“Salvia divinorum, or “Salvia,” is a perennial herb of the largest genus of plants in the Labiatae (mint) family. Native to the cloud forest regions of the Sierra Mazateca in Oaxaca, Mexico, it typically grows in ravines and other high-altitude, humid areas. Salvia divinorum plants can reach over one meter in height and have large green leaves, hollow square stems, and white flowers with purple calyces.
The Salvia genus is a member of the tribe Mentheae and contains many varieties of sage species. As well as Salvia divinorum, other common species are Salvia officinalis, or common sage, and Salvia hispanica which produces edible Chia seeds. Many of the Salvia species are used for ornamental purposes or herbal remedies. There are about 1000 species of Salvia worldwide, but currently, only Salvia divinorum holds psychoactive properties.
Although not widely used, Salvia divinorum is a potent psychedelic characterized by unique visionary experiences. It shows great potential for treating pain and addiction, as well as depression—whether in traditional Mazatec ceremonies or more clinical, Western settings. Many people have also found it useful for personal growth.
Unscheduled by the federal US government, Salvia divinorum is controlled in many states. The most prominent advocate for its continued legality is the ethnobotanist Daniel Siebert, who maintains the Salvia divinorum benefits.
When smoking or vaporizing Salvia divinorum, the onset happens fast, peaking within the first 180 seconds and declining after 5-30 minutes. The quid chewing method takes a bit longer. You may feel nothing for the first 15-20 minutes and any effects you do feel may be diminished by light or noise. The peak effects last 30-60 minutes. Taking a purified tincture is much like quidding, but the onset is much faster.
At low doses, Salvia divinorum can cause a tingling sensation, increased awareness of the body, and enhanced clarity or presence of mind. Higher doses are associated with a loss of self-awareness, fast-changing visuals, physical impairment or dizziness, and revelatory mystical experiences. Some other, more specific effects of Salvia divinorum include tunnel vision, the sensation of merging with or becoming objects, seeing entities or beings, hearing voices, laughing uncontrollably, and experiencing overlapping realities or worlds.”
MDMA is a synthetic drug that alters mood and perception, often producing feelings of euphoria, empathy, and emotional well-being. Short for 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, MDMA is chemically similar to both stimulants and psychedelics. Under its influence, colors and sounds (especially music) are experienced more intensely, which has made it a popular recreational drug, particularly at raves and music festivals. Though it has a reputation as a club drug, MDMA’s ability to help people gain access to their emotions made it a popular drug to treat depression in the late 1970s, as well as in couples therapy to foster closeness. The psychologist and psychotherapist who first brought MDMA to the world of psychotherapy, Leo Zeff, reportedly called the drug “penicillin for the soul.” But after it became a popular recreational drug, the DEA added MDMA to the list of Schedule 1 drugs in 1985.
In the early 2000s, however, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) launched the first clinical study into MDMA’s therapeutic potential, specifically for PTSD. In one study, 68% of the 107 participants involved no longer had PTSD one year after treatment. Now, pure crystal MDMA (the only form of the drug that may be legally administered by a medical professional) is in Phase III clinical trials for use as a therapeutic aid in the treatment of PTSD and has been granted “Breakthrough Therapy” status by the FDA. MDMA is on track for full FDA approval and could be prescribed by doctors as early as 2022.
MDMA also has the potential to alleviate social anxiety and save struggling relationships.
MDMA can be deadly at high doses and when combined with other drugs, especially PMA/PMMA.
Cannabis is a fast-growing, flowering plant native to Asia and the Indian subcontinent. For thousands of years, it has been cultivated around the world for use in textiles, medicine, and spirituality, and it now grows on every continent except Antarctica. Cannabis is the only known source of the psychoactive cannabinoids THC and CBD, which are proving therapeutic for a variety of physiological and psychological issues. Cannabis comes in a variety of forms for consumption, the most popular being dried buds, which are usually consumed in a joint, bong, pipe, or vaporizer. The resin may also be extracted to make hashish (hash), dabs (shatter, budder, etc.), oils, or tinctures. Oils in particular (or, more traditionally, cannabis-infused butter) can be used to make edible cannabis products, such as the classic “space cake” or pot brownies.
Despite its diverse and proven therapeutic benefits, cannabis has been prohibited in most countries since the early 20th century. Unfortunately, prohibition has also set research back decades. More recently, attitudes about the drug have substantially changed, thanks to the efforts of activists. Decriminalization and legalization in the United States and elsewhere have been both effective and relatively problem-free and has a created a massive global market for medicinal and recreational cannabis-based products.
“5-MeO-DMT is a natural psychedelic drug found in the venom of the Colorado River toad, Bufo Alvarius, also known as the Sonoran Desert toad. Smoking 5-MeO-DMT induces a short but intense psychedelic experience or ‘trip’, with hallucinogenic effects that are significantly stronger than those induced by DMT (the primary psychoactive molecule found in Ayahuasca). Despite this, the difference between 5-MeO-DMT and DMT is just a single Methoxy group, and it is structurally similar to other psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin and DMT.
Also present in at least nine families of plants, trees, and shrubs, use of 5-MeO-DMT as a psychedelic drug has been traced back some 3000 years in the form of crushed seeds known as ‘Yopo’, which are still used in spiritual ceremonies in Venezuela, Columbia, and Brazil. 5-MeO-DMT was first synthesised in 1936 by chemists Toshio Hoshino and Kenya Shimodaira and identified as an active component of Amazonian snuffs in 1959. Since then, 5-MeO-DMT has been detected in human blood, urine and cerebrospinal fluid.
Legal 5-MeO-DMT was readily available online as a ‘research chemical’, and grew increasingly popular before being made illegal in the USA in 2011, after which many other countries followed suit and banned the substance.
Due to these restrictions, research into 5-MeO-DMT is extremely limited and only a handful of studies have been conducted to date.
There is research which suggests that 5-MeO-DMT could have associations with improvements in anxiety and depression. It is sometimes used as an adjunct to Ibogaine therapy for the treatment of addiction. This may be effective because 5-MeO-DMT has been shown to down-regulate a receptor involved in the reward mechanism of drug abuse. The same study found that cells treated with 5-MeO-DMT show a similar response to anti-depressant medications. Further research is needed to investigate 5-MeO-DMT’s potential anti-depressive properties.
There have been suggestions that 5-MeO-DMT could be of use in understanding the neurobiological basis of hallucinations and for antipsychotic drug development.”
“DMT, or N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, is a psychedelic chemical that occurs naturally in both plants and animals from underwater organisms to land mammals. DMT is also the active hallucinogenic compound in ayahuasca, a tea brewed from the shrub Psychotria viridis used for ritual purposes by indigenous people in the Amazon.
People also ingest DMT in crystal form, smoking it in a pipe or bong, as well as vaporized. This form of ingestion produces a powerful but short-lasting hallucinogenic state, considered to be one of the most intense psychedelic experiences in existence.
It can also retain its psychoactive properties in other forms, including psilocybin (4-PO-HO-DMT, found in psilocybin mushrooms).
Many often confuse DMT with 5-MeO-DMT, or 5-Methoxy-N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, which is also a hallucinogenic compound. 5-MeO-DMT looks exactly like DMT on both a macro and micro level, but the latter has a few extra atoms attached, which is enough to change the experience. While the DMT experience tends to be highly visual, 5-MeO-DMT is more like a perspective shift. For this guide, we’ll focus on DMT.
Many factors contribute to the DMT experience, including dose, mindset, setting, and your body’s personal chemistry. With that in mind, each individual journey will be unique to the person, time, and place, and there’s no way to predict exactly what will happen. That being said, DMT does induce some common experiences and effects that can help you prepare for your journey.
What to expect DMT-induced psychedelic experiences occur when a dose of 0.2 mg/kg or higher is ingested. When smoked, DMT is a very fast-acting substance with peak subjective experience occurring around 2 minutes after ingestion and completely resolving within 15 to 20 minutes. When taken as an ayahuasca brew, the effects can take up to an hour to appear and may last for several hours.
Mixing DMT into the liquids found in vape pens is a newer form of ingestion. The benefit of this is the ease of consumption. And because the intensity of DMT depends on the dose, vaping it can cause hallucinations that are as or more intense than consuming it in more traditional ways. This can be a good or a bad thing. However, some believe that vaping DMT isn’t the safest way to consume the drug and should be approached with caution.
Low doses (0.05 to 0.1 mg/kg) of DMT primarily affect physical and emotional states with few to no perceptual hallucinations. Higher doses typically produce rapid kaleidoscopic images full of intensely “techno-colored” abstract and representational displays. Auditory hallucinations are less common and usually aren’t a very prominent feature of the experience. Some people experience alternating sensations of hot and cold.
Passing states of anxiety are common, though so are euphoric states. Somewhat paradoxically, these two states can be experienced simultaneously. Out-of-body experiences, or dissociation of awareness from the physical body, is very common with DMT at higher doses. Many people consider this a hallmark of the experience.
In his 2000 book, The Spirit Molecule, psychedelic researcher and psychologist Rick Strassman describes studies in which about half of the volunteers entered “freestanding, independent levels of existence” during a DMT trip or psychological planes where “intelligent beings”, “entities”, “aliens”, “guides” and “helpers” were found. Ethnobotanist and psychonaut Terrence McKenna called these beings “machine elves.” According to Strassman’s work, they take the form of “clowns, reptiles, mantises, bees, spiders, cacti, and stick figures.” Reports of these kinds of beings seem to be unique to DMT trips.”
“Psilocybin mushrooms are fungi that contain the psychoactive compound psilocybin, a naturally occurring psychedelic compound capable of producing powerful hallucinations and mystical-type experiences, along with other effects. Psilocybin is more commonly known as “magic mushrooms” or “shrooms.” More than 180 species of mushrooms contain psilocybin or its derivative psilocin, and the fungi have a long history of use in Mesoamerican spiritual and religious rituals. They’re also one of the most popular and commonly used psychedelics in the U.S. and Europe.
Psilocybin mushrooms are more than just a drug and sacrament, however. They’ve been used in therapeutic settings to treat a variety of ailments and disorders including cluster headaches, obsessive-compulsive disorders, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addiction, and a recent resurgence in research into psilocybin’s therapeutic effects is showing promising results.
While psilocybin mushrooms have been decriminalized in three North American cities (see “Legality” for details), they are still illegal at the federal level and are categorized as a Schedule I controlled substance in the U.S. Recently, however, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) have allowed several small, highly controlled human studies on their potential for use in medical and psychiatric settings. The FDA also designated psilocybin as a “breakthrough therapy” for depression, which could accelerate the process of psilocybin drug development and review.
Many factors contribute to the psilocybin experience, including dose, mindset, setting, and your body’s personal chemistry. With that in mind, each individual journey will be unique to the person, time, and place, and there’s no way to predict exactly what will happen. But understanding the common experiences and effects of psilocybin will help you prepare for your journey.
What to expect Psilocybin mushrooms are generally eaten in their whole, dried form and most people agree they don’t taste great. To mask the flavor, some people brew the mushrooms into a tea, put them in Nutella or peanut butter, blend them a juice or smoothie, or grind them up and put them into capsules. Each of these ways will have a slightly different effect. Drinking a mushroom tea, for example, will bring on the effects faster than eating them; swallowing capsules will make the effects come on a little later.
A typical trip on a moderate dose of psilocybin mushrooms (1-2.5g) includes an increased intensity of emotional experiences, increased introspection, and altered psychological functioning in the form of “hypnagogic experiences,” which is the transitory state between wakefulness and sleep. Brain imaging studies show that a psilocybin trip is neurologically similar to dreaming, which gives you a good idea of the mindset you’re entering when undertaking a psychedelic experience.
During a psilocybin experience, you can expect to experience perceptual changes, synesthesia, emotional shifts, and a distorted sense of time. Perceptual changes can include visuals such as halos around lights and objects as well as geometric patterns when your eyes are closed. You may also experience vivid colors, tracers, distorted vision, and a sense of the world breathing around you.
Thoughts and emotions can change, too. It’s not uncommon to have a sense of openness to thoughts and feelings that you avoid in your everyday life, as well as a sense of wonder and delight with the world around you, the people in your life, and your own mind. You may also feel a sense of peace and connection with the world.
Strong emotions, both enjoyable and challenging, are common during a journey. When undesirable feelings do arise, it’s best not to resist but rather let the feelings run their course. Many people who have reported the presence of strong negative emotions also report feeling a simultaneous sense of calm acceptance and detachment, especially if they don’t resist and remind themselves that the emotions are temporary. Resisting the emotions can lead to a “bad trip.” (See “Bad trips” for more details.)
Physical side effects vary from person to person, but they can include a change in heart rate (up or down), change in blood pressure (up or down), nausea, increased tendon reflexes, tremors, dilated pupils, restlessness or arousal, and trouble with coordinated movement. Some also report feeling deeply relaxed and calm.
One study also found that psilocybin can cause headaches that last for up to a day in healthy individuals. None of the subjects reported severe headaches, however, and psilocybin is actually used to treat a clinical condition called cluster headaches.”
“Best known as LSD or “acid,” lysergic acid diethylamide is a powerful psychedelic drug derived from a chemical found in rye fungus. This discovery was made in 1938 when Swiss Scientist Albert Hofmann synthesized LSD in his laboratory in Basel, Switzerland. Years later, tiny amount of the drug came in contact with his skin and he unexpectedly discovered its psychedelic effects.
After Hofmann’s discovery, promising research into the potential therapeutic effects of LSD began in the ’50s. But when the drug made its way into the counterculture of the ’60s and ’70s, it became highly stigmatized as a result of unfettered and reckless use among the generation’s young people. It was eventually classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which it remains today.
More recently, LSD has resurfaced as a potential therapeutic drug, partially due to the popularity of microdosing. Although microdosing doesn’t give the full effect of an LSD trip, it has proved useful in helping to destigmatize and normalize this previously scorned substance.
Many factors contribute to the LSD experience, including dose, mindset, setting, and your body’s personal chemistry. Each individual journey will be unique to the person, time, and place, and there’s no way to predict exactly what will happen. That being said, LSD does induce some common experiences and effects that can help you prepare for your journey.
What to expect Increased sensory perception is a hallmark effect of LSD. This can take the form of an enhanced appreciation for music (some say that after taking LSD, it’s like they’re hearing music for the first time), or a sharpened sense of smell and taste. Touch also becomes heightened, and many people experience a strong desire to touch soft items as well as other people. Another unique property of LSD as well as other psychedelics is synesthesia, a condition that involves senses merging—you might “taste” music or “hear” colors.
Vivid hallucinations are also a common and profound aspect of an LSD experience. Consisting of often colorful visions, hallucinations are often the highlight of people’s experiences. Auditory hallucinations are also not uncommon.
Psychological and emotional effects The psychological effects of LSD can be divided into three main categories: positive, neutral, and negative. At low to moderate dose amounts, it’s more common to have a positive or neutral experience. As the dose size increases, however, so does the possibility of experiencing negative psychological effects.
~Increase in associative and creative thinking ~Closed and open-eye visuals ~Ego dissolution ~Sense of unity and connectedness to other life forms ~General sense of euphoria ~Life-changing spiritual experiences
~Change in consciousness ~Lost track of time ~Lack of focus ~Unusual thoughts and speech ~Range of emotions
Negative (many of these are associated with a ‘bad trip’) ~
~Paranoia ~Anxiety ~Fear of death ~Overwhelming feelings”
“Peyote, or Lophophora williamsii, is a species of spineless cactus that contains the psychedelic chemical mescaline. It has a distinctively small, green, and globular appearance, growing close to the ground without any spines. These “crowns” or “buttons” are traditionally cut from the root of the peyote plant and dried for ceremonial use.
Native to Mexico and the Southwestern US, peyote has long been a focus of Native American and pre-Colombian ceremonial traditions. Its name derives from the Nahuatl (Aztec) term peyotl and it remains legal for ceremonial use in the US under the American Indian Religious Freedom Act. Today, it’s also used in other contexts elsewhere, including in meditation and psychotherapy. It also holds the reputation of being the first psychedelic to come to mainstream Western attention—for better or worse. Due to overharvesting and peyote’s slow-growing nature, the cactus is now an endangered species.
In ceremonial use, peyote is typically either chewed to release the active alkaloids or brewed as a tea. The peyote trip is characterized by visual effects (such as enhanced colors and breathing environments), philosophical and introspective insights, and feelings of euphoria.
Many factors contribute to the peyote experience, including dose, mindset, setting, and method of consumption. With that in mind, each individual journey will be unique to the person, time, and place, and there’s no way to predict exactly what will happen. But, peyote does induce some common experiences and effects that can help you prepare for your journey.
What to expect
The effects of peyote are usually felt within 30 minutes to an hour after consumption. For most, the experience begins with increases heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature and some form of physiological discomfort, such as nausea, fullness in the stomach, sweating, and/or chills. These physical symptoms can last up to two hours, before dissolving into a sense of calm and acceptance.
At this point, the more subjective, psychological effects take hold, reaching their peak two to four hours after consuming the cactus and gradually declining over the next eight to twelve hours. Peak effects are compared to those of LSD, and are known to profoundly alter one’s perceptions of self and reality, increase suggestibility, and intensify emotions. While some find peyote more sensual and less reality-shifting than LSD, others have trouble telling the difference.
Some people experience a deeply mystical or transcendental state, including clear and connected thought, feelings of oneness and unity, self-realization, and ego death, as well as empathy and euphoria. “Bad trips” and dysphoric symptoms tend to be more common among people who ignore the importance of set and setting and/or have a history of mental illness.
Visual effects are also common, including color enhancement, visual distortions (such as “melting” or “breathing” environments), geometric patterns, and the appearance of seemingly autonomous entities. A number of users, including the writer Robert Anton Wilson in his autobiographical book Cosmic Trigger, describe encounters with a little green man, or the “spirit of the plant,” who is often called “Mescalito.””
“San Pedro (Trichocereus/Echinopsis pachanoi) is a thin, columnar cactus native to the Andes mountains in South America (Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru) that contains mescaline—one of the longest-studied psychedelics in the world—and the first to be labeled with the term “psychedelic.”
San Pedro has been an important element to the spiritual ceremonies of various indigenous cultures for thousands of years. In the context of these ceremonies, the San Pedro experience is known for being empathogenic (similar to MDMA) and potentially life-changing, promoting radical introspection, healing, and a sense of wonder and awe.
Traditionally, San Pedro has been consumed either on its own or with other plants in a ceremonial brew called cimora. While its use as a psychedelic is technically illegal in the US, the plant itself can be found decorating yards and gardens across the country. It can also be found in abundance at the witches’ markets of Peru (as San Pedro or Huachuma), Bolivia (as Achuma), and Ecuador (as Aguacolla or Gigantón).
San Pedro is a potent psychedelic, and a San Pedro ceremony can be intense and powerful, in both positive and negative ways. Though everyone will undergo a unique and individual experience, there are some general things you can expect.
What to expect After consuming San Pedro, most people start to feel the effects within 15-40 minutes, but it could take up to three hours to peak. Coming down can take another three hours, and the whole experience usually lasts 10 hours or so. San Pedro also usually leaves a lasting afterglow, which can make it difficult to sleep after the effects wear off.
Many people are surprised at how different San Pedro (and mescaline, in general) is from other psychedelics they’ve tried. San Pedro can leave you feeling relaxed and in control, for instance, even if you’re tripping heavily.  One user compared its effects to MDMA, but felt they were “more amazing.” “Mescaline didn’t feel like rolling [being high on MDMA],” he said, “Rolling felt like mescaline.” The same user went on to say that it was “like all the best effects from all the drugs all put into one… the great body feeling and incredible empathy and understanding of ecstasy… the focus and energy and drive of acid… the journey effect that I always enjoyed from shrooms… It was the soberest we had ever felt in our life.”
When the effects of San Pedro first hit, it’s common to feel drowsy or dizzy, often with a sense of tingling or electricity in the veins. Nausea, vomiting, and perspiration are also common on the come-up.
San Pedro usually produces visual effects, including whirlpools of colored light, flashes in the peripheral vision, kaleidoscopic patterns, and white, ghostlike outlines around people. “Out-of-body” experiences are also common, as is synesthesia (e.g. “feeling” and “smelling” sights and sounds), mild depersonalization, and distortions of spatial awareness. At the same time, ordinary things around you can appear more interesting, beautiful, and amazingly mystical—qualities that define the mescaline experience.
All of this often culminates in a clear and connected thought, self-realization, empathy, and euphoria. However, “bad trips” and dysphoric symptoms may be more common among people who don’t pay attention to set and setting and/or have histories of mental illness.”
“Ibogaine is a naturally occurring psychoactive indole alkaloid found in plants in the Apocynaceae family such as Tabernanthe iboga, Voacanga africana and Tabernaemontana undulata. In the iboga plant (Tabernanthe iboga), the highest concentration of ibogaine is found in the root bark. Lower concentrations of ibogaine are found in the rest of the plant along with other indole alkaloids in the same family.
These plants are used for medicinal and ritual purposes in African spiritual traditions of the Bwiti religion in Gabon. It was first promoted in the West as having anti-addictive properties in 1962 by Howard Lotsof, who was a heroin addict himself. In France it was marketed as Lambarène and used as a stimulant. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) also studied the effects of ibogaine in the 1950s.
Today, it is illegal in the United States as is considered a Schedule I drug. However, it’s available to varying degrees in many other countries, including Canada and Mexico, as well as several European countries. It’s primarily used in treating addiction for opiates and other highly-addictive drugs, though it is also becoming more common as a tool for personal and spiritual development. Recreational use of ibogaine is nearly non-existent.
Many factors contribute to the ibogaine and iboga experiences, including dose, mindset, setting, and method of consumption. With that in mind, each individual journey will be unique to the person, time, and place, and there’s no way to predict exactly what will happen. It’s also important to note the difference between iboga and ibogaine, each of which has a different makeup and use case. However, ibogaine and iboga do induce some common experiences and effects that can help you prepare for your journey.”