Magic mushrooms are the most popular (and safest) psychedelics used today.
As is the case with any psychedelic drug, it’s best to employ the help of a trusted, sober friend or trip sitter rather than go about it alone.
In this article, you’ll learn why we don’t recommend doing shrooms alone and what you can do to stay safe if you decide to take a solo trip anyway.
The Importance of Set & Setting
One of the most important factors of responsible psychedelic use is to employ the concepts of set and setting.
Set and setting refer to a few things:
Set refers to your mindset — how are you feeling before you begin the trip, what are your intentions for using psychedelics? Are you in a good place mentally and emotionally? If not, you shouldn’t venture into any psychedelic experience alone.
Setting refers to the environment you’re in while you trip. This should be somewhere safe and familiar. Bonus points if it’s got lots of cool stuff to do as well.
“Sitter” is often included as the third “S”. This refers to the trip sitter.
What is a Trip Sitter?
A trip sitter is a trusted (and sober) friend who can help you progress through your experience in a positive way. They act as an interface with the psychedelic explorer and the real world — ordering food, answering the phone, setting up the TV, etc.
Trip sitters are especially important for people who don’t already have a lot of experience taking shrooms because the experience can become overwhelming very quickly. This is what’s commonly referred to as a “bad trip.”
A trip sitter can help guide you through the process, make you comfortable while you trip, prevent you from harming yourself accidentally, keep you partially grounded in reality, and help you redirect negative thoughts into something more positive .
While a trip sitter can help prevent negative experiences while using psilocybin mushrooms, having one by your side isn’t absolutely necessary. A sitter is highly recommended for first-time users, but many people have experienced positive trips without one.
In fact, some people prefer to trip alone, as it offers them more chances for quiet reflection, self-exploration, and introspective thought.
There are stories floating around the internet and even within groups of psychedelic drug users that tripping on shrooms by yourself is dangerous. While having a bad trip can be a traumatic experience, it’s almost never dangerous in the sense that it will physically harm you or lead to death.
The only exception here is if the user enters a dangerous situation while under the effects of the drug. This is why even without a sitter, finding a safe and comfortable setting is still an essential component of using any psychedelics.
Don’t take shrooms and go strolling through the alleyways alone. Likewise, it’s unwise to take shrooms alone in the wild where there are plenty of inherent risks already.
Shrooms themselves have very low toxicity. There have been some documented cases of fatal mushroom trips , but none have resulted directly from the consumption of psilocybin. All the fatal cases were the result of accidents or malicious intent from other individuals — not from the shrooms themselves.
The bottom line is that tripping on shrooms alone can be safe if done responsibly, but only if you know your limits, understand the dose, and strictly follow the other concepts of set and setting.
There’s always going to be some level of risk when taking psychoactive substances alone. It’s wise to employ a trip sitter regardless of your experience using magic mushrooms.
Many mushroom users have had positive experiences with using mushrooms alone. In fact, some people, such as Terence McKenna, suggest that taking psilocybin in isolation provides a better experience.
For some users, the ability to be within one’s head leads to a more enjoyable and “productive” trip.
Additionally, some users naturally feel uncomfortable with others around them while they have a psychedelic experience. They may feel judged by others, especially if they are sober.
Tripping on psilocybin alone often removes the fear of being watched or judged and lets some users have a more pleasurable experience.
The solution for this is to be selective with your trip sitter. Only allow people whom you trust and respect to be with you while you trip.
Your trip sitter doesn’t necessarily need to be in the room with you either. You can trip solo in one room, in ear-shot of someone who can step in and help if need be.
If you’re interested in taking magic mushrooms in solitude, it’s essential to take the proper precautions to minimize your risk before you begin.
Below are some tips to prepare for and enjoy a positive solo psilocybin experience.
1. Get Into A Good Mindset Before You Begin
Perhaps the most important precaution to take is to approach your experience with a positive mindset. This is what the “set” in set and setting stands for.
If you’re not in the right headspace to take psychedelics (you’re feeling depressed, anxious, or uncomfortable), you shouldn’t be taking shrooms — especially if you’re all alone. The chances of experiencing a psychedelic crisis become much higher when your head isn’t in the right place before you start.
It’s a good idea to write your intentions down before you take the shrooms. Do some journaling, meditate, or do whatever you need to do to set yourself up for a positive experience.
2. Be Intentional About the Setting
Always choose a place that’s familiar and feels safe to have your psychedelic experience. Many people choose a room in their home or a private outdoor setting.
Being in a familiar place will keep you grounded and comfortable throughout the trip. It also minimizes the chances of getting lost or running into people or situations you don’t have the capacity to deal with while on the effects of magic mushrooms.
The setting is always important but becomes even more critical to get right when tripping solo. Should something go wrong, you won’t have your sober trip sitter with you to work through the situation.
Where NOT to trip solo:
- In the woods
- In public places
- In areas with inherent hazards (such as construction sites or on the roof)
- In areas, you’re not familiar with already
3. Clear Your Schedule
It’s also a good idea to clear your schedule entirely for about 24 hours so that you don’t get nervous or anxious about things you need to do.
You can even write yourself notes to remind yourself that you have plenty of time to enjoy the experience and sober up before concerning yourself with any responsibilities.
4. Tell Someone About Your Plans
Just because you don’t want a sitter with you during the experience doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tell someone what you’re up to in case something goes wrong.
Have a trusted and sober friend on speed dial who knows you’re about to take shrooms alone and can answer the phone if needed.
5. Know the Dose
With any substance, understanding the dose, the risks, and the expected timeline of a given substance is critically important.
Do some research before you start.
There are many different species of magic mushrooms, each one with slightly different potency levels (and therefore dose).
In general, a standard psychoactive dose of Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms starts at 2 grams and goes up to 4 grams. Some species are weaker and would require more; others are stronger and require less.
Anything beyond this point is considered a high dose and is not recommended for use alone.
Ultimately, you’ll have to decide for yourself if taking mushrooms alone is a good idea for you.
Some people swear by solo trips and find that being in solitude helps create a more positive and beneficial journey.
Others would never consider taking shrooms without a trip sitter to help get them through potentially overwhelming thoughts or experiences.
Always approach the use of mind-altering substances with caution. While shrooms themselves are safe, your ability to avoid or deal with threats or accidents becomes inhibited.
If you decide to do shrooms alone, make sure you approach the experience with positive intentions, set yourself up with a comfortable and familiar setting, and have things ready to do or distract you in case you need them.
- Pilecki, B., Luoma, J. B., Bathje, G. J., Rhea, J., & Narloch, V. F. (2021). Ethical and legal issues in psychedelic harm reduction and integration therapy. Harm Reduction Journal, 18(1), 1-14.
- Gerault, A., & Picart, D. (1996). Fatal poisoning after a group of people voluntarily consumed hallucinogenic mushrooms. Le Bulletin de la Societe Mycologique de France, 112, 1-14.