Read Sober Psychonaut disclaimer for people in sobriety exploring psychedelic medicine.
Last weekend in New York tripping my way to Phoenix, I bought mushrooms of the magic variety from a menu via text and sidewalk delivery out of what looked like a pizza delivery bag. God, the guy was so sweet and courteous, describing my options, the different strains as it were, like weed, depending on the type of experience I wanted to have.
“And oh by the way, this is my new runner Sam, he’s gonna take good care of you. I just wanted you to get to know him.”
“Hey,” I said, looking furtively up and down the street, still grappling with whether it was okay to order psychedelic products off a menu and have them delivered to your doorstep within 30 minutes.
Psychedelics aren’t addictive: Here’s why
It comes back to the experience produced by the drug vs. the drug itself.
Psychedelic drugs are unlike cocaine, for example, which produces desirable effects like euphoria, energy, clarity, excitement, but also disrupts seratonin, a nerve transmitter that affects mood, among other things, thus producing an experience the brain wants to replicate because it’s so good. Therefore, it’s addictive. The brain, the body wants more. And you can use it to some extent while still functioning normally in your life.
With psilocybin, or LSD (acid) or MDMA (ecstasy) for that matter, a journey or experience begins and ends within a certain time period. It is not sustainable, nor have they found in lab experiments do animals go back for more psilocybin. There is no addictive quality to the drug itself. Essentially, you could have one such psychedelic experience and have a profound transformative experience and never desire to have another.
On the other hand, you could have that experience and find it so seductive you desire to delve further into the realms of human consciousness and spirituality to see where it takes you. Plus, it’s just fun, and well—magical.
I’m particularly intrigued by this idea that psychedelics—and let’s just throw ketamine in there, too—give us access to an alternate universe, a world, a reality, a being-ness that exists in parallel with us at all times but we have filtered it out, diluted it to the point where we only see what we need to see to get through life. But there’s this brilliant-ness that is there all around us—maybe akin to the magic and wonder a child experiences or like a baby seeing things for the first time.
What an amazing opportunity to experience joy, wonder, fascination and profound love for self, others, the world—through psychedelic experience.
I am increasingly drawn to all aspects of it. I don’t know where it’s taking me but I’m ready for the ride. I know there’s something very right about it.
Did I mention that I stopped liking myself a few years back? I mean, how does that happen? How does one go from being completely mature and at ease and comfortable in one’s skin—settled and content with life, self, the world—to being in a constant flux of self-doubt, dis-ease, concern, melancholy, apprehension, dread of future, apathy, just muddling through…
And why can’t I get it back together?
It seems to me the promise of psychedelic medicine and all its evidence-based results that address these exact maladies…is possibly the answer.
I have a glimmer of hope that it is—and I’m scared out of my mind that it’s not.
I want to be in love with life (again).”
Bufo⏤like kissing a toad, sorta
My friend Angela did the toad thing. It’s called Bufo.
“Bufo! What’s that?!”
Toad venom, she explained. Potent, shamanistic shit that takes you on the journey of a lifetime.
“After I puked, my mother, who’s deceased, came to me and apologized for everything. We never had a good relationship. She said sorry for everything. It was so powerful. Life-changing for me.”
Another friend I told about the toad, she pulled it up on her Facebook.
“I think I heard about the toad. My friend who used to be an addict, she’s posting all about these toad rituals.”
“I wonder what it’s like,” I mused. “I mean, do you lick the toad, or is it a pill from toad venom or an injection, what?”
When I talked to Angela again, she assured me no toads were harmed in the process. You have to work with someone you trust who doesn’t harm the animals.
“They extract the venom from the toad’s cheek glands, the toad is not hurt or killed, and you smoke the dried venom crystals. Everything’s carefully administered and monitored by facilitators.”
Will psychedelic medicine help me to take the world less seriously, I wonder?
These last few years, they’ve been a bitch.