Harm Reduction

What To Do Before Your First LSD Trip

Paul Austin · September 17th, 2015

At first, there was skepticism.

But what if LSD makes me crazy? What if it’s adulterated with poisonous chemicals? What happens if it gets stuck in my spine, causing flashbacks years later? (All LSD Myths)

As these worries dissipated, other obstacles popped up.

How do I find LSD? How do I know it’s high quality? How much should I take?

Once you answered these questions, only one remained:

How do I have a great trip when I take LSD?

Asking such a question will change your life.  A well-planned, thought-out trip on LSD is often a life-changing experience. When friends ask me such a question, I tell them the following:


Research your family history before trying any psychedelics. Those who are susceptible to mental illness, especially latent schizophrenia, must be extremely careful when experimenting with any sort of consciousness-expanding drugs.

As we’ve written about in LSD Myths, LSD does not cause long-term insanity in people with healthy mental stability. However, it can cause issues with those susceptible to mental illness.

If you have a history of mental health issues, you don’t necessarily need to eliminate all psychedelic use, but you should proceed with extreme caution.



Taking LSD is like jumping down a rabbit hole. And the more you take, the further you fall.

It is best to get a feel for psychedelics, and the effects they have on you, before jumping too deep into the rabbit hole. If you jump too deep the first time, your ability to enjoy psychedelics in the future will be affected.

“For your first time, we recommend no more than 100 micrograms.”



Once you determine the amount to take (Substance), you must control for the other 5 S’s of psychedelic use. We give a clear outline in this article on the 6 S’s of LSD use about what to do to control for all variables to ensure a good trip.

As a brief review, here are the 6 S’s:

Set: Healthy, positive mindset before taking a psychedelic.

Setting: Both physical and social. Surround yourself with people you like and know quite well. Take LSD in a physical setting you enjoy.

Session: Time for a trip. Set aside 8-12 hours for your trip.

Sitter: Sitter is the person who cares for the person taking LSD during and after the trip. It is often a good friend. It’s best if they have experience with psychedelics and can guide you through any difficult periods.

Situation: Post-experience integration. The relationships and support available after a session. Basically, how you use the psychedelic trip as a learning experience to grow as an individual.

Substance: The particular psychedelic used to facilitate the journey. Also, the amount used to facilitate the journey. If it is your first time, we recommend around 100 micrograms of LSD.



The two most important S’s – set and setting – require an additional amount of effort to ensure a positive experience.

First, your mindset. If possible, approach your trip as a three-day process. On the first day, remain quiet and unhurried. Set aside time to reflect, and, if you can, spend a portion of the day in nature. By keeping stress levels low, your trip will have a higher likelihood of going well.

During your reflection time, clarify your personal preconceptions about psychedelic experiences. What have you heard, both good and bad, about psychedelic experiences? If you have a guide, share your thoughts with him or her. If you do not have a guide, do some research online to discover whether your personal preconceptions hold weight.

You should also write out what you hope to learn, experience, understand or resolve. These expectations may include self-directed goals for the session. Your goals may be spiritual, social, psychological, or work-related. Whatever they are, write them down.

The morning of the trip, do business as usual. If you normally eat breakfast, then eat breakfast. If you normally drink coffee, then drink coffee.

For your setting, find a comfortable, spacious room to begin your trip. Ideally, there will be a couch to lay on and a stereo system or headphones for music. I recommend beginning the trip inside. If you choose to move to an outdoor location later on, do so with caution. Changing the setting of your trip may cause unwanted side effects.

By following the above four steps, you increase the likelihood of a trip going exceedingly well. Remember, research your family’s mental history, be cautious with dosage, and do your best to manage all 6 S’s.

Reader Interactions


  1. AvatarJean Ory says

    Before one should be familiar with relaxation, deep breathing, natural breathing. If someone is familiar with hatha yoga exercices and meditation vipashyana, or zazen, or shine or mantra recitation, it is perfect. Taking the dose, then practicing a one hour sequence of hatha yoga, then meditating, walking in nature, listenig to lay or religious spiritual music, that the best. That stimulates the motivation to keep on practising a yoga and a meditation routine on a everyday bas

    • AvatarSam says

      Check out erowid.com. They have a section of Trip Reports, pretty much every drug out there. It’s a wonderful site to learn from others.

  2. AvatarClark says

    Yes, absolutely. Yet there are some bad ones too. Look into either “Supernatural” By Graham Hancock or “DMT The Spirit Molecule” by Dr. Rick Strassman MD.

  3. AvatarMatthew Buncik says

    @ Amber. Psychedelics have a long history of catalyzing profound, life changing, and/or spiritual experiences and are viewed by many people as very powerful medicines. A lot of people use them recreationally nowadays which may or may not invoke such an experience, but when approached with an intention to learn about yourself or life and the medicine is held in respect as powerful tool the likelihood of such profound experiences increases greatly. Historically most cultures have used some form of a psychedelic plant medicine as a central component in a rights of passage ceremony for adolescents transitioning into adulthood to help them learn more about themselves and connect to deeper truths to their existence. Currently a lot of these medicines are being used to treat illnesses ranging from physical to psychological ailments such as depression as well as addictions to alcohol and other hard drugs. You can find a lot of great information and resources to historical uses as well as current research being don’t on the subject at the MAPS(Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) website,http://www.maps.org. Hope that helps answer your question.

  4. AvatarEmilía says

    Step number one should be test your substances. All other preparations would be rendered pointless if you accidentally ingest an NBOMe and overdose. Get a marquis test, practice harm reduction.

    • AvatarDavid says

      This is a very useful article, but you have paraphrased James Fadiman (the psychedelic explorers guide) extensively and not credited him.

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