In conversation with a drug user or former drug user, a sidestep into the mechanics of “bad trip” is always two steps from fruition.
“You feel like you might never come back.”
Back from where? 700 micrograms of LSD directly into the bloodstream produces similar effects in some users to that of an analogous dose of high potency cannabis (like Kush, for example).
Cannabis enhances abstract thought and emotion. Because the mind is an abstraction based on the soul, and talking about soul puts you into a bracket by idiots who can only think linearly, the “trip,” bad or good, is referenced by lofty thoughts and hippy-ish ideas. All of a sudden, the dumbest user becomes a philosopher. Results differ, but some may get lucky and tap into something no one else has seen or documented previously. Some even write that short story or novel they always wanted to, then probably fail to send it to a publisher when they come down from the heights of their cloudy balls of pearlescent puff.
With LSD, the user hallucinates and everything is hyper-real. They’re taking shortcuts, but essentially they’re describing noumena — reality as it is, presented to the mind (really, the will) in picture form.
A bad trip occurs when the conscious mind hits a supposed infinite loop of indirection. It’s already in a free zone triggered by accident, and now anything can happen including apparent obliteration of the self (abstract identity, Atman). It locks onto fear, and the apparitions normally only wrestled with in nightmares are brought directly to consciousness. The user prepared himself merely for recreation, but something went wrong, probably an overdose, and he tapped into a potent energy he never knew could exist. True to the oblivious nature of “cultured” society, he was forced to face what before he could hide away from behind his job, car, house or disposable family.
Hallucinogens have been used since the beginning of recorded history and before, but always as an acid test (no pun intended). If you approach it as an idiot, like your average social smoker moron, expect bad results. If you go in prepared you should get what you were looking for. If normals moralize drug use over zealously, let them. They’re stuck in a suburban hell hole where nothing changes and building a mountain of meaningless wealth is apparently an ideal to be admired (at the top of this mountain is that peaceful, meaningless death they always wanted, too).
Completing the circle with the shaman wannabees, true shamans (or “seekers”) don’t or didn’t need any substances. Whether or not we give something like Shamanism itself a respectable place in the pantheon of spiritual practices, it’s the pretenders that need external agents like entheogens, but the final paradox may yet lie with the rare prodigy, the holy fool incognito who, in the midst of short term experimentation, stumbles upon a new ray of light.