An age-old question: should you eat magic mushrooms on an empty or full stomach? To avoid nausea and vomiting, an empty stomach is the safest start to any psychedelic journey. Especially for those taking higher doses, prone to nausea, or sensitive to psilocybin, your best bet is to empty the stomach before setting off.
But why do some trippers get nausea in the first place? It’s a debate that has gone on for decades in the psychedelics communities for decades. With the new advances in psilocybin research, we are getting closer to figuring out the root cause, and — better yet, finding ways to reduce the symptoms.
Is Nausea a Side Effect of Psilocybin?
Among psychonauts, there is a debate about nausea and vomiting from magic mushrooms. Is it from the mushrooms, or is it from the psychedelic compound, psilocybin? Considering most mycologists strongly suggest against eating any mushrooms in their fresh form, it’s not that far out there to think something else in the mushroom could trigger an upset stomach.
All mushrooms, magical or not, are challenging for humans to eat in their fresh form. As Host Defense has declared, “Raw mushrooms and raw mycelium may pose health hazards from harmful pathogens and heat-sensitive toxins—potentially causing red blood cell damage, gastrointestinal irritation and allergic reactions, such as skin rashes.”
But, few people get the chance at fresh magic mushrooms. Most people buy dried mushrooms online, and therefore this dilemma of raw mushrooms is no longer an issue.
In recent years, several preliminary clinical studies have worked with isolated psilocybin, making it much easier to decipher the trigger for nausea and vomiting. In a 2017 piece, researchers discovered nausea was a common adverse reaction to both psilocybin and dextromethorphan (a hallucinogenic pharmaceutical). Among a total of twenty participants, ten percent ended up vomiting from psilocybin, although they were given a relatively strong dose.
This strongly suggests that nausea and vomiting commonly experienced on a magic mushroom trip is directly attributed to the psilocybin and not the other organic compounds in the mushrooms themselves.
Fasting As an Integral Aspect of a Spiritual Journey
Magic mushrooms not only feel better on an empty stomach, but they may even work better. All around the world, people have relied on fasting as an integral tool to a powerful visionary experience. Some cultures also use fasting alone, without any other substances or activities, to reach a pure psychedelic visionary experience.
Shamanic rituals using various substances (ayahuasca, iboga, mescaline) to connect with the divine almost always start with a complete fast, or at least a highly restricted diet. Why? Because it improves the experience and delivers more profound results.
Modern science confirms what shamans have known all along. As per a paper published in Frontiers of Neuroscience, “Ritual activities (fasting, drumming, dancing, chanting) produce habituating effects on the brain’s information processing system.” The authors continue to explain that, “Profound alterations of the brain’s ordinary routines results in a greater randomization of brain activity, allowing for spontaneous synaptic plasticity that can reshape network connectivity and enhance overall coordination of neural activity.”
In layperson’s terms, fasting helps set the stage for a more profound spiritual trip.
Best Ways to Reduce Nausea on a Magic Mushroom Trip
Tip 1: Fast Beforehand
If you have learned anything from this piece, it should be that an empty stomach is essential. Especially for more significant doses, an empty stomach will reduce the chance of nausea and eliminate the risk of vomiting. If you are approaching magic mushrooms for spiritual or therapeutic purposes, you may get more benefits and less adverse reactions with a longer fast. Aim to fast for the day, or up to 24 hours before. If you do eat, stick with whole fruits and veggies.
Tip 2: Buy Magic Mushroom Capsules
Another suggestion from the wider magic mushroom community is to take psilocybin capsules instead of chewing up the mushrooms themselves. Capsules contain powdered mushrooms, which reportedly reduce the nauseating issues (and unpleasant taste) of the straight dried form. Prefer to buy dried mushrooms online? It’s easy to powder them at home with a small coffee or spice grinder (be sure to clean it out afterward).
Tip 2: Consider Dose
Microdosing won’t cause nausea and vomiting. But as you increase the dose, you also increase the risk of upsetting the stomach. In the study mentioned above, no participants vomited with small doses of psilocybin, 10 or 20 mg per 70 kg body weight. Vomiting seemed to start for some people at the 30 mg per 70 kg mark.
Tip 3: Consider Setting
Have you been mid-trip and suddenly felt highly uncomfortable in the room you are in? All of a sudden, it seems too hot, too uncomfortable, and entirely overwhelming. Setting can make or break a trip and is worth considering before you get started. With the spiritual nature of magic mushrooms, taking the trip outside can improve mood, comfort level, and reduce the intensity of nausea and vomiting.
Tip 4: Don’t Hold it In
One of the greatest tips for all experiences which come up during a psychedelic trip is to let them go. Sadness, fear, and anxiety will come, but let them wash over you. The same holds true with nausea. Holding it down might only exacerbate the problem. Why not purge it, and move on to the more pleasant aspects of the trip?
Magic Mushrooms Work Best on an Empty Stomach
Shamans have known all along that psychedelics work best on an empty stomach. Modern study is just now catching up with this sacred knowledge with supportive scientific evidence.
Psilocybin may trigger an adverse reaction of nausea and vomiting, but these effects are not always present. With the right setting, dose, and empty stomach, it’s possible to reduce it altogether. As you head out on your next trip, remember, these adverse effects are fleeting if felt.