Is orange juice the secret ingredient you need to take your trips to the next level?
Maybe, but don’t expect too much.
The idea that orange juice is the key to having better trips or reducing your chances of having a bad trip has been around forever but is there any truth to it at all?
This article explains why some people believe orange juice affects their psychedelic experiences and why we believe this has been overexaggerated.
Below you’ll find a discussion of orange juice-related trip reports, a bit of chemistry and biology, and the final word on whether your next trip should include orange juice or not.
What Does Orange Juice Have to Do With Psychedelics?
There’s a persistent legend in the psychedelic community that orange juice makes trips better. Some people say that taking orange juice before a trip reduces the risk of having a bad experience, while others say that drinking orange juice during a bad trip can snap you out of it.
Unfortunately, neither of these claims has much evidence supporting them, so why do so many people believe them. One possibility is that people are confusing orange juice for another citric juice: lemon juice. Drinking lemon juice before taking magic mushrooms — something psychonauts call lemon tekking — may make the trip more intense and shorter.
Another possibility is that a popular story about LSD users thinking they were glasses of orange juice distorted over the years in a decades-long game of telephone to become the kernel of truth at the heart of the myth. Psychedelic culture develops primarily by word of mouth, so a simple story can become much more given enough time.
Will Orange Juice Help Prevent a Bad Trip?
There is no scientific or clinical evidence that orange juice will prevent a bad trip. However, there may be some legitimate psychological factors at play.
Experienced psychedelic users know how important mindset is in influencing how a trip goes, and merely believing you’re not going to have a bad trip could decrease your chances of having one. To that end, drinking orange juice with the intention of reducing your odds of having a bad trip could have a placebo-like effect — thus increasing the odds of having a smoother experience.
To actually prevent a bad trip on a biological and chemical level, most people prefer taking an antipsychotic medication like benzos or an antianxiety medication like phenibut.
Does Orange Juice Actually Affect Your Trip?
Maybe, although there isn’t much hard evidence to suggest that it has a large effect on most psychedelic substances. The idea is that the acetic acid in orange juice can speed up the metabolism of psychedelic compounds, changing the strength of the effects experienced during a trip.
This claim is most often made about shrooms since acetic acid can help break psilocybin down into psilocin, the compound that produces the psychoactive effects.
However, store-bought orange juice does not contain a high enough concentration of acetic acid to have a meaningful effect on psilocybin breakdown. More acidic citrus juices like lemon or lime juice may have an effect, although to what extent remains unclear. Mixing shrooms with lemon juice is called lemon tek, and user reports supply compelling anecdotal evidence that it provides a stronger trip.
Outside of magic mushrooms, orange juice is unlikely to have any effect on a psychedelic trip’s intensity or duration.
Orange Juice & LSD
The idea that orange juice can change the quality of an LSD trip is not backed by scientific evidence. One claim is that the vitamin C in orange juice can increase serotonin levels, changing the strength of LSD’s effects. This idea is pure fabrication and has no evidence to support it.
Related: LSD 101
Orange Juice & Shrooms
Even though orange juice won’t likely affect a shroom trip, this one is the most understandable. As discussed above, acetic acid can increase the rate of psilocybin breakdown, leading to a faster onset of effects and a more intense experience. However, orange juice does not contain enough acetic acid to have a significant effect.
Lemon tek is a better way to enhance a shrooms experience, although experienced users warn new psychonauts to exercise caution. Lemon tek trip reports claim that the experience can be almost twice as intense as an ordinary magic mushroom trip, making it overwhelming for even some shrooms veterans.
Related: Magic Mushrooms 101
Orange Juice & Ecstacy
A common myth circulating among ecstasy (MDMA) users is that drinking orange juice can help you recover more quickly after using it. This is an interesting myth because dehydration can be a concern after taking MDMA, but orange juice isn’t any better at rehydrating you than water.
Some people claim that the vitamin C and various micronutrients in orange juice can help your body regulate serotonin levels after using ecstasy. To date, there are no clinical studies that directly dispute or support this claim.
Related: MDMA 101
Summary: Combining Orange Juice & Psychedelics
The psychedelic community is full of superstition and rumor, and orange juice’s purported ability to enhance a trip or prevent a bad trip is firmly fantasy, at least as far as biology is concerned.
Simply believing that orange juice will insulate you from a frightening trip can make it less likely for you to have an unpleasant experience. Unfortunately, this effect is impossible to quantify.
It’s impossible to track down how a myth like this starts, but it most likely has something to do with magic mushrooms.
Soaking ground magic mushrooms in lemon juice to make lemon tek can result in a significantly stronger trip. Maybe someone confused one citric juice for another, and an urban legend was born.