What Are Trip Stoppers And How Do They Work?

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What Are Trip Stoppers And How Do They Work?

Trip stoppers are used when trips turn bad and a quick come-down is needed. What are trip stoppers and how do they work?


Trip stoppers may be a misnomer. “Trip mellowers” describes their effects a bit more accurately. They are packs sold by headshops that contain valerian tablets and dextrose tablets. If a psychonaut is having a bad time tripping, taking this combination of natural supplements is claimed to help ease the anxiety.

How they work is an interesting question. Trippers who have resorted to taking this combination claim that they work well. Conversely, there are those who have reported no improvement in anxiety with this combination. This reflects what little is known about the substances that make up trip-stopping packs.


Valerian has been used as a herbal supplement and therapeutic aid since before the time of Hippocrates. He prescribed valerian for insomnia and what would today be called hyperactivity disorders. Centuries later, Galen would still prescribe valerian for the same problems. Conversely, during the 19th century, valerian was recommended as a stimulant for people suffering from lethargy.

Contemporary studies and tests have been done to test the efficacy of valerian. However, for one reason or another, these tests have been inconclusive because of their methodology and biased reporting of results.

Questionable conclusions aside, it is known that valerian contains substances that produce and then impair the reuptake of anxiety-obstructing neurotransmitters in the brain. However, it is unclear whether these substances can traverse the blood brain barrier.

Anecdotal evidence and a roaring trade of valerian as a herbal supplement point toward its effectiveness. There are many millions of people around the world who would be deprived of a good night's rest if not for their consumption of valerian.

Also, people taking prescription drugs like benzodiazepines, MAOIs, or SSRIs are advised not to take valerian, indicating its capacity as a sedative.



Dextrose is a simple sugar made from corn that is chemically identical to glucose and is easily absorbed by the body. It is used clinically to raise low blood sugar levels whether administered by injection or tablet. Dextrose is very calorie-dense and is often used as a supplement by body builders for quick energy.

The rapid absorption and energy kick from dextrose may be what puts the brakes on a bad trip. It isn’t so much the effects are mellowed out as it is the body’s rise in energy giving the feeling of more alertness and control.

When dealing with the mind, it is very difficult to pin down certainties. Many experienced trippers will say that having a sugar dose brings them down. The same people will say that simply having the sugar with them, just in case, is enough in itself to make a trip more calm.


The placebo effect is a well-documented yet little-understood phenomenon in humans. Whether trip stoppers genuinely work or not might just literally be up to the individual. The mind is an incredibly powerful thing.

Surgery that would normally require a general anaesthetic has been done while the patient was under hypnosis. Shaolin monks put their bodies through extraordinary trials thanks to the strength of their well-trained minds.

There is no reason at all not to believe that a combination of natural remedies can mellow out a trip—simply because the tripper believes it will.

Train derail


After that frank appraisal—how trip stoppers work is a difficult question to answer and just creates more questions.

They could well genuinely work on a chemical and biological level, which is great for everyone who doesn’t want to flip out. But the power of the mind is so strong that simply doubting their efficacy could override any positive effects. Just like when someone asks “Are you still tripping?” the self-questioning—“Am I?”—and doubt—“Maybe I’m not”—induced by those four simple words can stop a trip in themselves.

On the other hand, there may not be any effective biological response. With the placebo effect reigning supreme, the power of the mind and the simple belief that trip stoppers work is enough to stop someone from flipping out.

It really needs to be considered that very little is understood about what tripping actually is. The modification of the neurotransmitter system, and the way a tripping brain can be seen to alter connectivity when viewed with an MRI, are contemporary observations that have yet to be rationalised into true comprehension of what it is to “trip”.

It all boils down to the fact that you should always exercise caution. Trip safely. Have good mental preparation. Have a sober trip sitter and be somewhere where you feel safe. No matter how weird shit gets, just remember that tripping is all in your mind.