Can a Psychedelic Experience Transform Your Life?

FEATURED
April 29, 2022

Nue Life

Nue Life
13 MIN READ

Top points

  • Despite the history and stigma surrounding psychedelics from years of recreational use and prohibition, we are rediscovering their medicinal power.
  • Psychedelics were used for religious ceremonies and medicinal purposes long before they were treated as recreational drugs.
  • In the right setting, psychedelics have the potential to bring profound change to those suffering from mental illness.

In recent years, specialists have been rediscovering the benefits of using psychedelics for medicinal purposes. Some even claim that they can transform your life.

Over time, the recreational use of psychedelics has given them a negative connotation, but the truth is that they can treat mental disorders with very low risks – in the right setting.

Before diving into how a psychedelic experience can transform your life, it is essential to understand what exactly one is. Read on to learn all about psychedelics and what they can do for you.

What Are Psychedelics?

Psychedelics are a class of psychoactive substances, which alter the mood, cognitive process, consciousness, and overall perception of a person. Also known as hallucinogens, a psychedelic substance can have a heavy impact on how a person thinks, feels emotions, experiences sensations, and understands time.

When enough of the substance is used it can cause a person to hallucinate, seeing or hearing things that aren’t really there. While many hallucinogens appear naturally in various plant life, some are constructed in laboratories.
A few examples of widely used psychedelics are LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), psilocybin, DMT (N, N-Dimethyltryptamine), and ketamine.

LSD

LSD, or lysergic acid diethylamide, is an artificial chemical constructed from ergot, a fungus known to infect rye. Just like any other type of psychedelic, small doses can lead to minor changes in mood and thought patterns, and larger amounts can cause a hallucinogenic experience and transcendence.

There is no known safe use for this particular drug. People can have wildly different experiences when taking this drug based on their specific health, time the drug is taken, weight, dose and concentration of the drug, and many other physical factors.

The effects of LSD will typically begin around thirty minutes after taking it and can last up to about twelve hours. While some effects may be desirable, like overall wellbeing, euphoria, and other changes to the user’s perception of reality, other possible effects may not be so desirable.

Users of this drug have been known to experience nausea, vomiting, confusion, increased heartbeat, headaches, and unwanted increase in body temperature.

Psilocybin

This particular psychedelic drug can be found in over one hundred and eighty different species of mushrooms. Psilocybin is a specific type of drug called “pro-drug”, meaning that once it is in the body, it converts to psilocin, which can create psychedelic effects.

Like other psychedelic drugs, the experience of taking psilocybin mushrooms in medium to high doses can be quite intense and even cause some users to lose all grip on reality. With similar effects to LSD, this drug affects each user differently.

DMT

DMT, scientifically known as N, N-Dimethyltryptamine, is found in many forms in nature. It has been found in a wide variety of plants and animals all across the earth.

Some of the primary sources for DMT include plants like Psychotria, Acacia, Virola, and Phalaris. When ingested, this drug can cause the user to experience brief, hallucinogenic episodes that significantly alters how a person sees and feels.

Since there are not many cases of physical harm caused by long-term use of DMT, most of the known adverse effects from using this drug are in psychological reactions. It has been known to cause the participants to experience increased paranoia, depression, fear, grief, and anxiety.

Ketamine

Ketamine was originally used as a dissociative anesthetic found useful by doctors and nurses treating soldiers on the battlefront. It can allow its user to feel detached from the discomfort they are experiencing.

When used in a medical setting, this form of psychedelic therapy can be very useful for those experiencing extreme discomfort, anxiety, or depression.

In recent years, it has been used recreationally and often abused by individuals in social settings, leading to its reputation as a “party drug.” In this setting, this drug can be harmful as it can lead to dangerously low breathing rates and unconsciousness.

This drug has found its off-market popularity by supposedly having “a better trip than LSD.” However, its repeated recreational use can result in respiratory issues, memory loss and urinary tract issues.

In contrast, when ketamine is delivered in a therapeutic setting at the appropriate dose, it has been shown to be an extremely effective treatment for those suffering from treatment-resistant depression and other mental health challenges.  

How Do Psychedelics Work?

Psychedelics affect the mind by directly interacting with the serotonin receptors in your brain.

Your brain uses serotonin to regulate moods, anxiety, and happiness. By directly interacting with serotonin, psychedelics can cause you to experience better-regulated feelings.

Generally, there are three different types of chemical compounds that can be found in any given hallucinogenic drug. Those are tryptamines, phenethylamines, and lysergamides.

Tryptamines

Tryptamines are a type of psychedelic drug that work directly with the serotonin in your brain. The more popular hallucinogens containing tryptamines are DMT and psilocybin.

Originally found in mushrooms used by the ancient Aztecs for ritual purposes, this type of drug has been widely used in spiritual contexts. Recent psychedelic research shows it has been rediscovered and created in new, synthetically made versions for recreational use in the United States.

Phenethylamines

Phenethylamines are a class of psychoactive stimulants that are most often taken in the form of ingestion. They act as a stimulant to the central nervous system by controlling the actions of norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin.

These types of hallucinogens can work in ways similar to those like DMT and LSD while also leaving residual stimulation effects. Some examples of phenethylamines include MDMA, amphetamine, and methamphetamine.

Lysergamides

Lysergamides are perhaps the most well-known and studied form of psychedelic drugs. These drugs act as a stimulant to serotonin and dopamine receptors – such as the serotonin 2a receptor – in the brain.

LSD is the most prominent example of a lysergamide. It binds to the pathways causing the user to experience hallucinogenic effects and psychosis that can last up to twelve hours. Not only has it been known to alter perception visually, but it can also alter other senses of the user, like the perception of time and auditory stimuli.

What Are Psychedelics Used For?

Psychedelics have been used in a number of different ways since their initial discovery. While many originally used them for traditional medicinal, spiritual, or religious purposes, like meditation, there have been plenty of cases of people using them recreationally, in microdoses, and for therapy.

Having several uses, it is essential to be aware of what psychedelics can entail.

Recreational Use

Since hallucinogens are always successful in altering the perception and mood of their user, it is no wonder that people often use them for recreational purposes. People seeking to escape their own reality will often take these drugs for the mechanisms that do just that.

Because they interact with neuroreceptors like serotonin and dopamine, they can briefly bring feelings of euphoria and disconnection from the real world for those dissatisfied with their own reality.

The danger of recreational use is that when not monitored by a professional, the user could risk overdosing and unhealthy use. These drugs can also interact with other medications causing issues that may be unnoticeable to the user right away.

Religious Traditions

Long before psychedelics became widely used for recreational use, they were used by many religions for ceremonial traditions. Some more prominent examples are found in rituals written in Sanskrit for ancient Hindu practices and shamanic rituals for connecting with the spiritual realm.

Whether they knew it or not, it has been discovered that many of the world’s older religions had rituals that revolved around some sort of hallucinogenic experience.

Traditional Medicine

Most people know psychedelics as drugs that have mainly been used in abusive ways. In other words, their perception is mainly negative, but the truth is that they originally had great medicinal purposes in traditional medicine.

Early humans quickly discovered the psychoactive uses of certain plants like mushrooms and began using them for medicinal purposes such as pain relief, along with spiritual and physical well-being.

In relatively recent times, humans have rediscovered how good psychedelics can be for certain treatments.

Ketamine is a great example of a psychedelic used for medical purposes. From an anesthetic for relief during wartime to a treatment that can lessen the experiences of stress and tension, ketamine has been a main-stay in hospitals for decades.

Microdosing

Microdosing is the regular intake of low doses of hallucinogenic drugs to aid in personal well-being. While there have been good results that prove this method to be useful to many, there may be some biases in the way it has been researched in psychedelic studies due to placebo effects.

Many of the findings have been based on a self-binding citizen test group. Both groups, the placebo group and microdosing group, showed major improvement in overall mental well-being with no fundamental distinctions.

So, while psychedelics can aid with mental well-being, there is uncertain information about whether microdosing is the most effective way to accomplish it.

Therapy

In recent years, psychedelic therapy has started to get a foothold in the medical community. With the discovery of the life-changing benefits with regards to feelings of stress and tension, a need for clinics that offer ketamine therapy has emerged.

This type of monitored therapy has shown promising results in patients dealing with poor mental health. Administering ketamine in a controlled environment has been proven to quickly rebuild neural pathways, leading patients to healthier mental states.

Can Psychedelics Transform Your Life?

While recreational psychedelics have a reputation for changing many people’s lives for the worse, in a therapeutic context they can actually be used to change lives for the better. Using the wrong psychedelics in improper settings and doses can lead to addiction, ego dissolution, and wrongful detachment from reality.

However, in the appropriate medical setting with professional treatment, they can help relieve signs of discomfort, and also symptoms of anxiety and depression. People struggling with these issues should seriously consider talking to professionals about psychedelic treatment for their specific condition.

Are Psychedelics Safe?

When used in the appropriate setting, psychedelics can be a safe treatment for getting the help and relief you are looking for. It is essential to talk to a professional clinician about your specific situation.

With all of the information about medication and ailments, your clinician can make an appropriate and informed decision on what kind of treatment would be best for you. Since ketamine has been studied for decades in hospitals, it offers one of the safest and most predictable therapeutic psychedelic experiences available.

It is very important to not take treatment into your own hands. Psychedelics bought through friends or street dealers are not safe and should not be consumed. By taking drugs outside of a medical situation, you run the risk of poorly made substances, overdosing, and other unwanted physical effects.

Are Psychedelics Legal?

Psychedelics are illegal for personal use, purchase, and distribution in the United States. Individuals are not allowed to be in possession of these drugs. However, they  are legal for medicinal use provided by licensed professionals. It is also not illegal to receive professional, psychedelic medication or treatments in the United States.

How Can Psychedelics Improve My Mental Health?

Psychedelics are a class of psychoactive substances that effectively alter your mood, cognitive processes, and overall perception of the world around you. There are many different types of natural and unnatural psychedelics out there.

Among them, the popular ones are LSD, psilocybin, DMT, and ketamine. All of these drugs have slightly different positive and negative effects depending on the person and the dose. Depending on the setting and amount, these drugs can be very dangerous when not carefully monitored. Integral studies show that they directly affect how your brain handles neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.

These neurotransmitters regulate brain pathways that deal with feelings. It’s no secret that dealing with stress and tension can quickly affect your mental health, causing you to sink further and further into their harmful effects.

Psychedelics work by interacting with neural circuits in the brain- ultimately, dealing with the neurotransmitter called serotonin. Your brain uses this specific neurotransmitter to regulate feelings of happiness and mood.

Psychedelics, when professionally used, can treat these effects and ultimately create new healthier pathways in the brain. Over time, the right treatment can even erase the pathways that occurred due to disorders like anxiety and depression.

Ketamine

Ketamine has been at the forefront of psychedelic treatment. After the discovery of this type of treatment, specialists quickly realized how beneficial ketamine can be.

Even though it started as a surgical anesthetic, it has taken off as a primary treatment for anxiety and depression disorders. After the discovery that ketamine can reduce suicidal thoughts and motives, specialists began researching ketamine, looking for any other positive effects it may have.

So far, there are two types of ketamine that have become widely accepted. Racemic ketamine and Esketamine. Racemic is most often given by way of infusion or pill, while esketamine is a nasal spray. However, most research has been performed on racemic ketamine.

Depression, stress, and anxiety can decrease the amount of synapses you have in your brain and weaken your neural connections. Ketamine effectively works to restore a connection in your brain and create new neural pathways that allow for strong mental health.

By binding itself to your brain’s NMDA receptor, it can generate more glutamate in between neurons releasing the growth factors that work to restore your mental health.

Conclusion

Hallucinogenic drugs can have one of three different chemical compounds: tryptamines, phenethylamines, or lysergamides. There have been several different uses for psychedelic drugs. Over time, they have been used for medicinal, religious, recreational, and therapeutic purposes.

After spending a long time accruing negative connotations, psychedelics have recently proven to be quite effective treating mental health. With the rise of their medicinal and therapeutic use, researchers and clinicians have observed that these drugs can be safe and incredibly effective in the right setting. If other forms of mental health treatment have failed you, ketamine therapy may be a promising next step.

Treatment at Nue Life

Nue Life believes in holistic treatment. We offer at-home ketamine therapy programs that address multiple aspects of wellness. What happens after your ketamine experience is equally as important as the experience itself. We want to ensure you have meaningful takeaways from your experiences and help you establish positive new neural pathways.

That’s why we provide one-on-one health coaching and integration group sessions with each of our programs. We’re here to help map out the mind and body connections in your brain and help you discover the real insights that lead to real relief.

Sources:

LSD | Alcohol and Drug Foundation

Psilocybin (Magic Mushrooms) | Drug Science

Neuropharmacology of N,N-Dimethyltryptamine | NCBI

Self-blinding citizen science to explore psychedelic microdosing | eLife

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