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In my world, I am running into a problem with how to trigger psychedelic experiences in psychologically typical individuals without using psychoactive drugs. I want the means to be naturally based, in that no chemicals or technology is required, because the United earth convention (UEC) has banned all modern technology for consumer use and banned all drugs that are not strictly necessary (due to a war with the Evil Green Men). Physics is the same. It is a really tough time for the average Joe, and the UEC doesn't care, they invest all their resources into building starship, hovercraft, plasma rifles, high end biotechnology enhancements, FTL communication, and the like. So the consumer needs a way to kind of will themselves into hallucinations, to enter another world.

Is it possible for someone to will themselves into a psychedelic experience, or otherwise experience things that are totally unrealistic, wihout the use of drugs?

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    $\begingroup$ What do you mean by psychedelic? Simply being sleep-deprived can produce hallucinations. $\endgroup$
    – ITM_Coder
    Nov 2, 2022 at 16:54
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    $\begingroup$ @ITM_Coder's right. "psychedelic" = hallucinations, be they visual, aural, or tactile. Using the word psychedelic is a problem in the question because it has too much cultural baggage leading to misunderstanding your intent. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Nov 2, 2022 at 18:38
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    $\begingroup$ @Divani Place your hands on your eyes and press down lightly. Congrats, with zero drugs you have now had some visual hallucinations. $\endgroup$
    – Topcode
    Nov 2, 2022 at 20:02
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    $\begingroup$ I'm puzzled what the limits are. What counts as "drugs"? Would say, bark of some tree, or some nut or flower or eating some kind of animal, count as a " drug"? Bark, nuts, plant parts and animals (frog skins??), can all produce exotic chemicals that could induce altered states. So where exactly is the line here? What counts as a drug? $\endgroup$
    – Stilez
    Nov 4, 2022 at 3:24
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    $\begingroup$ When you say "no chemicals" what precisely do you mean? Water is a chemical, salt is a chemical, sugars are chemicals. You also use the word "Natural" without a definition, a lot of what we call drugs are, in fact, natural (Opium comes from a poppy plant, Marijuana is a plant, and hallucinogenic mushrooms are also naturally occurring). But, I have a feeling that these are out for some reason you're not stating. $\endgroup$
    – Mathaddict
    Nov 4, 2022 at 16:10

16 Answers 16

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There are some states of consciousness which can be reached by following given procedures which seems to resemble the states induced by consuming psychoactive drugs.

Deep meditation is one of them; another one, if I remember correctly, is Sufi whirling.

In addition to the above, using a sensory deprivation tank can result in an altered state of consciousness because, in layman's terms, the brain, deprived of the usual stimuli, starts making them up to keep itself busy.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think this answer works very well, thank you! The sufi whirling and deep meditation work the best here, since the deprivation tank would be hard for the average person to get (due to the UEC taking most of the resources). I'll wait for other answers though, but I have a feeling this one will work the best. $\endgroup$
    – user99307
    Nov 2, 2022 at 17:02
  • $\begingroup$ The sensory deprivation could work though, with one of those sleep blindfolds. I really like the idea of the brain just coming up stuff to have stimulation. $\endgroup$
    – user99307
    Nov 2, 2022 at 17:04
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    $\begingroup$ sensory deprivation was going to be my answer. as far as tech all you need is warm saltwater a tub big enough to float in, a dark room. maybe some ear plugs. EDIT: look up the movie "Altered states" $\endgroup$
    – Gillgamesh
    Nov 2, 2022 at 18:33
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    $\begingroup$ Or any of several episodes of Stranger Things. $\endgroup$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Nov 2, 2022 at 18:40
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    $\begingroup$ Can witness first hand to mild hallucinations after 90 minutes in a sensory deprivation tank. The tank had very faint green lights on during the last 10 minutes, which danced around, like light always does on water. When the time was up, the lights switched off. I saw little orange lights. At first I thought it was an optical colour inversion, but then the lights started moving like little goldfish, swishing their tails and gently nosing one another. I was baffled how they put such lights in the lid. I opened the lid to examine it; it was completely plain, opaque plastic. $\endgroup$
    – user86462
    Nov 3, 2022 at 7:44
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Sleep deprivation

Stay awake. Keep staying awake. Watch the pretty lights.

A group can keep each other awake much easier than a single person can.

Different people have different thresholds for this, but most need at least 36 hours before things start getting interesting.

Be aware that this is NOT HEALTHY. If the government wants to find these people they can look around for people walking into doors and such.

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    $\begingroup$ I tended to sleep every other night at uni. (I was a geek, and that was the main time the computer labs were free.) I definitely had plenty of this. My best one was cycling home, and seeing a man running out of his driveway towards me. I swerved to avoid them, then looked back. And it was actually a post box on the side of the road, not a person running towards me. This is kind of the point where you realise that eye-witness evidence, especially late at night, isn't necessarily trustworthy. :) $\endgroup$
    – Graham
    Nov 4, 2022 at 8:56
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Banning Modern Technology Makes Regulating Drugs Harder

United earth convention (UEC) has banned all modern technology for consumer use and banned all drugs that are not strictly necessary

The vast majority of the surveillance that governments do on thier own people these days is done through modern consumer products. Phone logs, GPS, Text Messages, Emails, IoT Devices, Social Media, Credit Card Transactions, Vehicle Checkpoints, etc. are the means by which a modern police force catches you in the act of breaking a law. When you look back to before these things existed, law enforcement was a very difficult and labor intensive matter with a huge window for uncertainty.

The problem with this setup is that many mind altering drugs are super easy to make without modern tech. A person can grow mushrooms, poppies, or marijuana using nothing but basic gardening tools; so, the more tech you take away from a person, the easier it becomes for them to hide thier contraband. While the UEC may make drugs illegal, they will still be the main go-to for psychedelics because they are cheap and easy to produce, and your best remaining option after you've taken away any sort of modern or future-tech consumer goods.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is a really great point. Made me think of all the criminals that got caught because they literally bragged about their crimes on social media. $\endgroup$ Nov 4, 2022 at 16:48
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    $\begingroup$ You can make booze using literally nothing but flour, water, and microbes in the air. $\endgroup$
    – nick012000
    Nov 5, 2022 at 10:11
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    $\begingroup$ When everyone has a small gardening patch for growing some extra food (because you know, war effort), its a lot of work to identify the guy who has a patch of psychedelic mushrooms in amongst their crop of food mushrooms. $\endgroup$ Nov 5, 2022 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ @user1937198 Not just that, but decorative gardens too. A bed of poppies and a bed of buttercups are very hard to differentiate. And mushrooms don't even need sunlight; so, they could be grown in your attic, closet, shed, the crawl space under your house, or anywhere else you can keep cool, dark, well ventilated, and away from curious gazes. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Nov 6, 2022 at 19:35
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In recent years, there's been considerable press about Trans-Cranial Induction as a treatment for various mental conditions, including insomnia and depression.

This treatment works by using electromagnetic induction to induce currents near the surface of the brain that stimulate the region that receives the current.

As it exists, it doesn't (AFAIK) produce hallucinations, but if the process could be modified to treat deeper brain tissue it very well might.

There are no drugs involved, and the device that administers the induction is comparatively simple (it could probably be built by someone who scratch-builds radio equipment, for instance, though the existing ones use microcontrollers).

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    $\begingroup$ This provides a great insight into the science of it, thank you! I like the part about affecting the deeper regions of the brain, because I think that is where the critical functions like touch and sensory information is processed. I admit I never thought about stimulating the brain with electricity, thank you for the answer! $\endgroup$
    – user99307
    Nov 2, 2022 at 17:11
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    $\begingroup$ Possibly of note, this is conceptually similar to the ‘full dive’ virtual reality technology described in Reki Kawahara’s Sword Art Online (and some of the later series that it inspired, though they often do not get into the technical details and just reuse the terminology). As a result of that similarity, many people who are dedicated anime or manga fans are likely to have no issues accepting this explanation even if they don’t believe the science is real. $\endgroup$ Nov 3, 2022 at 15:36
  • $\begingroup$ While not a bad answer to the core question, this would not work in a setting where modern consumer goods have also been banned. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Nov 3, 2022 at 16:24
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    $\begingroup$ Disassembling antiques (20th century radios, televisions, and landline phones, for instance) can yield parts that will allow building a suitable oscillator and coil -- and some folks must still have the knowledge, or essential devices (for government) won't get built or upkept. $\endgroup$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Nov 3, 2022 at 17:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Nosajimiki modern consumer goods need only include two different kinds of metal and some lemon juice. Batteries are not that hard to make if you know what you’re doing. $\endgroup$ Nov 3, 2022 at 19:26
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@Topcode's comment made me wonder

What is a hallucination?

At least in the U.S. I suspect most of us upon hearing the word "hallucination" think in terms of Timothy Leary, LSD, the 60s, and tie-dye. What most people don't realize is that hallucinations (which I assume is what the OP is talking about) happen, frankly, all the time for a variety of reasons — and because they don't happen in concert with illegal, life-threatening drugs, we don't think twice about them.

Other answers have dealt with many of the reasons for hallucinations. I'd like to present Phosphenes.

A phosphene is the phenomenon of seeing light without light entering the eye. The word phosphene comes from the Greek words phos (light) and phainein (to show). Phosphenes that are induced by movement or sound may be associated with optic neuritis.

Phosphenes can be induced by mechanical, electrical, or magnetic stimulation of the retina or visual cortex, or by random firing of cells in the visual system. Phosphenes have also been reported by meditators (called nimitta), people who endure long periods without visual stimulation (the prisoner's cinema), or those who ingest psychedelic drugs. (Source)

Deformity Phosphenes

The effect of seeing pretty colors, stars, etc when pressing on your closed eyes (don't have to be closed, BTW) is called deformity phosphenes (see also here). Basically, pressing on the eye physically agitates the nerves that transmit optical sensory data from the eye to the brain, causing them to misfire. The brain, not knowing (or caring) what causes the neural stimulus, interprets the signals as "light." So @Topcode's right, one solution is to rub your eyes. Note that an allergic reaction that causes swelling around the optic nerve will also cause deformation phosphenes. (Allergies would be a good worldbuilding solution to your problem.)

Migraine Phosphenes

Those articles also point out that migraine headaches and darkness can cause phosphenes. Migraine headaches are not entirely understood and the hallucinations they cause is thought to be due to electrical "static" or misfires in the brain itself.

Afterimage Phosphenes

Another phosphene comes from looking at things too long. Stare at a black dot on a white background long enough and when you look away, you'll still see the dot. This is called a negative afterimage (there are positive afterimages, too) and it's a hallucination that's not dissimilar to phosphate burn on old computer monitors. Do you remember the days when there was an actual, electronic reason for screen savers? Yeah, they were literally saving your screen, because if the same image was just left there for too long it burned itself into the CRT's phosphate and remained, forever. This is the same thing, just without the permanence or Microsoft. You can see hallucinations because you stare at something too long.

The Ghost Hand Illusion

Darkness phosphenes are a bit more complex. Have you ever toured a cave when they shut off all the lights and ask if you can see your hand? Some people claim they can. In a few cases, they actually can because they have very light-sensitive eyes and there's enough phosphorescence in the cave (which most people can't see) to produce a barely-discernible contrast (I'm one of those people. Believe me, it's a curse, not a superpower). In most cases (about 50% of the population), the effect is called the Ghost Hand Illusion. Your brain knows where your hand is and in complete darkness will "project" (identify within the brain) the location of the hand. Remember, you're in complete darkness. There isn't a darker color to work with. But your brain knows where your hand is and "identifies" that with what you think is a darker shadow.

Which is a fancy way of saying if you can trick the brain into believing something is there, it'll happily help that trick along by creating a false image to support it.

The brain is amazing...

Similar to the ghost hand illusion is the activity of the brain in a sensory deprivation tank. Just as the brain knows where the hands are, the brain knows something should be going on. In normal circumstances, there is always some sensory input (even when unconscious or in a coma). In these instances, the brain supplies its own sensory input — just as it did for the hand.

And... Other Phosphenes

Out on the fringe of thinking (I can't actually verify this one) is the idea that light comes from more sources than the sun. Fireflies are used in the example of this article. It's suggested that the human body (specifically the retina) also has some bioluminescence, and when you close your eyes, your eye's sensors start picking up on that. Well... maybe. I'd like someone with better credibility than blogs to chime in on this one — but hey, this is worldbuilding and imaginary worlds is what we do.

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    $\begingroup$ Adding on to the migraine part of your answer, a specific type called retinal migraines (which I occasionally get, yay!) cause you to see blurry/flashyness but often without the headache part of a migraine. $\endgroup$
    – Topcode
    Nov 3, 2022 at 1:55
  • $\begingroup$ Similar to the ghost-hand illusion, there's also the strange-face illusion. $\endgroup$ Nov 3, 2022 at 18:21
  • $\begingroup$ I've only once had a migraine aura this far, but I was too fascinated by it to be bothered much (luckily, though, I knew about the phenomenon :): it was a zigzag shape in the lower left corner of my field of vision (with multicoloured contours IIRC) which had a different refraction which I'm sure 'updated realtime'. $\endgroup$
    – Joachim
    Nov 5, 2022 at 3:58
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Fall asleep

Although dreams are not typically considered "psychedelic experiences", they're an extremely common way to experience something divorced from reality. There is some evidence that one can affect the likelihood and vividness of dreams by their diet, bedtime routine, sleep environment, and mental state. Dreaming is almost certainly the most common way for people to "enter another world", and requires no special equipment whatsoever.

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  • $\begingroup$ This works okay, but I was looking more for a way that would work when the person was conscious so they could enjoy the experience. But you do have a very good point with the dreams, and I could include a manner by which a person can remember their dreams (maybe hypnosis?). $\endgroup$
    – user99307
    Nov 2, 2022 at 17:40
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    $\begingroup$ @Divani You may also be interested in lucid dreaming, in which the dreamer is aware of the dream and may have some level of control over the dream. A lucid dreamer may experience and enjoy their dream as it happens, rather than merely remembering it upon waking. There is some evidence that lucid dreaming may be learned as well. $\endgroup$ Nov 2, 2022 at 17:45
  • $\begingroup$ That then will definitely work. Experiencing it directly fits the requirements, and the fact that controlling the dreams is possible is even better, because then it provides a more escapist type entertainment. $\endgroup$
    – user99307
    Nov 2, 2022 at 17:49
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Huffing solvents

Disclaimer: This answer is probably not what the OP wants, but is viable in world (as described, until the plot hole is plugged).

You can get as high as a kite sniffing glue or petrol or some other completely essential solvent while not measurably* decreasing the volume of glue or petrol that you have for gluing or driving.

*Outside a lab, anyway.

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  • $\begingroup$ This isn't what I was looking for, but it is very interesting. You can get high by snorting glue? $\endgroup$
    – user99307
    Nov 2, 2022 at 18:01
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    $\begingroup$ @Divani Sniffing. I.e. concentrating vapour and displacing air. It's about the stupidest way to get high in terms of enjoyment to brain damage, but yes. Here in New Zealand, drugs other than marijuana and mushrooms used to be very scarce. As a result, we had a LOT of petrol sniffing (and resulting deaths and brain damage) among teenagers. I mention it more to alert you to a potential plot hole than anything else. $\endgroup$
    – user86462
    Nov 2, 2022 at 18:06
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    $\begingroup$ Incidentally, taking multivitamins before bed can give you some pretty gnarly dreams. As can reading Ezekiel or Revelation or Zecheriah. $\endgroup$
    – user86462
    Nov 2, 2022 at 18:10
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/Like seeing spirals everywhere, or watching a leaf fly in circles, or hearing electronical sounds when there is no electronics/

psychedelic vr

https://techcrunch.com/2021/06/24/psychedelic-vr-meditation-startup-tripp-raises-11-million-series-a/

Your person enters a VR world with visual and audio components. Attendants also hold tubes of various intriguing odorants under the noses of these people and cats walk on them. Cats walk on the VR people on their entirety, not just the noses.

Or your people can go the other way and float in a sensory deprivation tank. Probably someone who has never heard of sniffing glue will be unfamiliar with the film Altered States but when you float in the tank many a strange vision ensues. Also William Hurt turns into a chimp man which is maybe something you can use.

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    $\begingroup$ Great answer! I thought of VR, but I didn't know it could be like that. I looked at the film plot, and that kind of thing is exactly what I am trying to make. I wouldn't put that same kind of plot (that's more of a writing thing) but I would definitely make the experience similar. Thank you for the answer! $\endgroup$
    – user99307
    Nov 2, 2022 at 18:24
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    $\begingroup$ While not a bad answer to the core question, this would not work in a setting where modern consumer goods have also been banned. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Nov 3, 2022 at 16:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Nosajimiki - the sensory deprivation tank might not count as consumer goods. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Nov 3, 2022 at 21:03
  • $\begingroup$ @Willk That is true... but only sort of true. Pop culture has way over emphasized the actual potential for sensory deprivation hallucinations. Unless you are already prone to hallucinations or have a history of drug use, it is very unlikely that you will hallucinate, and on the rare occasion they do happen, they are very subtle and short lived more like tinnitus, or the patterns you see when your rub your eyes. So, it's not exactly what most people would describe as a psychedelic experience. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Nov 4, 2022 at 16:38
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Ganzflicker. Coincidentally I just learned about this from this article:

FOR MILLENNIA, people have used mind-altering techniques to achieve different states ... Perhaps the most powerful technique of this kind is flickering light, called “ganzflicker.” Ganzflicker effects can be achieved by turning a light on and off, or by alternating colors in a rapid, rhythmic pattern (like a strobe). This can create an instant psychedelic experience.

Ganzflicker elicits striking visual phenomena. People can see geometric shapes and illusory colors but sometimes also complex objects, such as animals and faces — all without any chemical stimulants. Sometimes ganzflicker can even lead to altered states of consciousness (such as losing a sense of time or space) and emotions (ranging from fear to euphoria).

Ganflicker effects were documented over 200 years ago.

Ganzflicker’s effects were first documented in 1819 by the physiologist Jan E. Purkinje. Purkinje discovered that illusory patterns could appear if he faced the Sun and waved his hand in front of his closed eyelids.

 Jan E. Purkinje’s documentation of the subjective visual phenomena he saw when he waved his hand in front of his closed eyes.

Shown above is Jan E. Purkinje’s documentation of the subjective visual phenomena he saw when he waved his hand in front of his closed eyes.

This technique is reported to have been practiced by North African tribes for much longer.

You can even try it yourself with the 'Dreamachine'. This article contains links to instructions on how to create your own.

WARNING: Ganzflicker effects should not be viewed by people with photosensitive epilepsy or other nervous disorders.

The "Dreamachine Plans" describes one such 'trip':

"One person I know who exposed themself to its spinning glare came out of their semi-hallucinatory state talking seriously of visiting another planet, complete with aliens, cavepaintings and children"

To explain how Ganzflicker is an answer to the question "Is it possible for someone to will themselves into a psychedelic experience, or otherwise experience things that are totally unrealistic, without the use of drugs?", Ganzflicker is explicitly claimed to allow people to cause people to have psychedelic experiences, or otherwise experience things that are totally unrealistic, without the use of drugs.

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  • $\begingroup$ As it’s currently written, your answer is unclear. Please edit to add additional details that will help others understand how this addresses the question asked. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center. $\endgroup$
    – Community Bot
    Nov 3, 2022 at 16:54
  • $\begingroup$ Seriously? Can someone explain how this isn't a good answer? It's literally exactly what the OP asked for. $\endgroup$
    – JimmyJames
    Nov 3, 2022 at 17:06
  • $\begingroup$ Not me downvoting, but I guess it is due to it being link-mostly answer. I.e. when all the HTML links stop working (or you cannot follow them for whatever reason), and you are not already familiar with the concept (like I have never heard of it) it is totally unclear what the answer is about. I would suggest copying into answer what ganzflicker is, how one uses it (or enters it - depending what it is, I can't follow links so I can't tell) and other related information, so even if this web page was printed on the piece of paper it would be self-sufficient and clear. $\endgroup$ Nov 3, 2022 at 17:31
  • $\begingroup$ @MatijaNalis Thanks for the feedback. I was thinking references (such as the first one from the NIH) would be useful for a 'science-based' answer. I don't see much scientific evidence for most of the other answers. I can copy more of the linked articles content, I suppose. $\endgroup$
    – JimmyJames
    Nov 3, 2022 at 17:42
  • $\begingroup$ @JimmyJames, here is a detailed explanation worldbuilding.meta.stackexchange.com/a/7414/30492 $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Nov 3, 2022 at 17:58
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One of your comments,

or hearing electronical sounds when there is no electronics

gets the very point. Although the term psychedelic music is used for an electronic music style which evolved in the drug scenes in the 1960ies, putting oneself into the state of trance by means of music was known long before. Listening to the rhythm and certain sounds which are produced by African percussion instruments or the Australian didgeridoo are perfect for putting people in trance. These sounds may also be accompanied by a certain dance, like the Whirling Dervishes (as @L.Dutch already mentioned).

Disclaimer: I have never taken drugs. What I write about is being in an altered conscious state rather than having hallucinations.

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This might fall under the case of "meditation," as suggested by several other answerers, but you might look into something called Holotropic Breathing.

This is a practice of breathwork that was developed by psychiatrists Stanislav and Christina Grof in the 1970s to achieve altered states of consciousness (without using drugs) as a potential therapeutic tool. It's got a very New Agey reputation and a lot of folks who engage with it approach it with a spiritual mindset.

Basically, you do a specific pattern of quickening and slowing your breath and, so the argument goes, throwing your blood oxygen and CO2 so out of whack induces some mild hallucinations.

Oh No Ross and Carrie, a podcast that investigates these sort of things, has a two part investigation on this, if you want to hear the perspective of two science-minded people going through the practice. This might be a good resource for writing about it, too.

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I see 2 requirements to the question: (1) low/no-tech (2) no drugs.

For the first part, remember that humans have found ways to alter their consciousness for thousands of years before the modern time, using various more-or-less easy-to-obtain substances and techniques, even for hunter/gatherers and agrarian peasants.

For the second part, how does one define a drug? I understand that special extraction or synthesizing operations are out of bounds, but some common food substances do have some psychoactive effect. For example, see https://food.ndtv.com/photos/9-common-foods-that-can-make-you-hallucinate-21227 - more can be websearched. (Although admittedly these examples all seem pretty mild...). And it is hardly noteworthy in some places to find someone that has a half dozen or even a dozen cannabis plants in the back yard in between his tomatoes and beans, or somewhere out in the sticks off the well-trodden paths.

So one could have the production of some apparently completely innocent foodstuff, but by some (deliberate but deniable) accident in production (and/or storage) it is much sought-after by trip-seekers. I wonder if it could be possible that some strain of e.g. mushroom or cheese culture is "improved" through selection... Imagine, for instance, a rye bread if eaten as normal is just good nutrition, but if kept under "just the right conditions for a few weeks" (that the initiated know about) is a real treat for those seeking escape. (Not sure if rye bread is still a poor person's bread in some parts of the world as it used to be, in my locale to get 100% rye costs a pretty penny.)

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Lucid Dreaming

When you dream, you are vividly hallucinating. It's possible, with some practice, to become "lucid" and recognize the unreality of what you're experiencing. It is also possible to make changes to the dream world (e.g. cause yourself to fly around, summon specific objects or people, erase objects from the world, etc).

There are a number of techniques people can use to trigger lucidity:

  • Ask yourself throughout the day, during waking hours, if you're dreaming. If you get in the habit of doing this, you'll start doing it while dreaming.
  • Use LED goggles, timed to start blinking around when you'll be in REM sleep. You'll see the blinking lights in the dream, and hopefully remember what that cue means.
  • Polyphasic sleep may make you more likely to experience lucidity.
  • Playing video games immediately before sleeping may also make lucidity more likely.

Given the world you've described, I imagine that video games are probably not available to the average consumer. LED goggles may still be possible though, especially if there's lots of e-waste to scavenge.

Having personally experienced lucid dreams, it does take practice to get right. If you become too lucid, you'll just wake all the way up and the dream will end; if you fail to maintain consciousness of the fact that the world around you is unreal, you'll lose lucidity and go back to dreaming normally. With experience, this balance gets easier to sustain.

In a world where everyone is trying to find escapism wherever possible, I could see lucid dreaming techniques becoming quite popular.

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The strict answer is no, since psychedelic experiences are mediated by endogenous chemicals in the brain.

For instance, one of these is DMT, a very powerful hallucinogen linked with lucid dreaming. I can imagine a lucid dreaming sleep spa that secretly harvests DMT precursor from customers' pineal glands; then they sell free base on the black market.

Other ideas I haven't seen others mention yet include congenital schizophrenia, flagellation, exhaustion (sex magic, fasting, dancing), hypnosis, or near-death experiences.

Many would consider trance-like states, even those induced by immersive experiences like skilled storytelling or a good movie/book, an altered state of consciousness, if not strictly psychedelic.

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Many cultures have a sauna or sweat lodge tradition. The combination of heat-induced dehydration and sensory deprivation can cause vivid hallucinations, without needing anything but a closed hot room.

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There are many ways to do this, they just require more effort (or are more unpleasant) than drugs:

  • breathwork (especially holotrophic which was designed as a replacement for LSD when it became illegal)
  • meditation
  • shamanic drumming (rhythmic sounds)
  • kasina / tratika (staring at patterns)
  • lucid dreaming
  • sweat lodge
  • long periods in complete darkness
  • sleep deprivation
  • mental illnesses (eg. schizophrenia & mania)
  • near-death experiences
  • dream machines (very low tech, but not no tech)
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