1. Take the day off work! The experience can take between nine and twelve hours. Trust me, you're not gonna want to be on a conference call when it hits. While Silicon Valley CEOs have popularized taking small amounts every day to stay at the top of their game while working (Zuckerberg practically snorts the stuff), we don't recommend “micro-dosing” for the first-timer. Plus, you'll need time to recover and clean up when it's over.

2. Have a trusted friend nearby, preferably one who's taken it before and can guide you through the process. If you freak out (you probably won't, but it's good to plan just in case things don't go as smoothly as you'd like) your friend can talk you down. Sometimes all it takes is hearing a reassuring voice through the door during the more intense moments.

3. Go outside! A lot of people prefer to take it outside, weather permitting. You'll want to be away from folks that don't know what you're up to, though of course context is key: if you're at a Dave Matthews show you can take it in the front row and safely assume everyone else is on your level. (In fact, it's become almost a requirement for real fans). A public dog park, however, isn't recommended (they can smell you even if they can't see you), nor is a playground with a slide. And don't even think about going to the beach unless you're prepared to traumatize a lifeguard.

4. Don't mix it with mushrooms. Trust me. While perhaps enticing in the beginning, this will cause significant discomfort in the end.

Good vibes only. Listen to (happy) music you love! Some of the best tunes to listen to during the experience are by people who themselves love taking the medicine, like Dave Matthews, who famously takes one right before he hits the stage.

5. Give it a second! Just because you “don't feel anything” immediately after your first dose doesn't mean it's not about to hit, hard. People who rush into doubling their dose could have less than solid results. It can take a half-hour or more to feel anything, depending on what's in your stomach. Don't assume anything, and prepare to make your move quickly when it starts.

Trust your gut. It can affect everyone differently. Some people see strange, indescribable things almost immediately. Others prefer to close their eyes and listen to whatever sounds arise. Many find themselves locked in the bathroom for a few hours, staring at the mirror and wondering how the universe conspired to lead them to that particular moment. Whatever floats your boat. If you're taking it with others, there may be a time to separate so you can each concentrate on your own journey. You'll know when to do so.

The number one rule is to safely honor your own experience. Your relationship with the medicine is personal, and there is no “wrong” way to experience its effects.

The number two rule? Don't force it.


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