The Spiritual side of Psychedelic Smart Drugs

You may have heard of Ayahuasca – the mysterious brew from South America with which people go on a literal and symbolic journey. This kind of journey is more one of self-exploration than a journey to the other side of the world. Because Ayahuasca is one of the psychedelic smart drugs which lets you look at the world and at yourself in a completely different way for a short time. 

They have a meeting with a shaman in the jungle and come back reborn – totally transformed with a different view on life. With all kinds of rationales, people relate their story on the radio, in magazines and in documentary films. At the very least, it’s a colourful and unique experience which is difficult to describe. At the other end of the spectrum it can involve a complete spiritual transformation.

Spirituality and Setting

At Dutch Headshop we pay a lot of attention to the responsible, recreational use of legal smart drugs. We also think it’s valuable to shed light on another side of the use of, for example, Ayahuasca or Magic Mushrooms.

First of all, let us say that you don’t have to go on a world trip to experience a sacred journey. But it’s very important to provide the correct setting if you want to use psychedelics for self-help. 

Setting is best interpreted as the environment in which you use your psychedelics. Also incredibly important is who else you are doing it with and the tripsitter. A tripsitter is the sober person that supports you during your spiritual journey. It’s the one who catches you if emotions run high or if you start to feel unwell. Together with the set, the setting is the most important element that colours a trip.

woman meditating in forest

Many opt for a quiet place outdoors from which to begin the journey.

Set is easy to remember by thinking of mindset – it’s the whole package with which you are going to use psychedelics at that moment. Your body, state of mind and what you have eaten – all these come under the heading of set. An empty stomach, for example, is a very good idea. This reduces your chances of being sick and makes the substance take effect much faster and more strongly. It’s also very important to have formulated in advance a reason for using the substance. By having a question about life in your head, you may come upon a different way of looking at this question than you would without shrooms, truffles or ayahuasca.

6 Tips for the Spiritual Lessons of Psychedelics

  1. Together, set and setting determine how you experience the trip. The dosage determines only the intensity. Choose a quiet place where you feel at home and choose people that you would trust with your life. Make sure you go into it in a positive way and have a question in mind that’s important to you.
  2. Be 100% sure that you want to do this. It makes no sense after taking something to think that you don’t want to trip. Make the decision and stick to it. Any resistance to losing the grip on reality, or fear of that, is almost bound to produce an unpleasant experience.
  3. It can be helpful to tell the tripsitter what you are seeking the answer to. Speaking your feelings out loud is an important part of self-reflection.
  4. The safest and most effective way of taking a trip is with Magic Truffles. Just like shrooms, these contain psilocybin and psilocin. It is safe to take 1 whole packet of truffles but be aware that these are powerful smart drugs.
  5. The least safe way is to take ayahuasca. Its popularity and the demand for it have brought malicious fraudsters to the market. Not every shaman has your interests at heart. Moreover, not only is the brew a traditionally guarded recipe but also a prohibited one with an incredibly strong effect. Be discerning and consider an alternative.
  6. After the trip, take the time to absorb what you’ve learnt. It may take a few days before the pieces of the puzzle fall into place.

What is Tripping?

It doesn’t make any sense to compare psychedelics with alcohol, weed or hard drugs. Shrooms and Magic Truffles contain the unique active substances psilocybin and psilocin. Peyote and San Pedro cacti contain mescaline and Ayahuasca contains DMT, among other things. These substances strongly resemble our body’s own hormones. They deceive our brains by presenting themselves as if they were hormones. They fit like a key into a lock that is intended for hormonal housekeeping. As a result of this you can probably appreciate why the effects are therefore widespread throughout the body and mind.

Logically, therefore, the effect is completely different from alcohol, weed and other drugs. And that goes for the ‘hangover’ as well. Users are inclined to think that the hangover is awful because the trip is heavy. But that’s not true. You will be a bit tired and deeply under the impression after a trip – it’s particularly overwhelming. Read more about the hangover from smart drugs in our blog.

The Similarities and Differences between Meditation and Tripping

Meditation gives you space in your head. After meditating, thoughts don’t bother you as much as they did previously. Psychedelics can do the same for you. The reason that we ‘grind’, i.e. keep on repeating the same thoughts in our head is because we have a system that is called Default Mode Network (DMN). That is a network in our brains that works as a kind of filter. All sensory information and every thought is filtered by this system before we get to do anything with it. 

Imagine: you see a pair of circles that are joined together by two triangles. In each of the circles you can see a lot of lines that lead to the middle of the circles. The DMN sees to it that you compare this image with the image you have of a bicycle, and voilá you decide that you are seeing a bicycle. 

During meditation you turn down the DMN to a low level. With a large dose of psychedelics you as good as switch it off altogether. It might appear counter-intuitive but a lowering in the DMN activity has the effect of producing more activity in the rest of your grey matter. The more you take, the more information that streams in without being filtered. Memories and sensory information get mixed together and everything feels different: the trip is a fact.

Brain scans of people under the influence of psychedelics and trained monks in a deep, meditative state are to put it mildly fields apart. Following meditation, much less activity can be observed than before the meditation. For that reason, you feel at peace, alert and relieved after time spent directing your gaze inwards. During a trip, on the other hand, scans show an enormous increase in overall activity:

LSD brain scan

Your brain without psychedelics (placebo) and under the influence of LSD. [1] 

The duration of a trip depends mainly on the substance. LSD trips and mescaline trips last the longest by far. The strongest effects work themselves out only after 12 hours. An ayahuasca trip lasts for around 6 to 8 hours while shrooms or magic truffles keep you on your way for a maximum of 6 hours.

The Relief, the Tiredness and the Fresh Outlook

Once the effects have ebbed away you may experience tiredness for up to 2 days. That has everything to do with the over-activity in the brain. Allow yourself the rest that you deserve. Don’t fight it and you’ll feel relieved. Insights arrive of their own volition – you need time to grasp what you’ve experienced during a trip. The consciousness is not quick enough to process everything you experience while under the influence.

shrooms on moss

A trip under the influence of shrooms lasts for approximately 6 hours.

It’s important to take the time you need for yourself after an intense spiritual journey. Your subconsciousness will deliver lessons to you and it’s vital to think these over. Yes, that will demand time, peace and quiet. Just like when you’ve had an overfull lesson from someone else. And then put it into practice, of course. This is called lesson integration. A change in your pattern will only come about if you act upon it. Psychedelics can only help you to recognise that pattern. For that reason, these special natural products are not the answer to a problem but may form an alternative step for you. Do you want to try it? If so, first read our blog “This Is How You Trip Safely” and you’ll then be well prepared for the trip.

Reading, Viewing and Listening

Take the spiritual value of psychedelics seriously. Read about how they work and their effects and make sure you are aware of the risks. There are plenty of good resources available that are not only entertaining but also highly informative. Apart from our blog, would you like more information? A selection of our favourite documents, books and podcasts at a glance (in English):


Feature Films:


  • James Fadiman - The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide
  • Timothy Leary Ph. D Ralph Metzner Ph.D - The Psychedelic Experience
  • Terence McKenna - True Hallucinations
  • Rick Strassman - DMT: The Spirit Molecule

Please note!

Are you affected by concerns, anxieties or depression? You should discuss these with your family doctor. The resources discussed in this article should not be mistaken for medications or the answers to mental health issues. In any event, do not use psychedelics if you are taking medication or if there is a family history of schizophrenia or psychoses.


[1] “Neural correlates of the LSD experience revealed by multimodal neuroimaging”. Carhart-Harris, RL, et al. 26 april 2016. PNAS.