I've tried a few drugs, and while I've decided they're not my thing, I can offer a few tips.

General

Research before taking anything. Any opinion you find, Google for the opposite opinion before you consider trusting it.

Don't ever go out in public on drugs. I'd say this counts for legal drugs too. However, you also shouldn't do them alone; this is more important with some than others, but friends are a good signpost for abuse. If drugs are interfering with your friendships or work, you're abusing them, and need to stop.

Marijuana

Type: Down

This can cause developmental problems before a certain stage, which people pass at age 18-20. Wait until 20.

Once you do it, take it slow - each hit builds up over minutes to an hour.

Also, you're going to be mind-altered for about 24 hours afterward, so leave yourself a weekend day to get it out of your system afterward, with no driving or work or school or whatever.

This one isn't easy to cut, so not many worries about that.

The main addiction loop is "the whatever"; if you notice yourself just wasting time and letting life go by, you're already hooked, get out - if it's not already too late.

MDMA(Ecstasy / E / X)

Type: Sideways(pleasure/empathogen) and Up

As an up, you want to wait until you're firmly out of puberty.

If doing this for the first time, it must be in a group of people who all trust each other. It makes all sensations pleasurable, including pain - you need to keep each other from doing things like spending 8 hours whacking your funny bone.

You also need to keep each other hydrated. E's up-ness is a drawback, you end up burning through water, and this can kill via heat-stroke.

It's almost always cut with something, so research each kind of pill before you take it. You may end up throwing out a bunch of pills because you found they're cut with something ridiculously addictive like heroin. Also avoid pills cut with other ups, if possible. Even then, it's possible you'll get something nasty cut in.

The trip is about 8 hours, and you're going to sleep for about 16 hours afterward, and you should probably allow some more time after that to recover. Your serotonin levels will be down for about a week afterward.

It's not particularly addictive, but if you find yourself looking for ways to get an E trip before you've got your serotonin back, it's time to stop.

Crystal Meth / Speed

Type: Up and Sideways(pleasure)

As an up, you want to wait until you're firmly out of puberty; I'd say wait longer, maybe until 21, due to its addictivity.

The low-end effects of this are similar to caffeine, but the pleasure is both its greatest strength and greatest weakness. In addition to being addictive, it's really easy to get addicted to pretty much anything else on this, and within a few years it will probably destroy your ability to enjoy anything sober. Not worth it, IMO. Generally cut with something, same issues as E.

Ketamine / K

Type: Down and Sideways(disassociative)

Due to addictivity, I'd say wait until maybe 19.

This one's a short trip; the most annoying part is that it makes you think you're not high, when you're actually quite fucked up. Have a bunch of stuff you like prepared, there's no fun in the trip itself.

Stick to light doses; if you find yourself craving a heavy dose, you're hooked. This one's pretty directly addictive. It also has an antidepressant effect for the next week, and if you find yourself craving this, stop taking it and see a doctor, you need prescription antidepressants.

In general a short, fun trip, marred by its addictivity.

LSD

Type: Sideways(sensory hallucinogen)

Due to self-discovery requiring some maturity, I'd say wait until 16-18.

This is a long trip, maybe 8 hours for the trip proper, plus 16-24 hours before your perceptions are quite normal again. Give yourself some time to think about what you've experienced.

Stick to low doses until you know what you're doing. If you find yourself hungry for heavy doses or frequent trips(like every weekend), particularly if you hunger to try to acquire liquid LSD, you're "getting lost", which is LSD's equivalent to addiction - however, since it works by warping your reality, you'll be effectively insane at that point, so I'm not sure what tips to give for that.

Set up carefully for each trip; make sure you always have something to do, always have some way to mark the passage of time, and won't face anything scary. LSD works by amplifying your perceptions of everything, including introspection and ideas, so whatever your mindset and setting provide will become more. Make sure you're OK with yourself first - if you worry about your appearance, or what people think of you, then on LSD you might end up with a multi-hour spiral of "What if they don't like me?".

If you do LSD, do it with someone you trust - this works best if they're not going to take it, but even if you're both tripping, it's important to be there to reassure each other. If you have a good setting and you still get into a state where you quest to find someone who's not on drugs so they can make sure you're not doing anything wrong, remember there's just three things you really need: As long as you have those, you're not doing anything wrong, just kick back and think about thinking until it's over.

Nitrous Oxide(Whip-Its)

Type: Sideways(hypnagogic?)

This one is legal to own, but of course not to take as a drug, and there's still paraphernelia.

The main age concern is with brain development(due to partial asphyxiation); wait until 18-20. Even then, continued usage will cause gradual brain damage, about 2/3 as bad as alcohol.

This is an extremely short trip, maybe two minutes; usually you'll get a box of six or so. Logistics are easy, unless you have problems operating the paraphernelia.

You may be tempted to up the dosage later in a session; this sharply increases the asphyxiation effects, and doesn't really do much for the high. Take it slow.

Do not ever hook up nitrous like a feed bag, where you don't have to hold it to your mouth. Even if it involves someone else holding it there, or a strap that will work loose, or whatever. The need to hold it to your mouth is the #1 safety feature; you will probably pass out frequently while taking nitrous, and when you do, you need air and need it bad. Ideally, you should be sitting and leaning forward a bit, so that when you pass out your hand will immediately fall into your lap and let you breathe.

Addiction is moderate; if you find yourself breezing through your day with anticipation, that's how it gets you.

Highlights Of Some Others