Citation: Vancitysurfer. "Fresh Air and Freedom: An Experience with MDMA, Mushrooms & Peyote (exp114426)". Erowid.org. Oct 26, 2020. erowid.org/exp/114426
This is a collection of experiences I’ve gained over the years with various substances. I feel that every experience I have had with each substances has no doubt altered my outlook and understanding of the experiences that preceded them, so I was able to compare and contrast the nature of various substances.
I’m currently 29 years old, 138 pounds, 5 feet 9 inches. I consider myself to be in peak physical health for my age. I rarely touch alcohol, eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, high quality proteins, and drink plenty of green tea. I regularly practise yoga and meditation. Without a shadow of a doubt, my healthy lifestyle has had an impact on my experiences with all the substances I have encountered, as I always make sure I am in a good physical and mental place before I take any drug. I never use substances to “escape” my life, because in general I am content with who I am, and taking psychoactive substances is something I approach with sheer curiosity and reverence.
It seems to be common to included a list of drugs that one has tried, so I will follow that practise here:
Cannabis (smoked, vaped, edibles of all kinds), MDMA, MDA, Mushrooms, Peyote , Salvia, Alcohol (including high-proof moonshine and absinthe), Opium, Cocaine, Methamphetamine (accidentally in supposed “Ecstasy pills”), Valium, and various painkillers (for medical reasons), Dexedrine (and a few other prescription stimulants.)
So looking back on it all in retrospect, I have a pretty broad scope of experiences to judge other substances from. This report will focus on three of the drugs that had the most profound impact on me. MDMA, mushrooms and peyote.
I was a pretty shy kid in school. While I escaped the bullying that many children have to endure, I never would have labelled myself as one of the “cool kids,” nor did I really feel like I had a firm place in the world during my childhood and teenage years (but then again, who dose really.)
When I was in grade 11, one of my friends broached the subject of taking “Molly” at a rave, and how fun an experience it had been. Me and my group of friends regularly smoked marijuana and drank alcohol, but few of us had any experience with anything else. When my aforementioned friend, a few days later pulled out a small bag of white-powdered filled capsules, curiosity got the better of me.
I remember me and three of my friends had all taken a pill, and we were sitting on the benches at our local park, waiting to feel something. I remember it being VERY cold that night (which in retrospect, probably detracted from my enjoyment of experience somewhat, but not to great extent).
All of the sudden, I felt a tightness and surge of energy running up my spine. My body suddenly felt light as a feather, and I got up and started walking around. I remember one of my friends had a portable speaker, and had put on some Chemical Brothers (an electronic music group that I loved even before I tried MDMA). Without any prompting, all of us just began to sway and dance to the music.
Suddenly, we were one. Not a group of friends, but a single entity of love, energy, and connection. I remember the music pulsing around us, and the wind whispering a gentle melody in the trees all around us. Waves of pure energy pulsed through all of us. It was like some force had sundered the barrier that had formerly existed between us, and we were now connecting on a primal yet cerebral level.
It was like some force had sundered the barrier that had formerly existed between us, and we were now connecting on a primal yet cerebral level.
At one point, one of my friends said “Guys, I just have to say, I really love you guys!” We all had a big group hug, and then headed back to my friend's place where we conversed for hours about a variety of different topics. We kept saying to each other how grateful we all were to have each other, and how the world would be such a peaceful place if everyone just did MDMA rather than drinking alcohol, which couldn’t compete with this feeling.
I remember as the high subsided, we all smoked cannabis out of my friends bong, and it felt like sweet nectar as it filled my lungs.
The next day we all felt fine, if a little tired. We made a pact that when we did MDMA again, it would be with each other.
*** Lessons learned from MDMA:
- MDMA definitely changed me and the course of my life, I became more social, and less afraid of meeting new people.
- MDMA can be both a wonderful gift, and a curse, and this aspect is strongly related to frequency of use (I strongly recommend anyone who dabbles with MDMA not to use it more than once per month, as I have seen my friends who abused it absolutely DESTROY their lives financially, socially, and psychologically).
- Taking antioxidants (my regime was lots of green tea, plenty of Vitamin C pills, and freshly made vegetable juice) before, during, and after the high, made a HUGE impact on the recovery period (the recovery was MUCH shorter and more tolerable when my MDMA use was accompanied by some kind of antioxidant regime, which minimized the oxidative stress put on my body by the drug, and correspondingly limited some of the lingering negative after effects I experienced with such a regime).
** Mushrooms (Overseas in Asia)
My initiation to magic mushrooms came when I was 22 years old, while I was backpacking in South-East Asia. I had been staying in a small town in a rural area (Vang Vieng, Laos) and had absolutely fell in love with the country and the people. Although I saw dreadful poverty while I was there, the people were friendly and welcoming, and I ended up staying in the town for three weeks.
One day, I was sitting by the Nam Song song river, a beautiful river that runs through the town, I was watching the rice farmers work their fields with their water buffalo, and chatting with some European backpackers I had befriended wandering through town. I remember one of the backpackers from Finland told me that there was a place where we could get mushroom tea. I was hesitant, but he told me it would be fun. So I said “yes.”
We approached an open air bar that was set up along the river. My Finnish friend had some words with the bar owner, and he quickly brewed us two cups of tea which each had 5 small mushrooms floating in them. We both quickly drank our tea and ate the mushrooms, and then wandered along the river, waiting for it to kick in.
I had never really dabbled in psychedelic drugs up to this point in my life, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. The first signs that I was feeling something is what I would term “Hyper Awareness.” While I had heard from many of my friends that mushrooms make colours brighter and distorts ones perception, I don’t think that is a fully sufficient explanation for the visual experience I have with mushrooms. A feeling that I would come to love about mushrooms (and later with Peyote), there’s this profound feeling that I get where the world around me begins to “wake up”, and slowly, my entire field of vision begins to sing with life. It was then that I realized what all this business of “hearing colours and seeing sounds” was all about. The trickling sound of water seemed to distort the air around it, leaving a gentle aura. The rocks under my feet gave off a low level earthy buzz. The mountains in the distance seemed to hum in deep, low, baritone notes.
During ordinary consciousness, one tends to focus on a particular object or person, while being passively aware of the surrounding visual stimuli. I found that on mushrooms, my ENTIRE field of vision came into focus, as if my mind was in overdrive processing everything in great detail.
As the effects stabilized, me a a few other backpackers went to a luxury resort where you could pay to use to pool and patio, even if you weren’t staying at the hotel. We all paid the receptionist, and walked out to the patio. The view was stunning. The patio was elevated about 30 feet above the river, and on the other side of river were dozens of farming plots, with villagers tilling the rice fields with water buffalo. Behind all the farms were enormous karst mountains (ones which jut almost vertically out of the ground.) The powerful Asian sun set over the mountains, and the entire landscape took on a beautiful amber hue.
After the sunset, all of us had a long conversation about our experiences travelling in other countries, and talked deeply about the politics, philosophy, and religion of Asian culture in contrast with our western culture back home.
The next day, I felt absolutely transformed. I said to some of my new friends how I never realized how much depth and beauty existed in our world, and that MDMA, while enjoyable, never gave me an understanding of my place in the universe as I felt from mushrooms. We all agreed it was one of the most powerful experiences of our lives.
I feel the same way today. I would never see the world the same way again.
*** Lessons learned from Mushrooms:
- Mushrooms are one of the most powerful substances I have encountered, as they inspired in me a great deal of wonder, awe, and respect for the world and the universe, that I didn’t have before I tried them.
- At the same time, I also found mushrooms to be a profoundly gentle drug, without the “hard edges” that often accompany drugs like cocaine, MDMA, and alcohol (such as hard comedowns and post-use depression, feelings of aggression and irritability, etc...).
- Set and setting (one's mental state, and one's surroundings) are absolutely vital in ensuring a positive experience with mushrooms. I have had some truly terrifying experiences when I used mushrooms in threatening environments, and with people who I was not familiar with.
- Although they alter ones perception of reality, I have never found mushrooms to be overly intoxicating compared with other drugs. At moderate doses (2-3 grams) I can have normal conversations with sober people, and behave in a similar manner to that which when I am completely sober. When I tell (sober) people I am with that I consumed mushrooms, they are often surprised, saying that I didn’t appear to be acting in any way different from my sober self.
When I read through the reports, the one thing that fascinated me was how few people (at least the ones who have listed what they have tried), had experimented with Peyote. In Vancouver, Peyote is actually quite easy to come by.
Unlike my first mushroom trip, the setting for my initiation to Peyote was unremarkable, I simply did it by myself in my apartment in downtown Vancouver.
I soaked the slices of peyote in warm water, and consumed the slices together with the water. I can’t begin to emphasize how DISGUSTING this stuff tastes, and the less I go into detail here, the better. Suffice to say, I can see why the Canadian government made an exemption for the use of Peyote in legalizing it, as mankind need not craft any legislation to deter the consumption of this cactus. Just thinking about the taste even now (several years since the experience) makes me quiver.
After consumption, peyote takes awhile to shows its effects, I remember it being almost two hours after ingestion before I felt any effect. But boy, was I in for a ride!
Peyote is a vastly different beast in comparison to mushrooms. Where as mushrooms had a very pronounced playful and happy component, peyote gave me a much more serious vibe. On mushrooms, I tended to see the world through the prism of optimism and cheery sense of awe and wonder. While parts of my experience with Peyote possessed these qualities, the overall trip left me shaken to the core of my soul, as if one has been shaken by a traumatic experience.
The closest thing I can describe peyote to is the afterglow of MDMA high, combined with “Hyper Awareness” that I experienced on mushrooms. I remember going for walk in downtown Vancouver, and seeing the (sadly common) sights of homelessness and drug addiction that plagues our city. While I was sober, I was mostly unfazed by this, as I saw it every day. However, peyote trips some neurolinguistic switch in ones brain, and while under its influence, EVERYTHING I encounter takes on a profound significance. I saw the depth of agony in the faces of all those homeless people, their frustrated ambitions, and sense of yearning and despair. Whereas on mushrooms, I would simply see such people as part of the beautiful human fabric of a beautiful universe, Peyote had a grittier and darker vibe.
The peyote experience itself lasted about 14 hours, and while that duration was much longer than my typical mushroom trips, which averaged about 3-4 hours of intense tripping, the experience consisted of a series of constant flux in intensity. Once the peyote started affecting me, the effects would seemingly strengthen in intensity, and then taper off for a bit, and then strengthen once more.
*** Lessons learned from Peyote:
- Although it shares some elements with mushrooms and MDMA, Peyote was definitetly the darkest substance I have encountered in my life.
- Perhaps more than any other substance I have encountered, Peyote lends its self to intense self-reflection, in which one sees themselves and the world around them in piercing and painful clarity.
- Peyote lacked the anxiety that I sometimes experienced from mushrooms, especially when my environment was perceived to be hostile or threatening. In stark contrast, Peyote at times put me in an aggressive mood, and parts of the trip I had the feeling of having super human strength, in which I felt I was beyond harm (a dangerous mindset in retrospect). In this respect, Peyote overlaps with MDMA, in giving me a sense of fearlessness, however delusional or dangerous.
I dream of a world in which people have the freedom to explore their own human consciousness without fear of punishment. Slowly, I believe that societies across the world are waking up to the power and potential of many currently prohibited substances. Governments are coming to realize that, ironically, the pathologies they hope to prevent by prohibiting these substances, can actually be conquered cured by these substances themselves. As human societies, we collectively face not a war on “drugs,” but a war on ignorance.
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