Suggestions and Precautions for the Use of
1. Know your sources. Many fake and adulterated versions of psychedelics are sold on the street.
2. Do not attempt to pick wild psilocybin mushrooms without knowing what you are doing.
3. Cultivated psilocybin mushrooms vary greatly in potency. Get advice about dose before eating any.
4. Do not take psychedelics unless you arc in good physical and psychological shape.
5. If you are trying one of the hallucinogenic drugs for the first time, take it with an experienced companion.
6. Take psychedelics only in comfortable settings on occasions when you have no responsibilities for at least the next twelve hours.
7. Remember that you may feel tired and drained of energy the following day.
8. Do not take psychedelics on a full stomach; you are less likely to feel nausea or other discomfort if your stomach is relatively empty.
9. Do not combine psychedelics with other drugs. However, the interesting effects of psychedelics sometimes wear off while their stimulation continues. If you feel agitated, restless, and unable to sleep at the end of an experience with one of these drugs, it may be appropriate to take a hypnotic dose of a sleeping pill or minor tranquilizer.
10. Remember that hallucinogenic drugs can affect perception and thinking. Do not drive, operate machinery, or engage in hazardous activities while under their influence.
11. Take psychedelics by mouth. They are more likely to cause bad reactions by other routes of administration.
12. The best experiences with these drugs result from saving them for special occasions and the right circumstances. Taking psychedelics just because they are available is less likely to produce valuable results. Taking them to get yourself out of bad moods may intensify those moods. Taking them frequently and carelessly reduces their potential to show you interesting aspects of yourself and the world around you.
Probably because they are so colorful and controversial, psychedelics are the subject of more books than most of the other categories of drugs. Many of the hooks are good.
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Richard Evans Schultes's Hallucinogenic Plants: A Golden Guide (New York: Golden Press, 1976), with illustrations by Elmer W. Smith, is an inexpensive and excellent listing of all the world's psychedelic plants. In collaboration with the discoverer of LSD, Albert Hofmann, Schultes has also written Plants of the Gods: Origins of Hallucinogenic Use (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979), a much larger and more beautiful work on the same subject. Another useful guide is Hallucinogenic Plants of North America by Jonathan Ott (Berkeley, California: Wingbow Press, 1976; revised edition, 1979).
Peter Stafford's Psychedelics Encyclopedia (revised edition,-Los Angeles: J. P. Tarcher, 1982) covers the chemical psychcdclics as well as the plants and is filled with history, description, pictures, and anecdotes. PI1IKAL: A Chemical Love Story by Alexander Shulgin and Ann Shulgin (Berkeley, California: Transform Press, 1991) is an unusual autobiographical account by a renowned psychedelic chemist that includes detailed descriptions of many designer psychedelics.
A more comprehensive and scholarly work is Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered by Lester Grinspoon and James B. Bakalar (New York: Basic Books, 1979); it contains a complete bibliography and discusses the uses of hallucinogens in psychotherapy.
Albert Hofmann reflects on his gift to the world in LSD: My Problem Child (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1980; translated by Jonathan Ott). With R. Gordon Wasson and Carl A. P. Ruck, he is coauthor of The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978), wThich is a fascinating speculation on the possible use of a psychedelic potion in ancient Greek religious rites. Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream by Jay Stevens (Boston: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1987) is a fascinating account of the place of LSD in American culture.
Two books on magic mushrooms are Teonandcatl: Hallucinogenic Mushrooms of North America, edited by Jonathan Ott and Jeremy Bigwood (Seattle: Madrona, 1978); and Psilocybe Mushrooms and Their Allies by Paul Stamets (Seattle: Homestead Book Co., 1978). Terrence McKenna's Food of the Gods (New York: Bantam, 1992) is an entertaining and articulate speculation on the influence of psilocybin on human evolution and the value of the psychedelic experience.
The best descriptions of the effects of yage will be found in F. Bruce Lamb's Wizard of the Upper Amazon: The Story of Manuel C6rdova Rios (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1975). The best recent work on peyotc is Edward F. Anderson's Peyote: The Divine Cac-
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tus (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1980). Shabono by Flor-inda Donner (New York: Delacorte Press, 1982) is the gripping story of a young American anthropologist who lived with a South American Indian tribe; the Indians value altered states of consciousness and use a DMT snuff.
For an analysis of the role of peyote in American Indian cultures by an historian who has studied the subject for fifty years, see Omer C. Stewart's Peyote Religion: A History (Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987).
Aldous Huxley's writings on mescaline and other psychedelics are collectcd in Moksha: Writings on Psychedelics and the Visionary Experience (1931-1963), edited by Michacl Horowitz and Cynthia Palmer (New York: Stonehill, 1977). This book includes excerpts from Huxley's most famous work on the subject, his 1954 essay The Doors of Perception (New York: Harper & Row,
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