Found in 10 comments on Hacker News
pmoriarty · 2021-07-07 · Original thread
Why psychedelics help some people and not others is one of the most interesting open research questions.

Still, there are ways that you can maximize your chances of getting therapeutic benefit out of psychedelics.

Doing psychedelics with a trained psychedelic therapist that you like, respect, and trust is probably the most effective way.

Something else you can do is read some good guides like James Fadiman's The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide[1] and the MAPS Treatment Guide for MDMA Assisted Psychotherapy[2]

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pmoriarty · 2020-01-28 · Original thread
For those of you wanting to pick or grow your own mushrooms, I suggest watching Identifying North American Psilocybin Species by Alan Rockefeller.[1] He's immensely knowledgeable on this subject, and covers some interesting legal issues as well.

Also, keep an eye out for upcoming legislation on legalizing psilocybin and/or mushrooms in your local area. Vote and put pressure on your politicians to make this happen, if you believe it should.

To have the best, most constructive experience, I'd strongly recommend reading The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide by James Fadiman.[2]

No brief summary can do this book or the subject of having a good trip justice, but at the very least be sure to have an experienced person you like and trust sit with you during the entire time you're on the substance, and try to carefully prepare for the experience and don't just do it on a whim at a party or a concert. Though such settings could work out, you will maximize your chance of having a good experience by choosing a safe, quiet space, where you won't be disturbed.

Be sure you don't have any other responsibilities for the day of the trip and perhaps the day after as well. Eat lightly the day before and day of the trip. Some people like to fast a bit, though make sure to stay hydrated. Have a clear, specific intention for the trip, and try to take something you've learned from the trip and make it a concrete part of your life afterwards. Depending on what you want to get out of the experience, you might also want to have some pictures of people you care about and maybe a rose to look at near the peak of the trip. There's a lot more to be said about this, and I'd really recommend you read the guide for more. The Secret Chief Revealed, about an underground psychedelic therapist, is another great resource.[3]

If it is going to be your first time, make it really special. You'll never have a first time with this substance again, and you really don't want to squander the opportunity. Some people spend a lot of time later in life chasing the magic of that first time, and it's never the same.

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pmoriarty · 2019-12-13 · Original thread
I'd encourage you to read at least the trip reports on erowid[1] and The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide by James Fadiman.[2] You might also be interested in reading LSD, Spirituality, and the Creative Process: Based on the Groundbreaking Research of Oscar Janiger.[3]

Then, if you decide to try it, prepare yourself for a very special journey -- one that you'll only be able to go on once in your life (as you'll never again have a first time with that particular substance.. an experience many chase over and over again later in life, but few ever manage to recapture it). You'll want to be in a safe, supportive environment, ideally with an experienced trip sitter you like and trust, and without any prior commitments for that day and ideally the next. The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide has more specific advice on how to prepare.

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mistermann · 2019-05-14 · Original thread
I believe we lack enough fundamental knowledge to critically analyse it with any sort of certainty, most of what is known comes from theory combined with individual experiences.

This book is often recommended:

Traut · 2018-10-01 · Original thread
I would also add "The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys" by James Fadiman as an excellent guide for sitters, and a list of protocols for work with psychedelics.

pmoriarty · 2018-06-05 · Original thread
I'd like to take this opportunity to talk about something I rarely hear mentioned to newcomers:

It's very common for one's first or early psychedelic experiences to be really special.. more powerful, more magical, more intense than any later experiences. A lot of people wind up chasing that magic later without success.

Don't squander the opportunity. Prepare yourself well. Think of it as a trip to another planet which you'll only get to take once. Think carefully about why you're going, where you'll be, when you'll go, what you'll bring, how you'll travel, and who you'll travel with. These could make or break the experience.

It's also important to try to bring back and integrate what you learn from your trip. Try to record what you learn in some way: write it down, paint it, draw it, sing it, something... even if you're exhausted afterwards. Like dreams, psychedelic insights are so fleeting. If you don't get them down soon you could easily lose them.

Check out The Secret Chief Revealed[1] and The Psychedelics Explorer's Guide[2] for some more detailed recommendations on preparing for and making the most of your experience.

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pmoriarty · 2018-04-21 · Original thread
"Was this person insane in the first place? No, I lived 4 years of my life with this guy and he was one of the smartest, most intelligent people I've ever met."

Intelligent people can have mental issues. They can be really good at hiding them too -- both from other people and sometimes even from themselves.

I've read over and over again of people living together for decades, and one day they find out that the other person is a serial killer or an abuser or some other sort of criminal, and they had no idea, even after living their whole lives with them. People are really good at deceiving each other, and often the people closest to them are just in denial, and either overlook or make excuses for behavior and signs that sometime look worrisome in retrospect or when seen by people who aren't so involved.

Psychedelics, especially at large doses, are certainly not without risks. Some people just aren't ready to face what they might reveal. Many people also don't treat them with much respect, viewing them merely as party drugs or sometimes even destructively. There are ways to use them constructively, and ways of maximizing the chances of having a productive experience and of integrating what one learned during that experience back in to one's ordinary life.

For specific recommendations on maximizing the positive potential of psychedelics I'd recommend reading "The Secret Chief Revealed" and "The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide":

pmoriarty · 2017-06-14 · Original thread
By the way, two good books that go in to much more detail on what makes for a good trip are:

The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide[1] and The Secret Chief Revealed[2]. The latter was written by a therapist who conducted hundreds of therapy sessions with MDMA.

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pmoriarty · 2017-02-25 · Original thread
There have been some studies on the effect of psychedelics on creativity. A particularly relevant study by Oscar Janiger has been documented in LSD, Spirituality, and the Creative Process.[1] Other studies (including ones on microdosing) are discussed in The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide by James Fadiman.[2]

That said, this is a wide open field that could greatly benefit from more research. I am hopeful that such research will once again become acceptable to the scientific establishment before too long, as a number of studies on other effects of psychedelics have recently been completed with much success.

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davidtanner · 2012-10-31 · Original thread
Insofar as programming involves problem solving I believe the answer is an unqualified "yes".

In _The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys_ by James Fadiman, Ph.D a chapter is devoted to discussing the results of a study on the use of the psychedelic substance mescaline to enhance creative problem solving.

This study was conducted at the Institute for Psychedelic Research at San Francisco State University.

I'll quote at length from the book chapter: "The participants were 26 men engaged in a variety of professional occupations: 16 engineers, one engineer-physicist, two mathematicians, two architects, one psychologist, one furniture designer, one commercial artist, one sales manager, and one personnel manager."

"Nineteen of the subjects have no previous experience with psychedelics."

The subjects were selected based on their psychological stability and motivation to solve a specific problem they had at work.

They met in small groups for several days before the psychedelic session and were told what to expect and given instructions in the use of the drug-effect for problem solving.

The subjects were given 200 milligrams of mescaline.

After six weeks the subjects were given questionnaires on how the effects of the session had effected their ongoing creative ability as well as how valid and acceptable the solutions conceived during the session seemed to them at that time.

Some (but not all) examples of solutions obtained by the subjects under the drug-effect:

* A new approach to the design of a vibratory microtome

* A commercial building design, accepted by the client

* A mathematical theorem regarding NOR-gate circuits

* Design of a linear electron accelerator beam-steering device

There are several tables full of numerical data. Table names include "Application of Solutions Obtains in Experimental Sessions" and "Work Performance Since Session".

My conclusion: Psychedelic substances can be used to enhance creativity - but as always who is using them and how they go about it makes all the difference.

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