Words: Shamim de Brún
Let’s face it; people take drugs at festivals. MDMA is the most commonly consumed drug during the festival season because it is the go-to for any celebration of life, and that’s exactly what music festivals are, especially after a three-year hiatus.
While it’s always safer to not take drugs, we’d like to give our audience the benefit of the doubt that they can make sensible decisions during festival season. Low and slow is the move. MDMA comedowns can be a serious hindrance to your enjoyment of the next day. The last thing anyone coming down from an MD high wants to do is eat. But eat you must.
With that being said, here are some tips and tricks to add to your festival toolbox to help you combat the nasty side effects and after-effects. So here’s what to take if you’re bombing your way through a festival.
Preparation is always half the battle. If you have enough time to source Mandy, you have enough time to prep for her. Being well-nourished before you start will ease the suffering later. Have a hearty and healthy meal four hours before you take MDMA. This way, you will digest the food before you bump, but you will also have food in your system. I recommend a good chicken fillet burger and add a fried egg if they have the option. Chicken and eggs have high levels of tryptophan. Tryptophan is a key serotonin building block, so this combo makes perfect prep.
What you need to recover long term is Serotonin. Unless you’ve got some stellar antidepressants (and if you’re on them, we’d highly recommend you avoid taking any substances), you have to make your own. Serotonin takes ages to produce. It comes from pure joy. So try hugging your mates and going for a walk before getting back on it.
That being said, you can fortify your body with the building blocks to make Serotonin easier. Mostly a good diet and exercise is the answer. Let’s face it, that’s always the answer. But if you’re at a festival living your best feral girl summer, eating foods rich in tryptophan will aid recovery. 5-HTP is a chemical that helps build serotonin chemicals in your brain. You can’t get 5-HTP from food. The amino acid tryptophan is a building block the body uses to make 5-HTP.
Drinking fluids that contain electrolytes, such as Lucozade sport or coconut water, will always help. Bonus points if you’ve packed the diorolyte. Unlock secret level points if you can remember to drink them before bed.
If you’re ever taken any MDMA sub-variant, you’ll know that it kills your appetite and can make you vomit. When you can’t get food down, sucking on hard sweets can give you a little blood sugar boost. It works for morning sickness, so it should work for you too. Sugar will trigger dopamine which will help you regulate after it feels like the drug has sucked all potential for happiness from your body.
If you think you can stomach a little something more than fortified water but not as much as a meal, then get yourself to a smoothie spot. Or somewhere that juices. You want to look for something that has greens or seeds in it. These all have magnesium, and magnesium is nature’s muscle relaxant. If you’ve been grinding the gums off your jaw, you will be in desperate need of muscle relaxants.
What you need to eat to help you keep on keeping on the day after a little bit too much MDMA, though, is something Asian. You want soy and sesame seeds. Both of these contain L-Tyrosine, which makes dopamine. This will give you a bit of a quick fix of joy while you build more Serotonin. If you can go for the veggie option, you’ll also get some much-needed vitamin c into you before you get to run down. Because if you let them, festivals will burn you at both ends and leave you asking for your ma.
While it might be tempting to fight your comedown with more drugs and keep the party going, doing so isn’t a good idea and won’t help in the long run. This is the time to practice some self-care.
Fair warning: even if you do your best to follow all the advice in this article, you could still end up an emotional wreck with a brain made of mashed potato. These tips aren’t guaranteed to make you feel right as rain but they’ll certainly help you more than eating one portion of chips a day from insert rubbish burger van name here.
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