Psychedelic users describe deep existential and life-altering insights resulting from even the worst trips. As a result, they have devised strategies to reframe these bad experiences and turn them into positive ones. Whether they use LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, or DMT, they all cite life-altering insights as to the main reason for their continued use.
A Small Study Suggests
Most psychedelic users report that their worst psychedelic experiences are life-altering, but the worst ones can be equally terrifying. Participants report feeling paranoid, panicked, or entirely out of control during psychotic episodes, and the term “bad trip” is often used to refer to such experiences. Although the drug culture does not widely accept this term, it is a valuable way to distinguish psychedelic culture insiders from outsiders. Though some participants reject the term “bad trip,” most argue that even the most horrifying experiences can lead to life-altering insights.
Despite the stigma of psychedelics, they are a powerful tool for personal growth. Researchers say that even bad trips can lead to life-altering insights. The Fireside Project’s Psychedelic Peer Support Line is designed to provide free support and information to those having a bad trip. Its Co-Founder and Director, Joshua White, believe that any psychedelic experience can be a powerful tool for personal growth.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Drug Policy in January 2017, psychedelic users usually frame their bad trips as life-altering experiences by using storytelling to find meaning in them. Because humans have a natural ability to make sense of their environment, bad trips can be reframed as life-altering and potentially transformative experiences.
Deep Existential and Life-Altering Insights
Psychedelics can help alleviate multidimensional suffering. The use of psychedelics may change people’s beliefs about their existence, purpose in life, and many other aspects of their lives. Moreover, psychedelics can help heal and transform their underlying psyche. These insights are often referred to as ‘psychedelic experiences.’
The use of psychedelics has long been associated with developing various psychological traits. One of these traits is trait absorption, which measures the differential propensity of individuals to experience states of flow and immersion. This trait is closely related to the underlying genetic polymorphism for the serotonin-2A receptor, a classic psychedelic target. Other characteristics associated with suggestibility include ‘peer conformity’ and ‘identity fusion.
A psychedelic user’s dream may reveal ambivalence about how to integrate these insights. Throughout the psychedelic experience, the woman learns to listen to her inner voice. Until then, she had focused on ensuring her family’s happiness. But, she also discovered a thirst for a more creative life. During her LSD trip, she decided to change her priorities. She pursues a lucrative career and is a doting wife, but she is also searching for ways to further her creative expression.
Psychedelics may also help people with rigid thinking and stereotyped patterns of thought. As such, psychedelics can disrupt stereotyped behavior and thought patterns and promote more creative ways of thinking. While psychedelics may be dangerous, there are some definite benefits. It can be an invaluable tool for scientific research and healing. However, if used responsibly, psychedelics can lead to profound existential and life-changing insights.
Reframe Bad Trips Into Positive Experiences
Psychedelic users often frame their bad trips as valuable, even if they were scary or uncomfortable. They use storytelling to create meaning out of their traumatic experiences, which may also serve as a coping mechanism. Researchers suggest that the process might help drug users understand their experiences and make sense of them. Besides, humans often make sense of the world by creating stories and reliving them as if they were positive experiences.
Researchers from Norway interviewed 50 psychedelic drug users about their bad trips. They found that more than half of these participants were in their early twenties and had used hallucinogens ten to fifty times. Most participants had used psilocybin and LSD. The researchers used open-ended questions to extract details about participants’ negative experiences, including what they were scared of, how they felt, and how they reacted after the experience.
The Psychedelic Users Rated Their Worst Trips as Their Best Experiences
While the psychedelic experience can be transformative, some users claim that a bad trip can lead to a more negative experience. These users describe experiencing a variety of uncomfortable, frightening experiences, including repressed feelings and panic attacks. Others report gaining new insights and developing a new outlook on life. While not all experiences are positive, some participants say that even the worst trips provided life-changing insights.
While the psilocybin experience can lead to visions, feelings of belonging, and connection to the world, many people also describe it as a profound spiritual transformation. Psychedelic users say their trips produced adverse side effects, but they often return with life-changing insights. In a recent study, researchers from Johns Hopkins University surveyed almost 2,000 people and found that half rated their worst experiences as their best experiences.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, even bad trips can have life-changing implications. Many people report feeling “on fire,” aggressively questioning their lives, and experiencing crippling paranoia. In this study, Liridona Gashi, Sveinung Sandberg, and Willy Pedersen found that psychedelic users often used storytelling to interpret these challenging experiences and transform them into positive ones.
Bad Trips Helped Users Prevent Adverse Reactions
Researchers and clinicians have tried to minimize the potential adverse effects of psychedelics by avoiding them. While many people say that even bad trips help prevent adverse reactions, they also believe that these experiences can have a therapeutic value. The fireside hotline was created to help people process experiences, especially when sober. However, even bad trips have adverse effects, and a fireside supervisor cannot predict all experiences.
While the drugs change the brain’s chemistry, they also raise or decrease neurotransmitters. These changes can be positive or negative. A bad trip occurs when too much of a drug is consumed and causes chemical changes. This leads to abnormal brain signals. When these abnormal changes occur, the brain interprets them as bad. And if you have a bad trip, the best way to prevent it is to go with a good friend. It also helps to avoid places or people that might trigger adverse reactions.
Psychedelic Users Found Meaning in Bad Trips
A recent study by Johns Hopkins University researchers asked participants about their experiences with psilocybin, a potent psychoactive drug. The researchers found that many users of psychedelic drugs reframed their bad trips as valuable experiences. Whether these negative experiences were positive or negative, many users described them as helping them work through personal issues and transform their outlook on life. Nevertheless, some people blamed the bad experiences on their incompetence.
Fortunately, many psychedelic users were aware of their potential risks and formulated strategies to find meaning in bad trips. The narrow definition of a bad trip served regulatory goals but was ultimately counterproductive to understanding how psychedelic users reacted to their experiences. As a result, users developed strategies to reflect on the negative aspects of their experiences without focusing on the psychotic effects of the drug.
After the study was published, the first significant shift occurred in attitudes towards psychedelics. Some individuals had feared that these drugs would make them violent or unstable, while others argued that they were necessary for healing. Nonetheless, these people found meaning in bad trips and subsequently embraced the use of psychedelics as a means to achieve their goals. The shift in attitudes toward these drugs had significant implications for the history of psychedelics, including the use of these substances.