Image designed by Savina Monet
From the decriminalize nature initiatives to Michael Pollan’s latest book, How to Change Your Mind, the end of the '10s will go down in history as a milestone when psychedelics stepped fully out of the closet. This era will be remembered for more than free love, tie dye, and "dropping out," though.
The modern psychedelic movement stresses safe and responsible use of powerful plants and chemical substances, like mushrooms, LSD, and MDMA. It's about conscious, intentional consumption that unionizes the mind, body, and soul so we may heal the parts of us shattered by traumas, illnesses, and more. It's about utilizing psychedelics as a lens through which to address widespread (albeit overlooked) problems plaguing our society. And, just like the '60s, it's about connecting with our communities to make the world a better place.
So, that’s what this gift guide is all about: Accepting the psychedelics-fanatic, or “psychonaut,” in your life with meaningful gifts that will enhance their journeys — mind-altering ones or otherwise. From magazines and music to capsules and kits, here's what you'll need to ensure that the tripper you love most has the best (and safest!) experiences with these magical substances.
Books on Psychedelics
Even though people who regularly consume psychedelics have been vilified for decades, they’re actually some of the most well-read and curious substance-users I’ve ever come across. So, giving the gift of knowledge is one of the best things you can offer.
For instance, every psychonaut loves a good book, although it might be tricky to find one they haven’t already read. But, for the curious rookies on your shopping list, a well written and researched book on the psychedelics reform movement is a great way to nurture and expand their interest, and possibly even prepare them for their own mind melt.
For folks interested in psychedelics-assisted therapy, Neal Goldsmith’s book, Psychedelic Healing is a great choice. For those piqued by psychedelics’ spiritual potential, William “Bill” Richards’s book, Sacred Knowledge, is also an excellent resource. For your friends and family who have expressed interest in DMT and ayahuasca, DMT: The Spirit Molecule by Rick Strassman is a fascinating-read, and one of the most popular, psychonaut-approved books of the decade.
But, maybe heroic-doses of anything isn't of interest to the psychedelics-lover in your life. Thankfully, there's some great literature on microdosing, too. Ayelet Waldman’s skeptical and funny first-person account, A Really Good Day, is a great and educational choice detailing the impact of small doses of LSD.
For the artistic history buffs, you should 100% check out MERRY JANE contributor Brian Blomerth's Bicycle Day — a graphic novel about the invention of LSD. (You can read our interview with the illustrator about the text here.)
For anyone into the idea of mushroom foraging, Paul Stamets’s legendary guide, Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World, is a great source of information and photos. For the amateur grower, however, K. Mandrake and Virginia Haze’s The Psilocybin Mushroom Bible is a must.
For a friend or loved one who’s expressed interest in trying mushrooms — or another classic mind-altering compound — in the safest way possible, but has no idea where to start, my new book, Your Psilocybin Mushroom Companion, breaks down everything you need to know about dose, what to expect, preparation, integration, and more!
And let's not forget the new, beautifully designed, women-run print magazine that I (and a number of MERRY JANE contributors!) write for called DoubleBlind Magazine. It focuses on untold and timely stories in the psychedelics community, and they just released their second issue in time for the holidays! You can also revisit MERRY JANE's interview with the brilliant founders here.
In clinical trials using psilocybin and MDMA, participants usually spend most of the time tripping wearing an eye mask and headphones so they can “go inward” to learn about themselves and possibly have a transformational experience.
Well, those who use psychedelics every so often for personal growth can also benefit from this technique. Gifting the psychonaut in your life with a fancy eye mask will likely be very appreciated!
Mindfold, a brand of eye masks for relaxation and meditation, will certainly do the trick — the product is genuinely awesome. Lucia La Ferme’s plant dyed silk “eye pillows” are also lovely, effective, and perfectly weighted. Some folks in the community also told me they enjoy the type of eye mask with gel beads that you can put in the freezer, so those might be worth looking into, as well.
Sound Cancelling Headphones
If you’re looking to spend a little extra on your friend or loved one, a nice pair of sound cancelling headphones is perectly suited for a psychonaut. Like I mentioned above with eye masks, a pair of sound cancelling headphones (ideally playing a well-planned playlist) is a big part of psychedelic therapy, and many folks favor using them for at-home trips, too.
The brand you choose will depend on your budget, but when MERRY JANE asked the psychedelics community, they recommended: Monster Diamond Tears, Nuraphone personalized headphones, and more classic brands like Bose, Sony, and Sennheiser. Just be sure to opt for a wireless pair!
Music for Psychedelic Experiences
While headphones may be a bit expensive, gifting the psychonaut in your life with some great music tailored for tripping will also be appreciated. And call me old fashioned, but I still think receiving an album as a gift is cool. East Forest's 2019 release Music for Mushrooms: A Soundtrack for the Psychedelic Practitioner is a perfect sonic companion for any psychedelic experience.
If your favorite tripper needs more, you can recommend these playlists found on streaming platforms: Bill Richards’s "Playlist for Psilocybin Sessions" is a vetted assortment of music used in Johns Hopkins's psilocybin mushroom trials. For a more ceremonial option, "Magic Mushrooms Ceremony" was pretty much designed for diving into your soul. There's also a playlist called "Soul Medicine" that a friend — who I met on a mushroom retreat in Mexico — made, and I use it for tripping, as well as other activities like cleaning my house. Just know that most of these playlists are versatile and can be used for a number of different activities that don't necessarily involve psychoactive substances.
If you think your friends or family already have their music on lock, another gift option any psychonaut would enjoy is receiving some art or art books that would be fun to look while they’re deep in the cosmic abyss. For the hardcore doser, anything by Alex or Allyson Grey will likely be cherished, as might a print by Chris Dyer.
For something a little subtler, a piece or art book by psychedelic-inspired artist and musician Colin Frangicetto would certainly work, as could something a little more abstract, like a print by painter Sarah Butsavage. Or, for your friend who tends to trip in a cramped apartment and complains about the lack of nature, a book of National Geographic photography can be an awesome addition to their psychedelic tool kit, such as Rarely Seen or Spectacle.
Any seasoned psychonaut will tell you that the right mood lighting can make or break a trip — so help enhance their next one with the gift of killer lighting. Some easy and classic options include fairy lights, LED strip lights in different colors, a disco ball, lava lamp, or light projecting lamp. But for the tech-obsessed psychonaut in your life, try a set of smart light bulbs that change color and hook up to Siri or Alexa, like the Philips Hue.
Pro tip: Changing the color or brightness of the lights is a great way to quickly change the vibe during a psychedelics-enhanced experience, and programming different colors in individual rooms can be a welcomed edition to any set and setting.
Trip Activities Kit
If you want to get your friend a stocking or goody bag of less expensive items that will still benefit a trip, I’ve got a ton of recommendations of things to include. For one, I think art supplies like crayons or paint – or even black light paint — with a nice, blank notebook or an intricate adult coloring book, like this mandala coloring book — could be a great start. You might also want to include some sensory toys, like gak, goo, or silly putty, especially the kind with sparkles. Glow sticks, kaleidoscopes, face paint, and glitter can also be fun additions, as can hula hoops, Slinkys, and other tactile party supplies.
For your more ceremony-oriented friend, candles, crystals, and palo santo or sage would be thoughtful presents, as could sound bowls, tuning forks and a drum or rattle. I’d also say throwing in a CBD preroll, like The Botanical Joint, could be a fun addition, but be warned that adding high-THC cannabis products to a trip can make things intense and even unpredictable.
Drug Checking Kits
Not to be confused with a urine-based drug test, drug checking kits test substances for purity. Available for testing LSD and MDMA, these kits are super useful gifts to ensure your loved ones are being as safe as possible with their substance use.
Sold by the harm reduction organization DanceSafe, these kits are crucial for making sure you only ingest intended drugs and not additives and other cutting agents. DanceSafe also provides fentanyl testing strips and cocaine purity tests to keep all your friends and family safe this holiday season.
Capsule Making Kit
For the microdoser in your life, or the mushroom user who can’t stand the taste of the raw fungi, a capsule making kit could be a very useful present. These sets make it easy to take a consistent amount of mushrooms (or any powdered substance), without having to taste 'em. They’re sold on Midwest Grow Kits and Amazon.
Another nice addition would be to get your friend a kitchen or jewelry scale, to help ensure accurate dosing. Just make sure the scale can read measurements as small as 0.1 gram (100 milligrams) or less. Happy holidaze!