What happens when you take psychedelics in the dark?

by Gareth

February 6, 2020

If you’re reading this blog when it’s published on Thursday 6th February 2020, I will be on day five (of six) in a darkness retreat. The six-day experience is to spend time alone in darkness and in silence as an introspective process.

While in the darkness I’m planning to take 4 microdoses of Psilocybin (magic mushrooms). I first experienced psychedelics back in high school. Back then I experimented recreationally with MDMA, LSD and Psilocybin. In the last seven years though, I’ve learnt how powerful these compounds can be. I’ve also seen how much work and research is going into making many of these “drugs” legal again.

Some of the benefits of a conscious psychedelic trip can include:

  • Decreases in PTSD and depression
  • Can help overcome chronic addictions
  • Relief of anxiety from cancer-related psychological distress
  • Dissolving of the ego and increased sense of oneness
  • Accessing flow states.

Terrance Mckenna suggests taking psychedelic mushrooms, alone, in silence and in the dark.  He talks about taking a macro dose of 3g – 6g. Recently, author and neuroscientist, Sam Harris took a 5g dose of mushrooms in the dark. Harris beautifully articulated his experience in this 20-minute section of his podcast.

I am interested in taking mushrooms this way and would love to experience this in the future. For now, as I’m going to be alone in the dark for six days, I am planning four micro-doses of 0.2g each. I plan to take one * 0.2g dose on days two, three, four and five.

I doubt that I am going to feel much of an effect taking such a small dose. I also know that I have a high tolerance for plants like magic mushrooms. With two of my six senses (sight and sound) almost completely removed my experience may be heightened though. 

What I’m hoping for from taking this micro-dose in the dark:

  • Increased feelings of relaxation.
  • An even deeper sense of calm.
  • Increasing the chances and experience of prisoner’s cinema.
  • More focused meditation
  • Less clinging to thoughts (past and future) and being more present.

Before I sign off and pack my bag for the retreat, I need to say the following. The research that I’ve done over the last few years is my own and I’m not an expert on this subject. I in no way condone or suggest that anyone take any illegal drugs, like psychedelics or marijuana. They’re still illegal in most countries in the world and possession can be a criminal offence. There is also the very real threat of a bad trip and/or lasting physiological damage. If you’re considering psychedelics, seek professional advice from a relevant medical practitioner.

Till next week.

Much love

Additional recommended resources:


Founded in 1986, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana.

How to change your mind” a book by renowned author Michael Pollan.

Psychonauts Podcast Episode 3 – Shellshocked (45mins)

An amazing unpack of effective magic mushrooms are curing depression and the social impact depression has on society. This podcast does a great job of explaining how cost-effective this could be as a solution for many of the social problems in South Africa.

The goop lab with Gwyneth Paltrow: Gwyneth Paltrow and her staff at Goop Lab investigate whether or not magic mushrooms can be used to cure depression. (Available on Netflix)

PS. I’d love to hear your comments, questions or feedback on this content. If you have other hacks, ideas or apps that you’re loving, I’d love to hear about them. Please tweet me and use the #30SecondThursday hashtag so that I can find your feedback.


About the author

Gareth is a Lifestyle Designer, a Perfect Day chaser and a minimalist. Based in Guatemala his highest joy is creating content that helps and inspires people to Live More Perfect Days.

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