Ten Trips: The New Reality of Psychedelics by Andy Mitchell - review by Phil Baker

Phil Baker

An Eye for a High

Ten Trips: The New Reality of Psychedelics


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The days when LSD made headlines as ‘The Most Dangerous Thing Since the Atom Bomb’ are long gone; now we’re in a ‘Psychedelic Renaissance’, with Prince Harry drinking ayahuasca tea and Mike Tyson evangelising for Sonoran toad venom. Big Pharma is seeking to patent strains of psilocybin and Wall Street is taking an interest, with the market in magic mushrooms in the United States predicted to be worth $6.4 billion by 2028. That would put it on a par with baby food, but it will still lag behind psychedelically assisted addiction retreats, which are expected to be worth $1.2 trillion by the same year.

Into this brave new trippy world comes Andy Mitchell, canny and somewhat sceptical while still prepared to get down and dirty with his neurons. Ten Trips takes us through a series of drug experiences in very different settings, from a neuro-imaging laboratory to a Colombian forest. The substances include mescaline, LSD and ‘Toad’ (5-MeO-DMT), the last reported to produce sensations of solid, tangible love and at the same time blow the ego away ‘to a confetti cloud’. And yet the drugs don’t always quite deliver. Ketamine, for example, is said to have distinct levels (including the ‘furry’ level and the ‘crystal waterfall’ level), but it just leaves Mitchell sitting in a friend’s kitchen saying ‘Ben ben ben ben ben … each one sounds different … Try it.’

If the drugs occasionally lack interest, there is plenty to be found in the characters Mitchell meets along the way. These include Palmer, who has already done over ten thousand hours of tripping; Hakan, the unhappy son of a Turkish torturer; an alarming number of smooth talkers and

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