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Bad Mushroom Trips May Be Good For Your Mind

Humans have been consuming psychoactive substances throughout recorded history and prehistory. Around the world, magic mushrooms are some of the more popular psychedelic substances due to their availability in the natural world and potent effects. People eat the psychoactive mushrooms for good reason: recent studies have shown that controlled mushroom “trips” can have beneficial effects on an individual’s outlook or even make social interactions easier.

Psychoactive mushrooms have been used in religious ceremonies and other rites since the dawn of civilization.

Psychoactive mushrooms have been used in spiritual ceremonies and other rites since the dawn of civilization.

To make mushrooms even more appealing to trip seekers, some new clinical research published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology shows that even “bad trips” can be beneficial for psychonauts. In a study of close to 2,000 experienced magic mushroom users conducted by Johns Hopkins University researchers, 84% of psychoactive mushroom users reported that they benefited from a bad trip.

The Amanita muscaria, not recommended for first-timers. Unless you like getting real smaaaalll....

The Amanita muscaria, not recommended for first-timers. Unless you like getting real smaaaalll….

So-called “bad trips” are terrifying mental states that occur when fear or anger takes over a psychonaut’s mental state during her trip. These states are often difficult to come out of, and can induce severe anxiety, paranoia, and the dreaded “thinkies.” Despite the mental horror of bad trips, close to 75% of survey subjects who reported experiencing a bad trip also reported a boost in their subsequent sense of emotional well-being or satisfaction with life.

Survey subjects reported that mushroom trips were some of the most psychological powerful and magical experiences of their lives.

Survey subjects reported that mushroom trips were some of the most psychological powerful and magical experiences of their lives. Sounds about right…

Well over half of the subjects felt that their bad trips were among the most difficult psychological situations they have ever encountered. According to Psypost, nearly a third of all participants reported that despite the difficulty, these bad trips trips were some of the most magical experiences of their lives:

34 percent of participants said the bad trip was among the top five most personally meaningful experiences of their life and 31 percent said it was the among the top five most spiritually significant.

Survey subjects reported that the amount of benefit correlated with how difficult their trips were. However, before you go giving yourself a mind-bendingly terrifying bad trip on purpose, heed the researchers’ warning:

It is important to note that risks of dangerous behavior or enduring psychological problems are extremely low in laboratory studies of psilocybin with carefully screened, well-prepared participants who are supported during and after psilocybin administration.

Hear that kids? Get outta my cow pasture and go play your Pokémon GO or whatever.

Yeah, they really grow there.

Yeah, they really grow there.

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  • Nick C

    So-called “bad trips”, or rather more appropriately, ‘difficult experiences,’ are impossible to describe to someone who’s never had one. You wouldn’t believe exactly how difficult they really are. It’s the absolute most profound sense of hopelessness and being completely alone–even if you’re with people–not even questioning your sanity but just knowing that it’s gone, and it’s the single most frightening and horrific thing I’ve ever experienced, and I’ve had my share of difficult experiences. However, difficult experiences with psychedelics are quite analogous to everyday life in some ways, for instance, since when have you done anything in life that was 100% fun and easy and also benefitted from it on a real deep and meaningful level? Maybe never? It’s the struggles in life and the difficult things that really allow us to grow, and psychedelic trips are no different in that respect. The fun and easy trips are awesome and mind-blowing, but the deepest and most meaningful growth comes to you from the uncomfortable, even sometimes terrifying stuff. You survive it and get this sense of invincibility and unbelievably profound gratitude afterwords. Beyond that, it’s like your computer has been restarted and defragmented. People often swear off cigarettes and alcohol and drugs and egotistical behaviors and become better, healthier people after coming back from difficult experiences.
    This is why I don’t use the phrase “bad trip.” Sure, a difficult experience seems like the worst possible thing ever while it’s happening, but it’s without a doubt one of the most beneficial types of experiences I’ve ever had doing anything in life, and I couldn’t call anything I’ve learned and grown from “bad.” It’s indeed incredibly challenging and horrific and scary and difficult, but in the big picture it’s actually a very ‘good’ thing to have happen to you so long as you can allow yourself to grow from it and integrate what you learned from it into the rest of your life and your personality. That’s all that matters at the end of the day, and that’s not actually bad at all! <3