How Psychedelic Drugs Can Help You Get in Touch with Your Soul
The Beatles were able to revolutionize music with the help of LSD, but what many don’t realize is that the drug also inspired one of today’s most powerful icons: Steve Jobs reported that dropping acid “was one of the two most important things” he had done in his life. Had he never tripped, you might not have your iPhone today.
Despite the bad rep they have, psychedelic drugs such as LSD and psilocybin mushrooms not only have legitimate therapeutic uses, but they can also boost creativity and help create positive, long-lasting changes to your worldview.
“I feel like it’s really misrepresented in the news,” Matt*, an Ithaca College student, said of his experience tripping. “We hear stories every day about some kid who jumped out of a window or off a building because he thought he could fly. But you never see a story like, ‘Kid takes acid, realizes the meaning of life, that he is one with the world, and rises to new personal heights.’”
Unlike most illegal drugs, LSD and mushrooms are mostly risk-free. Beth Caldwell, assistant professor of psychology at Ithaca College, said that “LSD is the safest drug that exists on our planet. Psilocybin doesn’t have the same therapeutic window that LSD does, but they are remarkably safe drugs.”
According to Caldwell, Ibogaine, an unpleasant psychedelic from Africa, “has been reported to be successful in some cases” at curing heroin addiction. Another substance, psilocybin, has been found to be able to eliminate fear of death in terminally ill patients.
The only risk associated with tripping is the possibility of a bad trip. If you’re prone to depression or other mental disorders, a bad trip could be harmful, but if your psyche is healthy, Matt said, a bad trip can still be a positive experience in the long run.
“Bad experiences can be good, too,” he said. “There can be a lot of personal revelation.”
Many people think that all there is to a trip is seeing fantastic visuals, but people who take psychedelics solely to live in a Disney movie will be disappointed.
“You look at it expecting it’s just that kind of intoxication, but it’s not,” Matt said. “My thought process is normally very clear, very heightened and very intense. I think it can be a little overwhelming, and I think that’s why a lot of people have bad experiences. They’re not really aware of how much thinking is going to happen.”
Another IC student, Roy,* compared his acid trip to guitar effects.
“It kind of takes all of your senses and distorts them with different effects,” he said. “There’s a lot of modulation with it, like reverb, phaser, delay and chorus.”
Tripping is typically not about the visual experience, but rather the profound ways in which it changes your thought processes. According to Matt, being on acid “is very heady, very introspective. It clears out all of the garbage in your head. It’s a lot easier to integrate everything you perceive into a complete picture.”
Matt’s heightened cognition led to him making one of the biggest decisions of his life — his career path — while tripping.
“I didn’t really have any idea what I was doing in college until my first acid trip last year,” he said. “It really finalized my decision to teach, and it really dedicated me to the idea of graduate school. I really wasn’t sure if I was ready for the commitment, but I had this moment where I realized I have a true interest in something. Being aware of that, I decided I need to actually invest in it, pursue it, and try to exploit it, because I saw a lot of people around me just sort of having it and just putting it secondary.”
Matt’s devotion to a long-term goal demonstrates the ability of these drugs to make you see the big picture. While it may not the most conventional or legal approach to making a decision, dropping a tab of acid may facilitate the soul-searching you need to make a decision that you can be happy with.
Tripping can be described as a combination of a wildly changed thought processes and cool visual experiences, but ultimately, no explanation can truly capture the experience.
Roy agreed: “You kind of have to do it to understand.”
* Names have been changed