Updated: Oct 26, 2020
I’ll wager to guess that while most of us have heard of (or are doing) micro doses of psychedelic plant medicines, there is a little less knowledge around the much more powerful “hero dose”. A dose that the Urban Dictionary refers to as: A very large quantity of hallucinogenic substance, that, when ingested, results in a powerful and often life-changing trip.
Life changing you say? While I personally haven’t taken the plunge yet, I reached out to a few friends who had to get their take on the experience. What I was most interested in was how the actual hero dosing experience went, and how their lives did (or didn’t) change after the experience.
But first things first, let me paint you a picture of a hero fose experience. This is not meant to be an endorsement, but an effort to draw you a clear image of how this all works. Most people will look to ingest 5 – 7 grams of a psychedelic for a hero dose. Most of the people I had spoken to had done this with psilocybin, so let’s stick to that for the purposes of this article. It’s also recommended that you be in a quiet space with a safe person there with you who is sober and aware. This isn’t meant to be a recreational/ party experience. It also helps to set some intentions, why are you doing this? What are you hoping to get from this experience? Oftentimes we are carrying around a whole lot of trauma and baggage, and sometimes an experience like the hero dose can help to clear these debris. Some people recommend listening to a soft playlist (yes, you heard that right, there are literally playlists that exist for the hero dose experience). The entire experience usually lasts about 2 or so hours and can sometimes be extremely unpleasant, as one participant in the in the Pharmacokinetics of Psilocybin in Normal Adult Volunteers study at the University of Wisconsin, stated:
“I was experiencing every person who has ever walked this Earth, who has ever suffered, every person currently living, every terrible thing that has ever happened to anyone, tortured, killed, lost a child, grieved. Every emotion tied to any human who suffered was being channeled through me.”
Like I mentioned before, this is not meant to be a recreational or Friday night party dose…
So now that you have a picture of the experience, let me go back to some of the people in my life who I interviewed about their experience. As one friend put it, “it was the most profound transcendental experience I’ve ever had in my life. I felt completely connected to all life that lives and has ever lived. I saw ancient shamans and felt as ancient as they are.”
Pretty profound right? I mean, I wouldn’t hate feeling that. But… I also wondered if the experience had actually changed my friend’s life. Like, was his walk through life different now because of the experience?
“Any positive effects faded after several days and I can’t say I noticed lasting changes.”
So that was a bit less exciting. Although it made me think if similar to micro dosing, perhaps the experience had changed my friend, but in a more subtle way that was less noticeable, but was still making waves under the surface…
My other friend had a bit more of a lasting effect from their experience, something that they could tangibly feel and felt was made better because of the hero dose:
“Without any previous anxiety... I suddenly encountered a 2 year battle with it. After trying many different types of treatments, it was recommended by a psychedelics expert to take a hero dose of mushrooms (5g). The second piece of advice was that no matter what happened.... lean into it. The experience was intense... a roller coaster of fear and love. The next morning when I awoke... the world was different. I had a sense of calm. The anxiety took 3 days to come back... but that 3 days gave me hope that I could get better and it allowed me to feel what normal once felt like. I continued to improve week after week. Today I am anxiety free for over a year.”
There you have it, the hero dose is powerful. It can be impactful and healing. It can be terrifying, but soothing. And it’s something that should be part of an intentional journey. I’m not endorsing that you try this, because clearly I’m still not ready to experience this kind of event myself, but I think it’s so important that we all have the knowledge and tools to know the entire gamut of strategies and methods available for healing our trauma and achieving our truest state of wellness.