Coming down from club drugs can feel like losing your parents in a car crash—we know. But it doesn't have to be that way. With the right preparations and a little bit of self-care, the post-rave blues can fly by nearly unnoticed. I perused the available literature to bring you devoted ravers some (medically unverified, author-approved) solutions for getting through the hump:
If you've ever woken up with sore muscles after dancing and prancing and neuromancing, it's probably because your body ran out of salt. Electrolytes are essential for the firing of neurons that release serotonin, and for the muscular exertion that we all know is unavoidable once those salacious neurotransmitters flood the synaptic cleft. Electrolytes are also in charge of regulating your body's water supply and can prevent over-hydration. You're likely to find Gatorade, coconut water, or some salty snacks in the backpack of any sensible raver.
A quarter of a century after the global rise of house culture, scientists still have just about fuck-all in the way of conclusive data concerning its patron substance. That said, everyone seems to agree on a couple of antioxidants that really attenuate the negative side effects of brain twerking.
Research indicates that the main source of MDMA-related neurotoxicity (and thus, next-day depression) stems from the depletion of serotonin (5-HT) and the subsequent degeneration of 5-HT terminals. 5-HT is synthesized in the body from its precursors, L-tryptophan and 5-hydroxytryptophan, which can both be purchased at your local GNC.
By taking 5-HTP before dosing and upon waking up the next morning—insuring that your body has the means to produce more 5-HT—the risk of depletion is significantly curbed. L-tryptophan can be taken when you're ready for bed as a sleep-aid and a serotonin replenisher.
Many people have reported that taking 5-HTP keeps them from getting as high as they normally do, so you might want to experiment with intervals and dosages. Or you might simply accept that if you want to go up, you'll have to come down eventually. Bummer, I know.
5-HT neurotoxicity is thought to involve "oxidative stress resulting from an increased generation of free radicals and diminished antioxidant capacity of the brain" (Shankaran, 2001). By pre-loading with vitamin C, we can replenish the brain's supply of antioxidants.
MY ADVICE: DON'T TAKE L-TYROSINE
Lots of people on the forums think that L-tyrosine, a precursor to dopamine, helps to keep dopamine from being depleted, but this one's bunk because MDMA doesn't deplete our dopamine supply. MDMA actually increases the amount of Tyrosine in the brain. This actually seems to be the cause of serotonin depletion—so taking this supplement can exacerbate the neurotoxic effects. This according to the Journal of Neuroscience.
ALTERNATE NOSTRIL BREATHING
This yogic breathing exercise is a catch-all remedy for headaches, depression, and the like. It engages the third eye, which corresponds in yogic anatomy to the pineal gland, a main serotonin center in the brain and the seat of dreams and psychic vision.
1. To light up this center, first put a dab of Vicks or tiger balm on the third eye point, which rests right between the eyebrows.
2. Next, make the hand into a kind of pincher by placing the middle and index finger on the heel of the palm.
3. Close off the right nostril with the thumb, inhale, and imagine the air you're breathing in through the left nostril is going from the tip of your nose straight into the third eye point between the eyebrows.
4. Hold the breath for as long or short as you see fit and then release the right nostril and close the left with your ring and pinky finger. Exhale, feeling the breath move from the third eye point to the tip of the nose.
5. Reverse this process, inhaling in through the right, and exhaling through the left. Repeat for however long.
I recommend practicing this whenever you feel like it, but especially at peak times. We become lucid and intuitive in our bodies when we roll, so it's a really great time to learn new things about them. If you find a groove in this breath, you'll be able to come back to it during your suicidal Sunday.
The hours we spend in the deepest levels of sleep are the most recuperative for our brains. It's in this downtime that our brains are able to contend with the excess free radicals and toxic metabolites produced by PLUR debauching. The obvious problem here is that excessive partying can make it hard to fall asleep at all, much less fall into a deep sleep.
When you're ready to go to sleep, instead of smoking weed, which will only re-initiate your trip and maybe put a psychedelic spin on the whole experience, prepare this "Go to Bed, Fuckboy" tea:
1 teaspoon passion flower
1 teaspoon skullcap
1/2 teaspoon California poppy
1/2 teaspoon powdered Valerian root (buy valerian root and grind it into a fine powder in a clean coffee grinder)
Steep for ten minutes in boiling water J. Cotton is a writer, yoga enthusiast, and enlightenment seeker living in Brooklyn, NY.