Cuando las Plantas Cantan

by Luis Tamani

Chapter

1

Introduction

preparation leads to a positive experience

Each psilocybin journey can be a rewarding and life-changing experience, but can also carry real risks if taken lightly. Here's how you can maximize the probability of having a positive experience, and minimize the risk of a "bad trip."

Introduction

Psilocybin is the primary psychoactive ingredient found in more than 200 species of magic mushrooms, and a few species of magic truffles. Magic mushrooms flourish on every continent except Antarctica, and are easy to grow indoors. Magic truffles are the underground part of certain types of magic mushrooms, and are legal in the Netherlands where they are sold openly in gift stores and “smart shops.” Several nonprofit organizations and pharmaceutical companies are also creating synthetic psilocybin. 

Research from Johns Hopkins, Imperial College London, NYU, and other universities supports long-established anecdotal evidence that psilocybin can: 

  • improve our emotional states
  • reconnect us with nature
  • help people overcome alcohol and nicotine addiction
  • alleviate depression, anxiety, cluster headaches, obsessive- compulsive disorder, and anorexia
  • increase levels of creative thinking, empathy, and wellbeing
  • encourage a greater appreciation for art, music, and nature
  • generate lasting awe for existence.
Psilocybin connects us with our natural Inner Healing Intelligence, which knows what’s the best for us.

Mushrooms sprout from a vast underground mycelial network, which acts as nature’s highway, providing communication and connections between individuals (e.g. trees) in an ecosystem. When humans ingest these psilocybin mushrooms, we may awaken to the interconnectedness of everything: our emotions link with memories, our physical bodies, spiritual realms, our families, our communities, and nature. Furthermore, similar to mycelium’s function in decomposing dead organisms and recycling them into new lifeforms, mushrooms break down various tensions, traumas, and toxicities in our own systems and transmute them into positive emotions and states of mind.

Psilocybin connects us with our natural Inner Healing Intelligence, which knows what’s the best for us. The medicine rewires our hearts and minds to be positive, open, and joyful. Having evolved and survived for more than a billion years, mushrooms can help humanity transform into a more intelligent, loving, and harmonious species.

This guide provides guidelines that will help you to prepare the body, mind, and spirit so you can maximize the probability of having a safe, positive, and life-affirming psilocybin experience, and minimize the risk of having an unpleasant or traumatizing one. 

However, implementing these suggestions will not guarantee a pleasant and joyful experience; the quality and dosage of the medicine you choose, along with various cultural, environmental, and psychological factors, will all influence your experience. As the authors of The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on The Tibetan Book of the Dead write, “[T]he drug dose does not produce the transcendent experience. It merely acts as a chemical key - it opens the mind, frees the nervous system of its ordinary patterns and structures. The nature of the experience depends almost entirely on set and setting.” 

While the psychedelic experience is important, the true work begins afterwards as you integrate its insights into your daily life.

Sometimes the most challenging and painful journeys provide the most significant and necessary wake-up calls. The medicine allows various subconscious and often deeply suppressed patterns to rise to the surface and teach us lessons. As Stanislav Grof, one of the founders of transpersonal psychology states, psychedelics function as “nonspecific amplifiers of the psyche.” In other words, the content and nature of our psychedelic experiences are expressions of the heart and mind revealing themselves in ways that are usually hidden. 

You may also find that many of these suggestions in this document prove beneficial when applied in your day-to-day life and post-journey integration process. While the psychedelic experience is important, the true work begins afterwards as you integrate its insights into your daily life. By consciously and consistently implementing what you’ve learned during your journey, you will amplify the transformational nature of the journey itself.

Requirements

When consumed in a safe environment with a trustworthy and competent guide, psilocybin is proven to be one of the safest mind-altering substances available. However, a psilocybin experience is not for everyone. 

Each criterion on the following list increases the probability of your having a safe and transformative experience. Of course, failing to meet one or more of these conditions does not necessarily disqualify you immediately, but does present its own challenges. Please review these guidelines and use psilocybin safely at your own risk. 

  • You are a legal adult.
  • You have a relatively stable life situation (housing, relationships).
  • You feel comfortable self-reflecting, taking ownership of issues that arise in your life, and listening well.
  • You have no history of schizophrenia, psychotic disorders, bipolar I or II disorder, or any personality disorder (e.g. borderline, narcissistic, schizoid, anti-social).
  • You have no known family history of schizophrenia.
  • You have not been diagnosed with PTSD or C-PTSD, or you are working with trained clinical guides or accredited therapists and can plan to engage in intensive therapy with them before and after your psilocybin session.
  • You have not been diagnosed with (treatment-resistant) unipolar depression (especially with suicidal ideation), unless you have an established therapist who can help you before and after your session.
  • You do not have Cushing’s syndrome.
  • You do not have severe anxiety for which you are taking medications (e.g. benzodiazepines).
  • You are not pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • You do not have any disabling, unstable or acute mental illness or addiction-related condition (e.g. active alcohol withdrawal).
  • You do not have any disabling medical condition including but not limited to cardiovascular disease / hypertension / aneurysm.
  • You do not have hypothyroidism (can be risky but may or may not prevent this work).
  • You have no history of neurological disorders (e.g. stroke, epilepsy, serious brain injury).
  • You do not have suicidal or homicidal ideation.
  • You do not have anger management problems.
  • You are not going through a major spiritual emergence/emergency process.
  • You have not taken fluoxetine (Prozac), for at least 6 weeks
  • You have not taken any of the following medications for at least 2 weeks (longer is ideal):
  1. tricyclic antidepressants (amitriptyline, anafranil, asendin, aventyl, elavil, endep, norfranil, norpramin, pamelor, sinequan, surmontil, tipramine, tofranil, vivactil)
  2. antipsychotics (aripiprazole, asenapine, cariprazine, clozapine, haloperidol, lurasidone, olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone, ziprasidone)
  3. lithium
  4. SSRI/SNRIs
  5. MAOIs
  6. ritonavir/indinavir/efavirenz
  7. lamictal (lamotrigine)
  8. 5-HTP, St. John’s Wort or any other supplements that may affect serotonergic function.

If you meet all these criteria, you are in a good position to consider exploring the benefits of psilocybin. 

If you have questions regarding potential interactions between psilocybin and other medications or substances, please consider visiting Spirit Pharmacist or Dr. Emily Kulpa.

Next Chapter:

Plan Your Journey

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