Most experienced psychonauts know they have to take multiple things into consideration when preparing a streaming playlist for tripping: the comeup, peak, and comedown all have to be perfectly timed, and different hallucinogens need entirely different genres (of trance music, of course). Now though, drug users have a new, expertly curated option for a trip soundtrack in the form of a Spotify playlist created by psychologist Bill Richards, Ph.D. The weird part? It features approximately 0% psytrance, and way more classical than you’d expect.
Richards developed the playlist as part of his work at John Hopkins administering psilocybin to patients, examining the hallucinogenic agent’s potential for curing depression in cancer patients and for helping smokers to quit, among other uses. Richards put the playlist together as a way to enhance and support his patients’ clinical experience: “With adequate dosage, I do not feel that the music ‘causes’ particular experiences; rather, it supports and undergirds the experiential flow, as content is emerging for the particular person.”
“I make the best musical choices I can, trying to separate the ‘very good’ and the ‘excellent’ on the basis of years of experience with many different people,” Richards told Inverse. He also gave his rationale for focusing mainly on instrumental music throughout the playlist’s first two-thirds: “Except in the final phase, I tend to avoid music with words in the language of the volunteer, so as to discourage the rational mind from following the content of the words,” he said. “The human voice, as a solo or choir, can be very supportive, even maternal, but it is received as ‘another instrument of the orchestra.'”
So grab your crop of amanita muscaria , and take a listen to Richards’ playlist below. Don’t worry: we won’t tell anyone if you turn it to Shpongle’s Ineffable Mysteries from Shpongleland halfway through the third Vivaldi piece.