The value of self-experimentation
How do we know about the effects of all the plants, herbs and other products on our website? Of course some substances have undergone thorough scientific research. But there’s also herbs and plants that are less well known.
Usually there’s stories written in books, and more and more information can be found online, but a real psychonaut knows: in order to really know you have to test it yourself. Preferably a couple of times in different settings. And every time you have to diligently note the dose, the time of taking it, the set and setting and the development of the effects over time.
Self-experimentation: nothing new
Scientists and other curious explorers have been experimenting on themselves for ages. In a sense it’s quite natural. Picture the era before internet, books and centralised (access to) research: how would you gain knowledge about products from nature? Indeed, by trying.
Nowadays it’s frowned upon, but not so long ago, just before LSD became illegal in the early 70s, it was common practice among psychologists and psychiatrists to self-experiment with this substance. It was even a requirement to be able to work with it. Therapists greatly valued these experiences that gave them new insights in the workings of the mind and more empathy towards the experiences of their patients.
Sasha Shulgin was one of the forebears of a more structured way of self-experimentation. His books Pihkal and Tihkal, with detailed and neatly organised trip reports on the incredible amount of chemicals he synthesised, are still considered a standard work in the scene. In order to get information out as objective as possible, he developed the Shulgin Rating Scale, that specifically refers to the intensity of the experience. His work set stage for many trip reports you can nowadays find on forums like Psychonaut or Erowid.
Self-experimentation and the psychedelic scene
Why are these self-experiments so interesting? Because every human being is different. Body metabolism, psychological background, sensitivity, you name it. Especially psychedelic experiences always bear an element of unpredictability: it’s never the same between persons. Even if the same person takes the same substance twice, the experience will be different. This unpredictability makes every trip report an interesting endeavour, both to write and to read.
The more trip reports available, the more clear it becomes what one in general can say about the effect of a substance. This is how we learn, and how we're able to advise new users.
Azarius Test Team
At Azarius we highly value this method and we gratefully browse and use the immense online collection of trip reports to learn more about all those interesting plants and substances out there. In line with this tradition we launched our very own Azarius Test Team previous year.
Over 600 lucky ‘Azalysts’ were asked to review a variety of products. The first results are now available. We do not only present independent trip reports, but also analyse the data we gathered.This makes it possible to describe the average effect / experience.
The results are pictured in infographics on every respective product page and provide a quick and simple overview of the effects of every substance, regarding the dose. Now you can see in a glance whether a product could be appealing to you! More information about the Azarius Test Team can be found on this page.