Interestingly, one study even found that certain people may be genetically predisposed to having good trips, thanks to a quirk in the gene that codes for the serotonin 5-HT2a receptor, to which most psychedelic drugs bind in the brain.
Results showed that people with high levels of absorption were more likely to have a particular polymorphism – or form – of the gene that codes for this receptor, enhancing its ability to interact with LSD and other psychedelics.
How Do You Deal With A Bad Trip?
Once a drug has started to take effect, there’s no going back, and all you can really do is wait until it wears off. However, if the trip starts to go a bit south, there are a few things you can do to rescue it.
One thing you shouldn’t do, however, is take an anti-psychotic to try and bring yourself back to normality. According to Grob, this tends to “compound problems afterwards with depression and demoralization, as people kind of get stuck with the experience and they can’t work their way through it.”
Instead, you’re better off sticking to non-pharmacological interventions. The Zendo Project is a harm reduction initiative that offers guidance to people undergoing difficult psychedelic experiences at music festivals and other events. Project director Sara Gael told IFLScience that “rather than try and talk people down, we help them turn towards their experience and create a space where it’s safe for them to work through that experience.”
Zendo’s representatives use a range of techniques to help guide people through their trips. “One of the common phrases that we use is ‘what we resist persists’, so if you are feeling some difficulty and you resist it, then it’s going to get worse and you’re going to end up spiraling,” says Gael.
Mirroring Barrett’s rationality, Gael insists that a difficult trip can become a beneficial experience for those who are able to simply accept whatever their mind happens to show them while under the effects of their chosen drug.
And while this may seem like a novel concept that psychologists are only just getting to grips with, it has provided the philosophical backbone for countless indigenous communities worldwide that use hallucinogenic substances for spiritual and healing purposes.
So if you ever find yourself being trolled by the uglier inhabitants of your subconscious, just relax and let go – you may even benefit from it.