Before I compare shrooms vs acid I will let you know I’ve taken psilocybin mushrooms more times than I can count and have only experienced pure LSD once very recently. To compare the experiences, I will break them down by the come up, peak, and come down.
The Come Up
The come up of shrooms starts about 30 minutes in and is very abrupt. There is no doubt that it’s kicking in, and I begin to experience massive anxiety. I also get nauseous if it’s a higher dose or the mushrooms are particularly potent. I start yawning, and many times I’d have waves of serious anxiety questioning why I took the substance to begin with. At an hour into the experience I am peaking, and the anxiety subsides. The energy build feels familiar, natural, somewhat sedating, but still radiant.
Unlike the come up from shrooms, LSD felt very slow. At the 30 minute mark, I could tell “something” was happening but was still questioning whether or not the substance was working. An hour in, I was sure something was happening, but it wasn’t necessarily strong, and two hours in I was peaking with full-blown effects, though still with some subtle waves of anxiety. The slow come up of acid made the anxiety less like the sudden drop of a roller coaster, and while I avoided nausea and anxiety that came up with shrooms, I felt an overly intense stimulation building that was very alien and uncomfortable. The come up of shrooms vs acid is definitely very unique.
The Peak of Shrooms VS Acid
The peak of shrooms is more fluid and sedating. I become slow, mentally unable to process abstract ideas, but just observe them in awestruck. On LSD, I felt hyper-stimulated and rigid—I was processing highly abstract ideas and wanted to explain them, but I couldn’t verbalize them and attempting to just made me anxious.
With shrooms, I’d feel more astonished by the external world, and I’d tend to watch really talented artists and just be blown away. Watching artists who’re really talented on LSD didn’t astonish me nearly as much; I preferred to listen to music that was relaxing to calm myself down from the stimulation. On shrooms, I’d be drawn into speed rapper music videos while on LSD I preferred videos of nature and listening to Pink Floyd.
Laughing was also a lot more fun on shrooms than on LSD. On shrooms, I would watch funny animal videos for hours and be unable to breathe from laughing so hard, but I was comfortable with it. On LSD, laughter felt “too much” as if I was losing my mind and wasn’t as enjoyable. This is perhaps because shrooms felt more organic and I am less aware of how much I’m “losing my mind.” LSD made me feel uncomfortable as I was fully aware of how far my mind had gone.
With the clarity of LSD, I became more introspective, reliving memories of my past with more room to ask questions. I was in the driver seat, whereas with shrooms I was more of a passenger, unable to ask questions and just meant to observe where the experience was taking me. I’d relive the traumatic memories and decide the direction I wanted to take to heal the pain, whereas with shrooms it would force the pain onto me. What’s odd is with shrooms, I would have few questions and would spend more time admiring the closed eye visuals without a need for an answer. Answers would sometimes come out of nowhere, but I wasn’t looking for them.
LSD visuals were more intense and realistic while shroom visuals seemed more “obvious” to me. For example, when looking at a picture of the ocean on LSD, the waves would move in a way that’s exactly how they’d move in real life whereas on shrooms they’d move in an odd way where I could tell it was a photo. Many times on LSD I would question if it was a hallucination or a video and be blown away when I’d find out it was a photo.
On shrooms, I felt more connected to nature while on LSD I felt more connected to life. I realize this can be confusing as nature is deeply connected to life, but the best way I can describe it is that LSD made me feel connected to the friend I was with as a person, on a much deeper conscious level, whereas shrooms made me feel connected to all nature and living beings, including plants and animals.
Overall, shrooms felt very unpredictable, and like children, they can make you laugh one minute and then make you cry the next with their brutal honesty. LSD felt more like a tool and a mirror onto me. While unpredictable at times, I could drive the unpredictability. The peak of shrooms vs acid is similar but highly distinguishable.
The comedown of shrooms isn’t nearly as uncomfortable as LSD. About 6 hours in, I’m slightly depressed but can sleep and take what I’ve learned to integrate it into myself. The comedown from LSD is confusing. The trip lasted 10 hours, but the last couple of hours felt like being both braindead and hyper. Once that subsided, I was able to sleep, but the next day I had this drained depression and no afterglow. This made it more difficult for me to integrate what I learned from the experience. However, in the following weeks, I have felt continued introspection and still find myself questioning, refining, and building upon my perceptions of reality.
Both experiences were healing but also challenging for similar reasons, such as if I fought the experience it could have been terrifying enough to cause severe psychological damage.
Personally, I felt like LSD was a greater tool for personal growth, and shrooms would be something I’d lean towards for obtaining a spiritual connection to nature. However, with LSD you cannot know the dose. There can be 20 doses of LSD on a blotter out of a batch, and no one would know. I’ve had friends get hospitalized for this very reason, and I consider LSD substantially more dangerous and would likely avoid it for that reason alone. I hope this article serves as a good comparison of shrooms vs acid.
Philip Markoff (Associate of Science) is an online influencer and thought leader on addiction education; he is known as his alias “CG Kid” who’s obtained a large audience primarily on YouTube as a vlogger and journalist. His current sobriety date from polysubstance chemical dependency is June 9th, 2013.