9 Common Mistakes: 

1. Not considering safety and contraindications

  • Plant medicines can (and often are) highly useful and healing to many people, but there are certain situations, medical/pre-existing conditions, medications, etc. that need to be taken into consideration before a person engages with these modalities.  

 

2. Not thinking about set and setting

  • Your mindset prior to entering into a journey on plant medicines can have a large impact on the experience. Setting is equally important, as the mind and body need to feel safe and secure in order to relax and allowing healing and exploration to occur. 

 

3. Not testing substances

  • Unfortunately we are currently in an era of prohibition (though that seems to be changing), and as such these medicines are not regulated. It is important that you know and trust your source, and where possible test the substances you are taking.

 

4. Not knowing the dose

  • Dosing some medicines can be as simple as weighing them (though potency can be different), but with other medicines it can be difficult to know the dosage. One good rule of thumb is to take a small amount first and see how it affects you if you are unsure of the dosage.  

 

5. Not having a plan and doing your research

  • Most of the “bad trips” that I have heard of are a result of one or more of the following: 

    • Not having a well-thought out and intentional plan

    • Taking a substance that they weren’t totally sure what it was (or unsure of the dose)

    • Not taking the medicine in an appropriate setting 

 

6. Not vetting facilitators

  • There are a lot of facilitators, practitioners, shamans, etc. out there, and like anything else some are better and more concerned about your well-being than others. Consider whether they talk about safety, what their background is, do they have personal experience engaging with the medicine, what does your intuition tell you, etc. 

 

7. Remember that you are on a drug

  • This may sound over-simplified, but once you have experienced a journey on plant medicine you will understand. The experiences a person has can (and often do) feel hyper-real, and you can lose your grounding in time and space. This can be a bit of a difficult experience for some, depending on your level of familiarity and comfort with non-ordinary states of consciousness. However, this is a part of the process and can be beautiful if one can surrender to it. 

 

8. Not having support or a sitter

  • I feel this is important for most (if not all) journeys, but particularly if this is your first time. These can be profound experiences and having someone there to hold the space and help you remain somewhat grounded (especially as you come back down) can be the difference between a positive and less desirable experience.  

 

9. Not having an integration plan

  • Most of the time people choose to engage with these altered states of consciousness in order to provide some sort of healing, expand their consciousness, develop enlightened perspectives, etc. and bringing these experiences into your daily life can be difficult. Working with a knowledgeable practitioner that can help you properly prepare for and successfully integrate these wonderful experiences into your life is often the difference between having an interesting experience vs. a truly life-changing event.