definitely recommended. Most people on their first trip will decide to take their shrooms earlier in the day, so the effects will have mainly worn off by bedtime. This also means they are unlikely to have eaten yet, as shrooms work best on an empty stomach The duration of a trip is usually between four to eight hours. On average it takes 30- 45 minutes to start feeling the effects, but depending on the method of ingestion, be it tea, edibles, lemon-teking, or just plain munching — it could be anything between 15 minutes and 2 hours.
Of course duration also depends on the dosage you took, as well as your body’s own mysterious chemistry. As we have recommended a moderate dose of between 1 to 3g of dried mushrooms as a guide you can probably assume it will be around the 6 hour mark. (For a more in-depth look at shroom timelines check this out!)
Remember also, that a psilocybin mushroom trip can ebb and flow in waves. You may think it over after 4 hours only to start feeling the magic again, bubbling up to say hello. Relax and go with it.
Step 5: The Onset (or Blast Off!)
As above, a trip can take anything from 15 minutes to 2 hours to take effect. It is best to be patient and NOT take more if you don’t feel anything as quick as you’d like to. That can lead to a much heavier dose than what you planned if it all kicks in at once.
You might feel some anxiety or nausea as things start happening. Don’t worry! This is normal. Breathe. The first things you notice will probably be visual. Patterns will stand out, things might begin to sparkle and merge. You might feel an uncontrollable smile spreading across your cheeks. You’re laughing but perhaps you’re not sure what you’re laughing at…
My friend, you have started your trip!
Step 6: The Trip
You can never totally predict how a trip is going to go. You might find yourself in another dimension — but hopefully, on a lower dose for your first time, you will be able to exercise a little bit of control — if you want to.
Now it’s up to you! Navigate your inner mind, watch fractal patterns on your eyelids, connect with your house plants, perhaps even confront your deepest desires and fears.
If you start to feel overwhelmed — breathe — remember you are in charge and you chose this trip. You could remind yourself of the intentions you wrote down in your notebook, or ask your trip-sitter for a kind word to ground you.
Remember, these experiences are fleeting, so just relax and do what you want.
Step 7: The ‘Comedown’
The wearing-off of shrooms is often referred to as the ‘comedown.’ This is misleading as people tend to associate it with the comedowns from nights of hard-partying and hard-substances. Guilt, headaches and nausea.
Not so with shrooms!
Many people note the pleasant sensations experienced as magic mushrooms wear off. Some liken it to slipping into a warm bath, others feel a sense of joy as they return to the familiar, enlightened and able to articulate. Chill out for the rest of the evening; eat some good food, stay hydrated and note down any thoughts or feelings your trip sparked.
Although the ‘trippy’ part of your experience may be over you will still be feeling the influence of psilocybin. Many describe this as an ‘afterglow’ — cosy huh? Ideally, if you can, it is good to keep the next day free as well, to digest all that you have experienced. If you’ve had any great revelations about changes you wish to make in your life, wait a day or two until the glow has subsided, and be sure it’s what you want. No hasty job resignations or declarations of love! Wait for the mushroom’s lessons to sink in, integrate, and think.
And there! You’ve had your first trip! That wasn’t too scary now was it? Proud of you!
We hope this guide has been both useful and reassuring. If you have any more queries or want to share your first trip experience, tell us all about it in the comments below!