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Navigating the unknown can often be a daunting and fearful experience, which is especially true when it comes to psychedelic voyaging. For many, the psychotherapeutic and spiritual benefits of psychedelic use are well worth the inherent risks of the unknown. But before taking that leap, it is important to have a thorough understanding of the potential risks, and necessary precautions to take in order to gain the most rewarding and safe experience possible.
Understanding the Potential Risks of Psychedelic Voyaging
While there are potential therapeutic and spiritual benefits of psychedelic use, there is no denying that there are potential risks to be aware of. Like any powerful and foreign substance, there is a risk of a bad trip, which can manifest as feelings of intense fear, confusion, panic, and more. It is also possible to have a prolonged altered state of consciousness, often referred to as “ego-dissolution”, which can present its own risks. As a result, it is important to do the research beforehand, in order to ensure that the potential risks are weighed against the potential benefits.
Oft-Ignored Precautions Before Exploring Psychedelic Experiences
In addition to the physical risks of taking psychedelics, it is important to have a clear idea of one’s intentions before setting out. It is recommended to have a clear idea of the questions one wishes to explore, a comfortable space to explore in, and a trusted guide or ally to assist in the process. Additionally, it is important to understand the potential legal risks, as certain psychedelics are illegal in certain countries. Taking the time to understand the potential risks, as well as understanding set and setting can greatly facilitate a positive experience.
Mitigating Unforeseen Challenges of the Unknown
In addition to the physical and legal risks, it is also important to be aware of the potential emotional risks associated with the unknown. It is important to have an understanding of one’s mental health history, and create a plan in advance to mitigate any risks associated with one’s own mental health. Additionally, it is important to have a plan in place in case of a bad trip. Having a trusted ally to speak to, and staying hydrated are just some of the potential safety measures one can take before and during a psychedelic experience.
Gathering Support & Taking Safety Measures
Finally, it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of available resources and support systems before embarking on the psychedelic journey. This includes both emotional support and medical support, as psychedelic use can bring about certain medical risks. It is also recommended to know what services and medical care is available in case of an emergency. Additionally, it is important to be aware of any potential cross-reactions when taking psychedelics with other substances, such as pharmaceuticals.
Unpacking Your Psychedelic Experience for Long-Term Benefits
Taking the necessary precautions before, during, and after a psychedelic experience can greatly enhance one’s therapeutic and spiritual journey. Having a better understanding of one’s intentions, potential risks, and support systems can help to ensure a safe and rewarding experience. Additionally, having a plan in place to process one’s experience after the fact, such as talking to a trusted therapist or guide, can help to ensure that the long-term benefits of psychedelic voyaging are more fully realized.
Navigating the unknown can be a daunting and fearful experience, but one that can also reap great rewards, both spiritually and therapeutically. Taking the necessary precautions before, during, and after the psychedelic experience can greatly facilitate a safe, rewarding, and meaningful experience.
- Gasser, P., Holstein, D., Michel, Y., & Doblin, R. (2014). Safety and Side Effect Profile of Ayahuasca in Recreational Users. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 139(1-3), 131-137.
- Winstock, A. R., Abel, K. M., & Solowij, N. (2012). What do users think they are taking? A survey of the content, use and perceived effects of new psychoactive substances. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 123(1-3), 21-25.
- McLaughlin, T., & Johnson, M. (2016). The psychedelic integration guide: How to safely and effectively use the medicine for personal growth and healing. Psychedelic Press UK.