Tip: Although acts of violence or self-harm are unusual while tripping, tell someone as soon as possible if you are having any thoughts about harming yourself or someone else — you are not thinking clearly and indulging in these thoughts may have regrettable consequences. If someone else who is tripping seems at risk of harming themselves or someone else, get help immediately. Call 911 if necessary.
Incidentally, accidents that occur under the influence of hallucinogens can also happen as the result of delusions that are not part of a bad trip — people occasionally develop delusional beliefs that can lead them into danger, such as believing that they can fly or that they can safely climb to dangerous heights, or that running into traffic is not dangerous. These kinds of delusions are unusual, but serious injuries and deaths have happened in these situations, and it is impossible to predict how a hallucinogen will affect you.
Bad trips vary a great deal, from mild to intense, and can range from upsetting and overwhelming thoughts to frightening hallucinations and delusions that can lead to accidents.
Although it is not possible to “switch off” the effects of hallucinogenic drugs, a bad trip can be transformed into a more positive experience if the person having the trip is open to being supported or comforted. Often, lying down and listening to soothing music in the presence of a calm support person can help.
Tip: Usually, people who are tripping are aware that these hallucinations are the effects of a drug, and can be reassured that what they are seeing is part of the trip.
Previously positive or neutral interpretations of life or relationships can suddenly become negative. Someone having a bad trip might feel that their life is worthless, that they or someone else they normally feel fine about is bad or acting against them, or that the whole world is bad or corrupt. These feelings can be all-consuming and can cause the person having a bad trip to panic and try and get away from the people around them.
Tip: Generally, it is unwise to allow someone who is having a bad trip to go off on their own, but be aware that acting confrontational or following them may increase their feelings of antagonism or paranoia. Try to have a trusted friend accompany them, saying they want to help them stay safe. However, a stranger who comes across as caring, genuine and calm may be more acceptable. Although involving police or medical personnel may be highly upsetting for someone having a bad trip, it is preferable to having them hurt themselves.
None of these beliefs are correct—although sometimes they can provide a false sense of security and a carefree attitude that can help keep the mood positive. However, the more times you take psychedelic drugs, the more likely you are to eventually have a bad trip, which could even include thinking the very same “safe” people can no longer be trusted. If this happens, it can be upsetting both for the person experiencing it, and for their companions, who can feel powerless to help.
The most intense period of the trip typically occurs from one hour to three hours after the drug is consumed, so time will usually ease the most intense aspects of the trip, but the effects will often continue for an additional six to twelve hours after that, during which time the person will not be able to sleep.
A bad trip is an unpleasant experience that can happen after taking psychedelic drugs such as lysergic acid (LSD) or magic mushrooms.
Now that you know how to take care of yourself during a bad trip, it’s always useful to know how to help your friends. This will ensure you and your mates have the most enjoyable experience possible.
First of all, be present, but not obsessive. The last thing your buddy needs is someone telling him/her to breathe every five seconds. Make sure you ask the obvious questions once, and that’s it. Ask if they need anything to drink/eat, or if they need help going somewhere else. Be sure your friend actually wants you there. Don’t take it personally if they want to be left alone; it is perfectly normal.
Be sure you’re in a comfortable setting. Being too high at a family dinner is the perfect recipe for a crazy trip. The same will happen if you’re in the streets, paranoid that the cops might show up. Just be honest with yourself and you’ll already minimise the chances of having a bad trip. Surround yourself with people you enjoy being around and who won’t judge you. Having uncomfortable strangers in the group will not help you relax if the weed comes on strong.
It will also be ideal to dedicate a safe place where you can relax by yourself if need be. Making sure you have a quiet room in the house or a car near your sesh spot will surely help reduce your anxiety. And finally, make sure you eat well and hydrate yourself throughout the sesh. This will keep your body under less stress, and may very well minimise the effects of the high to begin with.
It can indeed be a very unsettling sensation when you don’t know what is going on. Being “too high” is never a good thing. You can always wait it out while focussing on the thought that you won’t be the first ever person to die from a marijuana overdose. But in case this event occurs more often than you’d like, we’re here to teach you how to prevent bad trips from happening.
Don’t watch TV or listen to music. This may only stress your eyes and head. Close your eyes if you don’t feel it increases the dizziness and nausea. When you feel capable and slightly back in control, talk to a friend. Go outside for a bit and try to distract yourself. Next thing you know, you’ll be taking a few tokes in the squad’s next rotation.
For instance, edibles are known for taking longer to kick-in, yet the high is often more intense and longer-lasting. It is always important to go slow when trying a new form of cannabis.
Symptoms of a bad trip will vary, but there are some commonly reported instances. One possible symptom will be a numb feeling on your face. This may be paired with sweating, shortness of breath, and a pale look. If you don’t know what is going on, it is normal to feel scared. This fear may be followed by some stomach discomfort, which might lead you to vomit. However, it will depend on your specific conditions. Being unsettled by this discomfort is what usually leads people to throw up. Our stomachs are very deeply connected to our nervous systems, and these psychological feelings will morph into physical ones if you keep thinking about them.
With such a wide range of causes for this discomforting situation, it’s very hard to say with confidence which preventative methods will be 100% effective. What we can do is give you a few tips that are known to help or at least provide peace of mind (which is extremely important during a bad trip).
Almost every stoner has experienced a bad weed