Issue 2 inside

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ Cluster Headaches Messages ]
NEW cluster headache email group! Click Here to learn more!

Posted by pinksharkmark ( on July 06, 2001 at 14:34:40:

In Reply to: Two different issues here. Issue one inside. posted by pinksharkmark on July 06, 2001 at 13:27:00:

James, your description of the place where you had an unpleasant experience on LSD sounds tailor-made for guaranteeing a bad time. No light, no power, no water, spooky urban ruins populated by sketchy characters... doesn't sound the kind of place that I would enjoy visiting at night even if I were stone-cold sober.

It is universally understood that it is risky to expose oneself to unfamiliar surroundings while under the influence of high doses of powerful psychedelics. As psychiatrists doing legitimate research on these compounds discovered right at the beginning, "mindset" and "setting" are important aspects of the pyschedelic experience.

It is a given that high doses of powerful psychoactives tend to produce an emotional "heterodyning". If you are anxious, the drug tends to increase that anxiety, sometimes to unmanageable levels. On the other hand, if you are cheerful, the drug tends to increase that cheerfulness, sometimes to unmanageable levels. This is one of the easiest ways to spot someone tripping on LSD... they have enormous smiles on their faces and will laugh like loons out of sheer joy at seemingly trivial things. I will attest that the latter reaction is hundreds of times more common than the former.

So far, we have been discussing high doses -- "recreational" doses, if you must -- of these substances. Before we proceed to the much smaller medicinal doses used by clusterheads, let's establish a baseline... an analog of the "Kip Scale" used to measure psychedelic experiences.

The following "trip level" description by Graeme Carl was taken from a popular mushroom cultivation website. While not every user will experience every phenomonon every time they "trip", it is a pretty accurate reference.

Level 1:
This level produces a mild "stoning" effect, with some visual enhancement (i.e. brighter colours, etcetera). Some short term memory anomalies. Left/right brain communication changes causing music to sound "wider".


Level 2:
Bright colors, and visuals (i.e. things start to move and breath), some 2 dimensional patterns become apparent upon shutting eyes. Confused or reminiscent thoughts. Change of short term memory leads to continual distractive thought patterns. Vast increase in creativity becomes apparent as the natural brain filter is bypassed.


Level 3:
Very obvious visuals, everything looking curved and/or warped patterns and kaleidoscopes seen on walls, faces etc. Some mild hallucinations such as rivers flowing in wood grained or "mother of pearl" surfaces. Closed eye hallucinations become 3 dimensional. There is some confusion of the senses (i.e. seeing sounds as colors, etcetera). Time distortions and "moments of eternity".


Level 4:
Strong hallucinations, i.e. objects morphing into other objects. Destruction or multiple splitting of the ego. (Things start talking to you, or you find that you are feeling contradictory things simultaneously). Some loss of reality. Time becomes meaningless. Out of body experiences and e.s.p. type phenomena. Blending of the senses.


Level 5:
Total loss of visual connection with reality. The senses cease to function in the normal way. Total loss of ego. Merging with space, other objects, or the universe. The loss of reality becomes so severe that it defies explanation. The earlier levels are relatively easy to explain in terms of measureable changes in perception and thought patterns. This level is different in that the actual universe within which things are normally perceived, ceases to exist! Satori enlightenment (and other such labels).


The recommended dose for episodic clusterheads who are med-free would put the average person somewhere between a "level 1" and a "level 1.5" experience. This is the goal for their first (and usually ONLY) dose.

If a second dose is required (which is sometimes the case with chronics, or those who are not completely med-free, or those enduring an exceptionally stubborn cycle), the goal is to reach somewhere between "level 1.5" and "level 2". It seems that only the most stubborn cases (CarlD, for example) have had to take enough to reach "level 3". I know of no clusterhead who had to proceed to "level 4".

Almost all "recreational" users aim for level 3, although a few might take enough to reach level 4 on very rare occasions. Very few users have ever experienced a level 5. It is literally a life-changing experience... so much so that those who experience it usually choose to do so just once.

From the sounds of your experience, James, you had managed to get your hands on a VERY potent dose of LSD... one strong enough to produce a level 4 experience. The less-than-ideal setting turned what might have been a very profound and enjoyable experience into a nightmarish one. I am sure it was quite distressing, and you have my sympathies.

A clarification, if I may. You say that despite the unpleasant experience, once the drug wore off, things returned to normal, and remain normal (unless you smoke marijuana) to this day?

I understand your desire to add your warnings to those that have been posted here already, and I applaud your concern. But the difference between taking a small, medicinal, CH-size dose in a comfortable and familiar setting and taking a "cosmic consciousness-size" dose in a spooky urban jungle is like the difference between having a glass of sherry in your parlor and chugging a bottle of tequila in the middle of a carnival midway.

respectfully yours,


Follow Ups:

Post a Followup




Optional Link URL:
Link Title:
Optional Image URL:

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ Cluster Headaches Messages ]



Click Here!