December 15, 2021
December 14, 2021
The Psychedelic Vacation: Tripping Without the Travel
As psychedelics enter a new era of healing and spirituality, vacationing may be in the form of a much shorter but more powerful trip.
Feeling in the dumps once again this holiday season? Well, you’re not alone. As new variants of COVID-19 continue to threaten travel and get-togethers, folks, more so now than ever, are looking forward to some much-needed respite.
But, is a tropical vacation in a faraway country with sandy beaches and tiki bars the answer to all troubles? While traveling is often considered a glorified privilege, the realities of it can be far from pleasant. Many people often claim to be stressed out even before the trip has started. From packing to airport hopping, sunburns, and bitter bickering, the ideal vacation is only that found in movies.
What if there was another way you could rest, refresh, and reboot your energy, focus, and inspiration? Perhaps another type of trip might just be the ticket — one without the travel. As psychedelics enter a new era of healing and spirituality, macrodosing seems more mainstream than ever.
Rebooting the Mind With Macrodosing
First, please note that this article is not intended to provide medical advice. It’s also important to note that certain psychedelic substances are scheduled or controlled substances in countries like Canada and the US, meaning their use and possession are illegal and that they have no recognized medical value.
While microdosing may be increasing in popularity as an anecdotally suggested productivity and focus booster, it’s not the ideal way forward for people who wish to avoid long-term usage. On the other hand, macrodosing is the perfect one-stop-shop solution for rebooting the mind. Also known as the heroic dose, macrodosing consists of ingesting a full dose — usually of LSD or psilocybin — for a heightened psychedelic experience. However, a dive into the deep end of the psychedelic pool does not necessarily warrant a positive experience for everyone.
While a higher dose has more potential for ensuring ego dissolution or producing a transcendental spiritual experience, it can also be stressful and frightening for some without proper support and guidance. Psychedelics primarily target the Default Mode Network of the brain, which is essentially responsible for grounding us in the world around us. Macrodosing dampens the functioning of this region, thereby, collapsing the walls of our psyche which aligns our sense of self with the world around us. This breaking down of boundaries allows people to experience an elevated sense of oneness which can help reboot the mind by breaking old thinking patterns and even addictions.
This way of rebooting with psychedelics can have a relatively lasting impact. For example, a longitudinal study exploring the effect of psilocybin on cancer patients diagnosed with depression and anxiety found noticeable reductions in feelings of hopelessness, depressive and anxious symptoms, and existential distress. Quality of life and spiritual well-being had also improved. These results remained consistent in 80% of the sample even after a 6-month and 3-years follow-up. Quite the improvement from “forever dosing” pharmaceuticals that only manage symptoms, without treating root issues.
In another experiment, it was found that veterans, firefighters, and police officers experiencing PTSD were virtually symptom-free after just two sessions of MDMA-assisted therapy. Similarly, there is a plethora of anecdotal evidence supporting macrodosing, including that from ancient times where shamanic rituals and rites of passage used psychedelics to support healing.
Notably, many also caution against using psychedelics in a non-clinical or uncontrolled setting. For instance, Michael Pollan, who delved into the world of macrodosing in his book How to Change Your Mind, emphasizes the importance of a clinical setting with an experienced guide to support the psychedelic journey. The intensity of a trip from a large dose of hallucinogen can have lasting effects on the psyche.
Tips for Tripping Safely
Before embarking on a psychedelic staycation, it’s important to stress the need to prepare. Remember, macrodosing is more than just dipping your toes in the psychedelic pool of well-being and far from stepping into a kaleidoscope, as depicted in much media. It’s often about confronting something deep with you, and that is work. So, while psychedelics could help your mentality in the long run, the trip can be a trek of its own.
Here are some basic tips to help you prioritize safety when taking a psychedelic vacation from the comfort of your home:
- Potential for “in Between” Doses?
There is a reason happy mediums exist. If you’re not ready to jump into the deep end of the psychedelic pool, then opting for something between a microdose and a macrodose may work to your benefit. Depending on the choice of psychedelic, the medium dose can vary. For example, with mushrooms, a medium dose is said to range between one to four grams. The best part is that the effects are similar to a full dose but a notch down in intensity.
- Don’t Do It Alone: Grab a Friend
A trip (psychedelic or not) with a friend is always better. But from a psychedelic vacation perspective, it’s perhaps one of the most important things. Tripping on a higher dose has the potential for danger, so having a trusted — and sober — friend around for support and safety is always a good idea.
- Don’t Take Set & Setting for Granted
If you're going on a psychedelic vacation, you might as well spruce up the surroundings a bit. Channel your inner interior decorator and put together a comfortable, safe, and supportive space. Set and setting play a huge role in your journey, not only for safety, but also for efficacy and direction.
- For starters, make sure the environment is not too bright, noisy, or high-traffic.
- You may also want to have some snacks and water around because some trips may last longer than anticipated.
- Finally, practitioners also recommend having something to doodle on because some folks may find it helpful to draw or write as a means of dealing with their feelings.
- Take notes throughout your journey, including mood fluctuations, thoughts, and realizations.
- Build In Ample Down Time
Remember you are on vacation (of sorts!), so you may want to put the clocks away. Psychedelic journeys can vary in length. Therefore, it’s always best to have ample downtime built into your session. Besides, every experience is different. Some might start feeling the effects sooner while others may take a while. In either case, you don't want to be bogged down by a tight schedule.
- Be Prepared for Intense Emotion: Good & Bad
A psychedelic experience should always be purposeful. Having a clear intention before starting can ground you in place — not to be confused with having expectations, which can derail an effective trip. Intentions help prepare you to face the array of emotions that may arise. From pure euphoria to super sadness, a psychedelic trip can be an emotional roller coaster ride. Experts have suggested that these emotions and experiences be embraced and accepted, rather than fought.
Psychedelic Retreats: A Travel Alternative?
The travel industry may have taken a hit because of COVID-19, but the psychedelic world is booming with potential.
Ayahuasca, peyote, and other psychedelic retreat spots are gaining attention from people seeking to detox from their everyday stressors, which are now amplified because of a full-blown pandemic. Tropical vacations are now being repurposed to integrate metaphysical self-discovery, mental well-being, and spiritual healing.
These retreats focus on building immersive experiences in a safe, supportive, and stress-free environment that propels one’s growth journey with the help of expert guides and trip sitters. For example, many iboga retreats are surrounded by nature in the Bahamas, Mexico, and Portugal. Projections by Data Bridge Market Research suggest the psychedelic market to easily hit $10.7 billion by 2028.
That said, although psychedelics are still largely illegal in many parts of the world, it is not stopping the industry from sharing its benefits with the wider population. For example, the British Psychedelic Society has been operating retreats in Jamaica and the Netherlands since 2016.
Of course, the setting of such retreats helps drive interest, the geography and travel don’t help with access around such healing experiences.
While regulations in places like Mexico and South America don’t restrict people from undergoing psychedelic healing, in Canada and the US, psychedelics are only entering clinical trials or being offered to terminally ill individuals with a section 56 exemption. Research into the medical uses of psychedelic substances like ibogaine and MDMA aims to open doors to healing.
MINDCURE’s Ibogaine Project involves manufacturing fully synthetic, pharmaceutical-grade ibogaine for use by researchers and eventually clinicians. Our synthetic ibogaine is intended to help researchers develop upon the current knowledge of ibogaine’s indications, help pinpoint new indications, and measure cardiotoxicity, risks, and dosage. With more research into ibogaine’s uses and the development of protocols, mental health patients won’t need to travel to far-off destinations to obtain the healing powers of ibogaine.
Healing Without Borders: Final Thoughts
Psychedelics are powerful healing tools bestowed upon us by ancient cultures around the world. To ensure their safe usage, it’s always recommended to have a supportive network. MINDCURE’s iSTRYM platform connects home-based healing with a clinical application, thereby ensuring proper protocols and safety measures for both physiological and psychological healing.