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A Comprehensive Guide to Psychedelics Etiquette

By Justin Caffier on August 20, 2017

Though illegal drugs carry with them the sordid and vulgar baggage of their production, transportation and sale from farm to table, one mustn’t ever use those unfortunate circumstances as an excuse for poor manners. Below, you’ll find a handy manners guide for purchasing, consuming and sharing hallucinogens while maintaining both dignity and social graces.

Whether participating in an ancient and natural sacrament, or following in the footsteps of psychonaut scientists, opening one’s doors of perception can be a harrowing and exhausting journey. Upholding the rules of etiquette while the very fabric of space and time is unweaving right in front of you is a feat that’s easier said than done.

Hopefully, by reviewing the following rules before your next trip, be it on mushrooms, acid or DMT, you’ll carve out deep enough synaptic grooves that’ll guide your corporeal form through the ropes with civility while your psyche floats away to meet God.

Purchase

- Use your dealer’s preferred encrypted messaging app of choice and/or adhere to their rules about what words are and aren’t allowed in pre-deal communications.

- When planning to trip at an event, purchase your (and your group’s) drugs beforehand, if at all possible.

- When a group member is acting as the intermediary and buying in bulk for the group, do your best to digitally transfer them the money for your portion as early as possible, preferably before the sale. Ideally, little to none of this friend’s personal finances will get dragged into the transaction.

- Furthermore, if you’ve turned to a friend outside of the event group as your dealer intermediary, not only should you pay up front as stated above, but the exchange should be regarded as a personal favor to you, warranting a tangible token of appreciation (drink, lunch, gift, etc.).

- If payment to the group’s intermediary must be done at the time of the event, have your cash ready to turn over immediately, before they dispense your portion.

- When buying from a stranger at the event, exercise good judgment when finding a source as a costly mistake with an undercover police officer will hamper the enjoyment of the entire group, not just the arrested party.

- When sourcing acid or mushrooms at an event, look for out-there interpretive dancers as an entry point for potential sales but wait until a lull in their movement to politely inquire about a lead.

Sharing

- Offering a drop, blotter, cap, etc. to a stranger or dance partner, gratis, should be done so with no expectations or strings attached.

- If someone is not interested in accepting your gift, do not force the issue or peer pressure them.

- That said, it is incredibly rude to accept drugs (or any gift) from a stranger only to disappear into the crowd after. As a rule of thumb, if the exchange involves no money, the recipient should be prepared to offer their company for at least another song or set.

- Dosing someone without their knowledge is definitely unethical, probably criminal, and all around unchill. Don’t do it. This includes giving “bonus” drops of LSD to recipients who haven’t assented to the extra amount.

- When taking shrooms as a group, your water, orange juice or other drink is community property for as long as it takes to ingest the dry, powdery, shit-coated fungus.

- Don’t be stingy with the gum you’ve brought for the occasion. If you haven’t brought your own, it is perfectly acceptable to ask both friends and strangers if they have a piece to spare.

Usage

- Know your limits. Don’t overdo it. Not just for your own health but because your overdose will negatively impact the event for your friends and those around you. These things don’t really expire so, if you have an extra and the night’s winding down, consider just saving it.

- If uncertain about exact dosage or potencies, err on the side of taking less not more, as the probability of becoming a chore to your cohort(s) increases along with your intake amount.

- Do NOT do DMT at a crowded event and don’t let friends do DMT at a crowded event.

- You should have no obligations for at least the next 12 hours.

- If tripping on a whim, tell a significant other ahead of time so they’re not worried about you, should you not check in.

- As with most drugs, hydration is essential, and it is never a bad idea to check in on the hydration of others, offering water if you have it.

- Be cognizant of your surroundings while dancing, moving through crowds and interacting with strangers. Your good time must not infringe upon the good time of someone else.

- Avoid bringing up negative topics of conversation before and during a trip.

- Avoid commenting on anyone’s appearance while they are tripping.

- Avoid commenting on how much or how little someone else appears to be tripping.

- If having a weak or bunk trip, avoid vocalizing your disappointment, lest it negatively impact someone else’s better trip. Accept the situation, knowing it might still turn for the better, and use your relative sobriety to enhance the trips of the other group members.

- If hosting a trip, tidy up the space beforehand and set up cozy nooks if possible.

- Any questionable words or actions performed while under the influence of a psychoactive substance should be disregarded and not brought up again when sober, unless at the behest of the performing party.

- If tripping in public, remind the group that the less spoken, the better.

- If in public, do not remove your clothes and prevent others in the party from doing so.

- If clothes are removed in a private setting, try to not sexualize the situation.

- If the removal of clothes does result in a sexualized situation, remember that substances are never an excuse for infidelity.

- When guiding a less experienced tripper, make it a priority to check in on them from time to time, offering words of encouragement and overall positivity.

- If a fellow tripper is having a bad time, remind them that these thoughts and feelings are temporary and will end soon and otherwise reassure them.

- If attempts to anchor someone having a bad trip fail, take them to a bed and tuck them in, encouraging them to lie down and close their eyes, offering a glass of water and a Xanax, if one is available.

- Should the person having a bad trip demand to go home, remind them that they are not being held against their will and are free to leave if they must, but the group promised each other that they'd stick together, and everyone would very much like them to stay. Should they insist, call them an Uber so that they are not behind the wheel. Don't forget to make sure they have their house keys before sending them off.

- If you, yourself, begin to have a bad trip, let the most seasoned member of the group know so that they can nip it in the bud and help guide you through it. If there is no apparent veteran, tell your closest compatriot instead.

- If tripping for the first time, let others know, rather than inflating your experience level. This allows them to most accurately gauge your state-of-mind throughout the experience and assist accordingly.

- Similarly, veteran trippers should prioritize facilitating the best possible inaugural experience for first time trippers within the group.

- Comfort, privacy and beauty are the most desirable traits to consider when selecting a trip location. A spacious living room, secluded forest or desert campsite, aquarium and outdoor music festival are all examples of great spots for a trip.

- Avoid tripping in confining locations with large numbers of sober people, or in situations where you'll be expected to engage with serious topics. Some examples of bad settings include funerals, flights, court appearances, at your own wedding, while hunting, at a slaughterhouse, at the circus (Cirque du Soleil is the exception), at a political rally, in space, around your parents, around ISIS, lost at sea.

General

- If taking the initiative to introduce a particular song, video or other piece of art into the situation, do your best to gauge and cater to the overall mood of the group, rather than individual preferences.

- Do not sit down in the middle of dance floors or heavily foot-trafficked areas. 

- Conversely, keep your eyes to the ground while walking so as to avoid stepping on anyone.

- Don’t take photos of unaware friends in compromising tripped out states.

- Even if you are comfortable and open about your safe, responsible and recreational usage of a drug, it is not your place to out anyone else’s.

- While tripping, stay off your phone/the computer and encourage others to do the same.

- Don’t break the law in other ways while breaking the law by tripping.

As with any recreational drug, make sure the substance is there to enhance your good time, not act as the sole source of it. It should also go without saying that the manners and niceties of the non-drug arena remain in play alongside these more specific rules. Don’t forget the magic words you were taught at a young age. “Please,” “thank you,” “you’re welcome,” “excuse me,” and “I’m sorry” are just as appropriate and impactful in the 5th dimension as they were at finishing school.

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