Psychedelics: Why Trippingly Should Be Your First Stop Before, Well, Tripping

I’ve always been fascinated by the many people close to me that embark on all sorts of recreational and sometimes medically necessary activities causing temporary altered states. Immediately after kicking my six iced coffees-a-day(!) caffeine addiction cold turkey post college graduation (I can’t even think about the weeks of migraines that brought on), I realized I was hypersensitive to any strong chemicals in my system. Damn. So, decaf iced coffees and teas became the norm for me and in the very rare occasions I’ve tested the limits of my own no-chemicals rule, let’s just say things didn’t go very well at all.


On one extended trip to a gorgeous lake house in upstate New York, half a dozen very close friends of mine decided to have a “cookie” adventure on a Saturday night prior to attending the local town’s popular annual talent show. “It’ll be fun!” they assured me. Hmm… My friends varied their intake of these yummy “special” cookies (chocolate chip, in case you were wondering) ranging from wolfing down a full cookie to those who chose to take several generous bites. I, being the undisputed chicken of the group, literally took a nibble off the edge of one cookie that was so lame, so insignificant, my friends uniformly called foul, but I resisted the temptation to take any more and we all proceeded with our evening.

Exactly 44 minutes after ingesting crumbs of the cookie, I felt the strangest sensation: being under very dark water that slowly began to submerge my toes and feet. As the horrifying feeling went up my legs and into my chest, all of my friends seated next to me were in full “flight” as well, each one of them enjoying the sensation more than the other. Joy permeated my group—all of them laughing and smiling like idiots, meanwhile I’m feeling imminent death was upon me. Up and up and up my body the opaque watery grave worked itself until, finally, it consumed me, and I had to, as gracefully and in the least embarrassing way possible, immediately leave the crowded auditorium and take my situation outside for some desperately needed fresh air.

In their defense, my friends were sympathetic to my plight even though it flew in the face of their own nirvana-like experience so, thanks to my drama, we all decided it was best to skip dinner out and head back to the house. Moments after arriving, I was compelled to sit on the floor next to the bed of my room and started to rock myself repeatedly not unlike Patty Duke’s Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker (google it). Let me clear: This entire experience was nothing short of horrifying, and, I felt, epically unfair because I literally only consumed the smallest of morsels of this apparently titanically powerful cookie. My friends were all assembled in the living room boisterously laughing at every little thing. A full three hours later, I was able to function as a marginally less insane person and joined everyone to much hullabaloo and fanfare (“He’s back!”). Ah, friends, right?

Now, as Editor in Chief of PuraPhy, a site wholly dedicated to all things therapeutic and/or experiential—CBD, hemp, functional mushrooms, psychedelics—my fascination with altered states continues unabated. When my colleague Bill sent me a link to Trippingly, a passion project and revenue-free media operation launched by John Turner as a leading source of solid information about all things psychedelics, a smile landed on my face upon seeing the name of the enterprise. Trippingly—it actually feels nice to say it. It’s a happy word. Try it.

John Turner, Trippingly’s founder

The adventurous Turner was actually a corporate attorney and business advisor in Silicon Valley for nearly two decades at Latham & Watkins and Wilson Sonsini before exploring psychedelics about ten years ago in facilitated group settings. For the past five years Turner says he’s focused on supporting expanding legal access of psychedelics and psychedelic research worldwide, both as an investor and strategic advisor. Very soon after was launched, Turner realized how quickly the site moved from having a cult following to being a juggernaut in the psychedelic movement.

Psychedelics are also complex, and people’s motivations to use them vary; enjoying an afternoon in the park, firing up creative juices, or overcoming significant trauma are equally valid reasons to use psychedelics.

Turner’s current projects include working with Amanda Fielding, James Keim, and Robert Otis Stanley at MIMOSA Therapeutics, a private company that grows all-natural mushrooms containing precise concentrations of psilocybin and other psychoactive ingredients. Prior to MIMOSA, almost all clinical research required a synthetic psilocybin formulation, and recreational users have experienced the unpredictable variations in strength of traditionally grown mushrooms. MIMOSA creates natural clinical grade products, allowing researchers to move beyond synthetics, and providing consumers with mushrooms of previously unimaginable consistency. Cool, right?

Determined not to share my rather outsized cookie crumble journey into the abyss, I happily chatted with John Turner about Trippingly. Join us?

Hi, John. What exactly is Trippingly? provides science-based information on how to best use psychedelics for recreation, healing and personal growth. It’s an entirely non-commercial (zero revenue) website created by people who’ve long believed in the power of psychedelics to heal, inspire and entertain.

I can only imagine what you were up to when you came up with the name…

I first heard “Trippingly” while watching a performance of Hamlet, and the word jumped out at me. At the time, we were traveling the world in search of extraordinary places to use psychedelics. From tripping in downtown Tokyo to the deep jungles of Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula, our contributing writers were having profound and adventurous experiences that we intended to document in a travel blog. But our travel reports soon became a small part of the website as we shifted focus to providing information on how to enjoy and make the most of psychedelics.

For our readers, many of whom are completely new to the world of psychedelics, how would you ease their journey into it, given the anecdotal intensity psychedelics have had for half a century in this country? In other words, if, say, my aunt asked you why she should try psychedelics, what would you say? (And, for the record, my aunt is way cool).

First, psychedelics are intense. Many people who are experienced with recreational drugs, such as cannabis or MDMA are surprised by the intensity of their first psychedelic journey.

Psychedelics are also complex, and people’s motivations to use them vary; enjoying an afternoon in the park, firing up creative juices, or overcoming significant trauma are equally valid reasons to use psychedelics.

The first step in preparing for a psychedelic experience is to read everything one can find on the topic. We have our own guide to taking a first trip, which is a good place to start (Getting Started with Psychedelics).

The key elements are to take an appropriate dose for a first experience, to mentally prepare yourself for the experience, and to take the psychedelic in a safe setting, with trusted friends. One should also be mentally prepared that psychedelics, especially LSD, are complex. People are often best prepared when they understand they may feel a wide range of emotions during a journey, including feelings of sadness or poignancy. And while it’s often easy to move past feelings that are uncomfortable, many report the most rewarding experiences are those where they welcomed and embraced the full range of emotions.

Tell me about MIMOSA and the work going on there.

MIMOSA is a start-up founded by Amanda Fielding, James Keim and Bob Otis Stanley. Amanda is a legend in psychedelics, having led some of the most influential research into psychedelics, as well as lobbying for evidenced-based drug laws and policies. James is a psychedelic and trauma therapist, a Fulbright Specialist, and the co-author of the book, The Violence Of Men. Bob helped lead the successful effort in Oakland, CA to decriminalize magic mushrooms and co-founded the Sacred Garden Community there.  

MIMOSA specializes in growing natural psychedelics in bioreactors to offer precise concentrations of psilocybin and other psychoactive ingredients. Prior to MIMOSA, almost all clinical research required a synthetic psilocybin formulation. Similarly, most recreational users have experienced the unpredictable variations in strength of traditionally grown mushrooms. MIMOSA creates natural clinical-grade products, allowing researchers to move beyond synthetics, and providing consumers with magic mushroom therapeutics of previously unattainable consistency. While MIMOSA’s products are not yet legal for retail sale in the US, they should be available for purchase in most of the European Union in the near future. These products should also be available for clinical and medical use, subject to applicable laws, in the near future, at a fraction of the cost of the synthetic alternatives.

Is it fair to say that the reaction to Trippingly has been unexpected?

Honestly, it has been pretty shocking. We started writing articles simply to share experiences among a small friend group. When Michael Pollan’s book How To Change Your Mind was released, our traffic began to grow exponentially. Soon thereafter, our top articles were receiving way more than a million views. When the Netflix documentary Have A Nice Trip was released, our traffic doubled overnight and has continued to experience significant growth every month since. This overwhelming reaction is really a testament to the cultural shift that’s currently happening. 

How much time do you devote to Trippingly? Seems like a successful passion project for sure.

Being entirely non-commercial, Trippingly is a hobby, so the time we contribute varies based on what else is going on in our lives, personally and professionally. Working on Trippingly seems to suck us in, and we’ve all had some late nights working on content. Our research projects are particularly time-consuming, but also incredibly entertaining.

For example, when we wrote our article describing an LSD experience, we had 15 contributors, each of which completed a questionnaire while tripping and most participated in a follow-up interview. Reducing all of these experiences to a coherent article was a big project but resulted in what we think is one of the best and most complete descriptions out there.

We’re now doing an article on LSD and sex, which involves 24 participants. The stories we’ve been receiving have been amazing, and we’re releasing a new one each week (The Weird World of Acid-Fueled Sexy Times). The research participants probably had the better end of the deal, but these projects are rewarding and keep us motivated at Trippingly.

Do you have any aspirations for the future of Trippingly and what that can bring?

I hope Trippingly continues to be an unbiased source of information for those exploring psychedelics. There’s a lot of noise in the psychedelic space right now; new websites with commercial agendas are exploding, and many of them are poorly veiled attempts to sell products or services, rather than to provide high quality information. My greatest hope is that Trippingly provides reliable, science-based information that enables the broader population to experience the wonder, self-discovery, and healing of psychedelics.

Has COVID-19 impacted Trippingly in any way or the reaction to it by its users?

COVID has accelerated the use of psychedelics. First, while it’s not easy to travel these days, it’s fairly easy to trip. Some people are turning to psychedelics as pure and simple recreation, which we support. People are also using this time to reflect on their lives and values. Most of us simply couldn’t stay on “auto-pilot” this year. Psychedelics provide a wonderful way to work on personal reflection and growth.

Any impact you’ve felt with the country’s current political climate, or racial justice issues, or climate change?

All of these issues have impacted us personally in 2020. Trippingly is based out of Portland, and like many of the people in Portland, we support sensible police reform, and fiercely opposed the insertion of federal troops into our city. This year has focused our attention on the environmental and complex cultural impact of ayahuasca tourism on the Amazon rainforest and indigenous cultures. Concerns around the use of indigenous traditions in psychedelic ceremonies in the US are a point of frequent debate at Trippingly.

Our main focus at Trippingly is the push to decriminalize psychedelics and other controlled substances. We’ve seen the war on drugs be used to repress political enemies, and the profound damage it has done to underserved communities will take decades to repair. We’re now seeing some light at the end of the tunnel, and we support the decriminalization efforts that are making progress nationwide.

Oregon’s ballot this year includes Measure 109 to legalize magic mushrooms dispensed by licensed providers, as well Measure 110, which would reduce the penalty for personal possession of any controlled substance to no more than a $100 fine, while providing financial resources for addiction and recovery treatment. If the Oregon decriminalization initiative is passed this year, we expect it to eliminate racial disparities in felon drug convictions, including reducing felony drug convictions of African Americans by a whopping 94%. Both these measures have broad coalition support, which gives me hope that we’re heading to an era with more sensible drug policies. We need to reduce the harm done by these laws on all Americans, but especially on people of color, who are often disproportionately targeted by law enforcement.

John, tell me the best reason to log on to right now?

Psychedelics have the power to improve your life but using them safely and effectively requires some homework. Trippingly is a great first stop for anyone’s personal psychedelic journey.