LSD can be an incredibly mind-blowing, life-changing experience. It can alter one’s perceptions, open your minds to new possibilities, and even alleviate maladies such as depression, PTSD, anxiety, and alcoholism.
But by virtue of being such a powerful hallucinogen, LSD can also trigger a nightmarish experience, known as a “bad” or “challenging" trip, that can last for hours on end. This is sometimes why folks prefer a lower dosage, also known as a microdose.
So, how should you, dear psychonaut, go about your first LSD trip, seeing as you don’t have any experience with it? Below, you’ll find some tried-and-true methods for ensuring your first LSD trip is smoother than soft-serve ice cream.
Mind Your Set and Setting
Being aware of your “set” and “setting” is good advice for any intoxicating or psychedelic excursion. Before taking your first hit of LSD, think about your mindset. Are you feeling good today, or have you been in the dumps lately?
If you’re dealing with some recent trauma or you’re tipping on the scales of rage, maybe dropping acid right now isn’t a good time. Psychedelics like LSD will amplify everything going on in your head — both good and bad — so be prepared for the most anxious, self-defeating thoughts to come to the forefront.
But if you’re feeling pretty chill about life, your mindset is in an ideal place. And that’s the best time to trip.
For “setting,” you need to be aware of your trip environment, too. Assume you may be too paranoid to leave wherever you are, whether that’s your apartment, a friend’s place, or a rave. It’s cool — that happens sometimes.
Do you feel comfortable in this setting? Is this setting relatively “trip-proof,” meaning there aren’t a bunch of random things nearby that could be hazardous or immediately placed in a hazardous situation? (e.g. a fireplace with a fire roaring, a newborn baby who requires attention and care, etc.) Will you be in the company of close friends you trust, or will strangers or annoying people be attending, too?
If you're in a residence, make sure you have everything that you could possibly want or need: a comfy place to sit or lay down, pillows, blankets, comfy clothes to wear or change into, lots of liquids — preferably water or low-sugar juice, fruit, snacks, your favorite tunes to groove to, and anything else that makes you feel comfortable. Perhaps some paper and pens, too, just incase you're struck with brilliant ideas you don't want to forget.
But if you’re in a public place, will you be somewhere that’s got cops patrolling or security constantly breathing down your neck? Do you think you can handle loud music and bright lights? Can you cross the road, even?
Again, for setting, maximize your comfort levels and minimize any annoyances, trauma triggers, or hazards.
Start Low, Go Slow
The phrase “start low, go slow” usually applies to eating marijuana edibles, but it also applies to dropping acid. If it’s your first time, don’t feel the need to impress anyone by how many tabs you (think you) can eat at once. Trust us: One bad trip can fuck up your confidence in the art of LSD-tripping for the rest of your life. Don’t ruin it on the first time out.
Everyone reacts differently to acid, so there’s no magic first-timer dose. Typically, the beginning dose starts around 100 to 200 micrograms, but let’s be blunt here: You actually have no clue how much LSD is on your blotter tabs (or how much liquid was dropped on your candy, or how much liquid is being administered to you via dropper).
The general rule of thumb is that one “hit” or dose of LSD is a single blotter tab or drop of liquid. The only way to guarantee how much LSD you’ve got in each dose is by sending it to a lab for testing, but that’s both unrealistic and incriminating for most LSD users.
Unless you already know that you’ve got a high tolerance for psychedelics, start with one hit at most. If you want to ease into it, start with a quarter or half a tab. If after an hour or hour-and-a-half you feel like you want more or you don't feel enough, then by all means: up the ante.
Don’t Swallow It
LSD is a fragile molecule, and your stomach acids will shred it to pieces before it can ever reach your brain and whisk you off to Wonderland. When ingesting LSD orally, either as a blotter tab, candy, or liquid, don’t swallow it right away. If you do that, you may not trip at all.
If you have a blotter tab, place the tab under your tongue and let it sit there. Usually, just five to ten minutes under the tongue should be more than enough, but some trippers will leave the paper there until it practically dissolves. Feel free to swallow or spit out any remaining paper after it’s been in your mouth for the suggested time.
Again, if you’ve got dose candy, let the candy dissolve in your mouth. Try to minimize any swallowing as much as possible. With liquids, a drop under the tongue should suffice, since it’ll pretty much absorb instantly through your mucous lining. Avoid drinking anything for at least ten minutes if dosing with a liquid.
You Shouldn’t Taste Anything, Either
If you detect a bitter taste after being dosed, you likely didn’t take LSD — sorry! LSD is flavorless and odorless. However, depending on what your LSD was mixed in to, your method of ingestion may have some flavor (such as with a candy or some flavored liquid). But understand that this is one of the risks you take if you're going to take acid: you might end up taking something else that's not actually LSD. That's why it's important to know and trust your dealer, the same way it's important to know your grower or farmer for weed.
If you did taste something bitter after ingesting what you thought was LSD, you may have ingested any number of so-called “research chemicals” or “RCs.” “Research chemicals” is a generic term for drugs that may generate similar psychedelic effects as LSD, but aren’t actually LSD. Some RCs may lead to pleasant experiences, while others are nasty and can lead to nausea, paranoia, and generally feeling gross instead.
Give Yourself Something to Do
Anticipate activities to keep you engaged during your trip. Puzzles, Lego sets, glowsticks, bubble projectors, strobe lights, music playlists, movies, TV shows, video games, and coloring books are just a few options. But you may also find yourself spending the entire trip just laughing and talking with friends. Or, ya know, just staring at the wallpaper, which is perfectly fine, too.
You’ll want to prepare these activities ahead of time. Going out to the store to gather these things in the middle of an acid trip could be incredibly fun, but you should take it easy during your first time. Although tripping on acid is not a crime, per se, in most places, being intoxicated in public is.
Also, consider your diet and what you’ll want to eat during the trip. Some people find eating incredibly grotesque and frightening while tripping, while others take delight in seeing their bowl of noodles pulsating or their lollipop laughing as it’s licked down.
Do Not Trip Alone
Of all the suggestions here, this one’s probably the most important: Make sure you trip with at least one trusted friend, ideally someone who has already tripped on acid before. This friend can guide you through the experience if things get hairy. Besides, tripping alone will leave you entirely to the inner spaces of your own mind, which can be insightful, but it can also be incredibly scary if you’ve got no idea what you’re doing or what’s going on. Additionally, if things do go awry for some reason, having a friend with you can make it easier to navigate the issue.
You may consider setting up a backup or Plan B-type plan, as well. In other words, if things go horribly wrong during the trip — an accident happens, or someone loses their shit — have some other, non-tripping friends available nearby by phone or social media to come assist. Make sure to let them know that you and your buddies are tripping ahead of time, that way they aren’t blindsided if something comes up. And ensure these are friends who’re cool with tripping, that way you won’t have to deal with any judgements, criticisms, or lectures while you’re in the throes of a high-intensity LSD trip.
Now be safe and enjoy!