Taking LSD for the first time can be a daunting prospect, and is often years in the making. For many of us, our cultural conditioning has prevented us from exploring psychedelic compounds, especially LSD. More so than mushrooms, government propaganda has made many people fearful that they may go out of their mind on LSD and never be the same again. It may be true that you will never be quite the same as before, but not for the reasons the powers that be would have us believe. I’m quite sure my 13-year-old self never thought in a million years that he’d be writing about his psychedelic experiences now…
Whether taking a microdose, low dose, or full dose of LSD, there are a few things to consider if, when, how, where and with who you take your first dose of LSD.
How to take LSD for the first time
Set and setting is often talked about and for good reason, however, first I want to talk about dosage because it seems to be an aspect of the beginner experience that is not mentioned enough.
Most people, when they take their first dose of LSD, mushrooms etc, tend to go straight in with a moderately high, ego-death inducing dose. That’s what I did, and when you’re doing your initial research, reading trip reports etc, higher doses are much more talked about. I have no regrets about my first trip, and for that reason I can’t say I wouldn’t recommend it (180-200ug). Knowing what I know now though, it makes sense that getting a little taste of the nature of psychedelics through microdosing, as preparation, might increase the chances of a positive experience when it comes to a higher dose.
If you are more sensitive to altered states of consciousness, or drugs in general, it makes sense to consider lower doses of psychedelics to begin with. I’ve written other posts which attempt to somehow put into words, the effect of different doses – 50 micrograms, 20 micrograms, and an overview of various doses here.
For those who prefer to jump straight in, there’s something to be said for that too. There are things that microdosing just doesn’t do, and a full ego-death is something that I believe we are all longing for, and fundamentally need, at least once in our lives. Lower doses can only prepare you a certain amount, before the inevitable lifting of the veil entirely.
There are very, very few people I would want to take LSD with. Because many have their first psychedelic experience after being introduced by people they know, it can be difficult to control this aspect. Sourcing LSD is not easy, and will remain that way all the while it’s illegal.
The obvious things to be aware of are the motives or agenda of the person offering you any kind of psychedelic substance. And even if they are well-meaning, there are few with the skills to help if you run into difficulties, which is why a guide would be preferable if you can find one you can trust. An experienced trusted friend is also a good option, and I’d avoid tripping on higher doses with people I don’t know well. At the peak of a psychedelic trip, you are vulnerable and totally open, and the potential for manipulation or abuse is there. This is more likely to be a problem for inexperienced psychonauts, in my opinion. Equally, being in a state of complete openness with the right people can lead to deep connections unlike what you’ve ever experienced before.
I always trust my instinct for whether or not I feel a good vibe from somebody or not, or whether I think they’d be the kind of person I’d want to experience an ego death with. It could be compared to sex in the sense that whilst we may like someone, respect, find them interesting etc, it doesn’t mean that we want to have intimate experiences with them. In terms of intimacy, the psychedelic experience is on a par with the sexual experience and I’d use the same caution.
Your state of mind
Perhaps the most important aspect of all to ensure a safe and positive experience with LSD – you must be very mindful of your current mental state. It’s not a good idea to dive into psychedelics at the peak of a stressful period in your life, or at times of extreme emotional instability. Sometimes psychedelics can help greatly in terms of improving our mental health, but the risks are also higher during difficult times, and until you start to get a feel for how you operate with psychedelics, you should be careful here.
As time has gone by, I’ve learnt better and better when and how much of a substance to take. Preparing with meditation, yoga, and healthy food, adequate sleep etc. are all likely to improve the chances of a positive trip as well. Taking a full dose at the end of a busy week when you’re yet to fully wind down, is more risky, although it’s not to say there’s not a chance it could be just what you need. Psychedelics are strange like that, they’re known for giving and showing you what you need rather than what you want, or what you think you want. If you don’t respect the power of psychedelics, you’ll swiftly be reminded.
If you’re just starting out with psychedelics, tread carefully, do your research, read/listen a lot to/from multiple sources, and you’ll soon get a feel for what is right for you. Trust your intuition above all – an ‘expert’ won’t necessarily know what’s right for you.
Almost as important as your state of mind, location is essential to influencing the type of experience you will have.
I almost always go into nature when I take any psychedelic and there’s no replacement for it as far as I’m concerned. I’m always surprised when I read other people’s trip reports full of things that I would absolutely never do on acid, but each to their own I suppose. Nature is neutral, unadulterated, and where we organically emerged from. I’ve never felt more alive, never felt the miracle of the whole thing more than I did on my first acid trip walking through the forest. I was so mesmerised that I couldn’t speak, such was the futility of my attempt to try to put it into words. When I arrived back home, I found my kitchen overly stimulating and the general feeling of being surrounded by walls very restricting compared to how I felt outside.
Being inside can be of benefit for activities like listening to music, but apart from that I’d suggest spending most of your trip outside, somewhere you know well, and away from unsuspecting members of the public who are liable to get a contact high when entering your vicinity!
If you have to be indoors, it’s definitely better to trip somewhere you know well, rather than a new setting that could cause confusion and potentially a negative reaction.
Quality of the substance
Last but not least, make sure that you are obtaining your substance from a reliable source, test it if possible, and be aware of warning signs that it’s not what you think it is. For example, LSD is tasteless and odourless so if it tastes of anything at all, it’s either something else, or impure (or mixed with something else) – either way it’s not what you want and could be dangerous. Be very careful here, no matter how excited you are to try it in the moment.
Physically, LSD is one of the safest drugs known, but it’s only safe when you know for sure it’s LSD, and when taken with respect for its effects.