Harm Reduction Practices


Psychedelics and other drugs can offer many great effects. They can help people come up with important realizations and spiritual experiences, they can help them solve many life problems, deal with trauma, treat depression, give them great ideas, make them more motivated and do many other important things. But all of this comes with a certain level of danger. And in order to minimize this danger while receiving the positive effects you have to apply harm reduction practices.

I do not condone the use of illegal or legal psychoactive substances. The purpose of this page is to help reduce any sort of harm in those who try these substances, rather than to encourage their use.

Something that I have to mention is that I am not a medical health professional and all the advice that I share is based on the independent research that I have done. Every piece of advice found in this article is something that you can take into account whenever doing psychotropic substances, but you should mainly seek the advice of a trained medical health professional.

That being said, here is are some practices that can help you reduce the possibility of harming yourself:

Dosages

The higher the dosage – the greater the chances of being harmed by virtually any drug. When experimenting with any drug for the first time, it’s almost always recommended to take small doses of it, because it can be hard to determine the exact effects that psychoactive substances that you haven’t tried may have on you. Because different people can take same doses of the same drug and be affected differently. Starting off with threshold dosages is recommended. Slowly upping the dosages as you become more and more experienced is the way to reach high dosages.

EYEBALLING IS NOT AN ACCURATE WAY OF MEASURING DOSAGES OF DRUGS. Unless you are very experienced, it is strongly discouraged. Using not properly measured drugs can result in either not as intense of an experience and one wanted to have, or too intense and possibly dangerous experience that may lead to harm of even death. In order to properly measure the doses of the drugs using proper tools like measuring scoops, milligram scales or volumetric liquid dosing. The type of measurement should depend on the type of drug and the amount of the drug. That way you can make sure that you don’t overdose on the drug. In case of an overdose seek medical assistance immediately.

Allergy testing. Some people are allergic to certain substances. In order to make sure that you are not allergic to a new substance that you have never tried, try taking lower than threshold doses and pay attention to it’s effects on you. Some of the allergy symptoms include rashes, hives, breathing discomfort, an uncomfortably fast heartbeat, or a burning sensation on the skin. For example, if you try psilocybin mushrooms, try taking about 0.1 grams and see the physiological and psychological effects that it has on you.

Routes of administration

Drugs can be administered (taken) in different ways. Here is some of them:

Oral

Drugs can be taken orally, meaning by ingesting them. This way, the drug travels through your digestive tract and is exposed to stomach acid, bile and digestive enzymes. This way, the drug can be metabolized into another substance or even lose it’s psychoactive properties. DMT, for example, is broken down by monoamine oxidase in the digestive tract and becomes inactive. Also, this way of administration tends to produce low intensity of virtually any drug’s effects, but the length of the effects is prolonged.

Smoking/Vaporizing

This is a very common way of consuming drugs. Some of them include tobacco, cannabis and methamphetamine. Once the substances is burned and turned into fumes, they are inhaled into the lungs and the blood vessels found in the bronchi tubes absorb the substances and it travels through the blood stream into the brain and/or other parts of the body. The effects of this route of administration, when compared to orally taking the drug, is reduced in length, but increased in intensity, because the drug reached your brain almost instantaneously.

Insufflation 

Insufflating or snorting a drug is consuming it through the nostrils, into the sinus and the blood stream. This way, the drug’s effects are intensified in effects, but reduced in length when compared to oral administration. Frequent insufflation of most drugs can damage one’s nostrils, mucous membranes, induce bleeding, damage the throat, and cause other trauma to the nasal passage and sinus area. Drugs that have to be snorted come in powder or snuff form. Some of them include cocaine, ketamine, yopo snuff, methamphetamine snuff and many more.

Intravenous

Injecting a drug into the vain with a needle is known as intravenous drug administration. This method makes the drug enter the bloodstream instantly and shortly travelling to it destination in the body. It eliminates absorption and the onset in very fast, the effects are very intense, but the the length is reduced. Also, this method of administration requires a lot of care, because it can be very dangerous. Needle needs to be sterilized, the content needs to not be contaminated, it needs to be properly injected and taken out of the vain in order to prevent damage to the circulatory system. Also, making sure that there are no air bubbles in the needle is necessary because injecting air into your blood stream can often be fatal. Popular drugs for intravenous injection are heroin, cocaine, amphetamine and many more.

Intramuscular

Drugs can be injected into the muscle tissue using a needle. This is similar to intravenous injections, but the onset and absorption is decreased and it’s often more painful. Like with intravenous injections, careful precautions tactics have to be taken to prevent any harm or a possible fatalities. Some of the drugs that are known for being consumed using intramuscular injections are anabolic steroids and ketamine.

Sublingual

This method refers to consuming drugs by putting them under the tongue and letting them absorb. This method, like all the methods listed except for the oral one, circumvents the digestive tract. Drugs usually absorb pretty fast this way. This administration results in the substance being absorbed through the large lingual artery present underneath the tongue. The most common drug to be consumed using this method is LSD.

Testing Kits

In order to determine whether the substance that you have is really the substance that it is supposed to be, it’s best to test it using a testing kit. This is especially important if the substance is obtained from the black market, because of the common lack of proper development and approval processes. Testing your substances can be a difference between life and death or safety and harm. They are extremely important.

Here’s a link for you to buy great quality testing kits for different drugs.

Set and Setting

Set – your emotional and psychological state that you are in when experiencing a drug.

Setting – environment that you take the drugs in.

This is a very important aspect of drug usage that many people, unfortunately, don’t value or even consider the need to make sure that your mindset and your environment is compatible with the effects of a drug that you take. Both stimulants and sedatives, for example, need to be taken in a place that a frame of mind that wouldn’t hurt you. In other words, injecting heroin on top of a tall tree or snorting cocaine in a quiet library can lead to you having a very bad time. This is especially true then it comes to hallucinogens, because of their disorientating and deluding nature. Also it’s very important to be happy and filled with positive emotions when trying hallucinogens, especially psychedelic hallucinogens, because they tend enhance the current emotional state that the user is in. So happy during the trip turns into super happy and sad during the trip turns into super sad. It’s an oversimplification, mind you, but it does present the general idea.

Other Harm Reduction Tips

Drug Combinations

Certain drug combination can be harmful and even fatal. Whenever experimenting with a certain combination of drugs, it’s recommended that you research it as much as possible using credible sources on the internet, like psychonautwiki.org and literature like tihkal, pihkal and many others.

Research

Doing research is very important before taking any psychoactive substance. Different substances have different effects and some of them are negative and dangerous. In order to minimize those, researching and applying harm reduction practices for that particular substance is extremely recommended. Here’s a short list of some of the best websites that are filled with information about different drugs and different harm reduction practices for those drugs:

www.psychonautwiki.org

www.erowid.org