As almost anyone with a few magic mushroom experiences under their belt will agree, the uncontrollable urge to yawn is likely to get you at some point during your trip. Although it is not a huge part of the trip itself, it is definitely notable when it occurs. For some first-timers this side effect is rather a surprise, because there seems to be no rhyme nor reason to it. They’re not bored or tired — in fact, they may be rather excited or even anxious — but still, they can’t stop yawning!
What Does the Science Say?
Currently, there is no concrete scientific explanation for the yawn-adelic phenomenon. However, with the growing amount of psychedelic research ongoing it is likely the reason may be uncovered in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, there are numerous theories as to why this happens, as well as remedies based on word-of-mouth experience.
Yawning During a Shroom Trip: Should I Worry?
As we’ve discussed, frequent yawning during a magic mushroom trip is pretty common. Therefore, you shouldn’t worry about it if the urge to yawn takes you! Yawning tends to be most persistent during the come-up phase of your trip. This is when your digestive system is working hard to convert the psilocybin you have ingested into psilocin — the compounds that cause the psychedelic effects.
Why Do Shrooms Make Us Yawn?
Psilocybin and psilocin are known to interact with the serotonin receptors in the brain, and have a preference for the 5-HT2A subtype receptors. In studies on rats, psilocybin has been found to have a strong interaction with the receptors in the regions of the brain that integrate sensory experience. This is a possible explanation for the altered sensory perceptions, such as synesthesia, which can occur during a shroom trip.
The higher the dose you have taken, the longer your body may take to carry out this conversion, extending the come-up and any side effects. Once your body has completed the psilocybin-psilocin conversion however, your trip will begin, and your yawning should stop.
Although getting the yawns can be irritating, you can look at it as a reassurance that the mushrooms you have taken work, and are potent too! If anything the yawning could be a warning to get yourself ready for a pretty magical psychedelic journey.
Why Do We Yawn?
People yawn for all different kinds of reasons, which makes it hard to definitively diagnose the cause. You may yawn because you’re sleepy. Maybe because you’re bored. Perhaps because you’re feeling stressed or nauseous. It could be down to medication. Or because the person next to you just yawned!
Yawning has been extensively studied, but there is still not a scientific consensus on the underlying causes. However there are multiple hypotheses as to why we do it. Let’s check them out!
The respiratory hypothesis suggests yawning is a method for the body to oxygenate itself. If the CO2 levels in the blood rise, a big ol’ yawn can intake a large amount of oxygen while expelling CO2, restoring normal levels. However, though it sounds like a pretty straightforward explanation, this hypothesis was actually proven false in 1987. A study by Robert Provine revealed that humans actually don’t yawn more when exposed to higher levels of CO2, or during physical exertion.
Some people hypothesize that as our breathing rate tends to slightly drop during a trip, yawning is a way to get oxygen back into the blood. One big breath for homeostasis!
The Communication Hypothesis
Some research suggests that yawning is a way for us to increase our ‘critical consciousness’. Critical consciousness is the awareness of our environment, which can be dulled by repetitive or boring stimuli. This could explain why yawning is contagious — it could be an evolutionary technique to raise the consciousness of those around you — making survival of the ‘group’ possible.
The Brain Cooling Hypothesis
Ever found yourself yawning in a warm, stuffy room? Well the brain cooling hypothesis proposes that yawning is a mechanism that cools down our brain to regulate our optimum mental efficiency, when all other bodily regulations fail.
Psychologist Andrew C. Gallup found that two methods can considerably cool down the brain. These were either nasal breathing, or by cooling a person’s external environment. This considerably reduced the amount of yawns.
How To Decrease the Likelihood of Yawning During Your Psychedelic Trip
Anecdotal evidence suggests that there is a link between dosage and the amount of yawns. Basically the higher the dose the more potential yawns. If the yawning gets to the point it is truly disrupting your experience, you could consider reducing your dose of magic mushrooms.
Here at Wholecelium we love us some Lemon Tek. A popular way of consuming magic mushrooms, it is the method of grinding or chopping your mushrooms into tiny pieces, leaving them to infuse in lemon juice, and then drinking the mixture down. This process actually pre-digests the psilocybin for you, converting it into psilocin so your body has less work to do. This means your come-up will be quicker. And when do the yawns tend to show themselves? During the come-up! There are many fans of the Lemon Tek method who swear by it for its yawn-reducing capabilities. Check out our full How To Make Lemon Tek guide.
How To Reduce Yawning Once it Starts
If you haven’t tried out the above precautions and find yourself yawning big right now, there are some techniques you can use to try and make it stop. According to Andrew C. Gallup there are two main methods to stop yawning. Both of these aim to cool down the temperature of the brain.
Breathe Through Your Nose
Breathing through your nose works to cool your brain. Close your mouth and inhale and exhale deeply.
Cool Your Forehead
Press a cold compress to your forehead, as if you had a fever. A cooler temperature in this area will directly affect your brain’s temperature.
Yawning on Shrooms: The Takeaway
- Yawning during a psychedelic mushroom trip is common.
- Yawning tends to be most frequent during the come-up of your trip.
- You can reduce your likelihood of yawning during your trip by reducing your dose or using the Lemon Tek method.
- If you have already started yawning you can use techniques such as breathing through your nose, or using a cold compress on your forehead.
- There is currently no definite scientific consensus as to why we yawn during magic mushroom trips, but due to the growing psychedelic research field, we may soon have our answer.