Starting in the mid 1900’s, the American public was inundated with news articles and propaganda videos discussing the ‘consequences’ of psychedelic drugs like LSD, which were touted as harmful catalysts for psychotic episodes, aggressive behavior and two-day trips.
They preached of the dangers these substances presented to society, arguing that moral reason, dignity, integrity, and safety were compromised when psychedelics were consumed.
While some of that stigma and fear still exists, we’ve come a long way over the past few decades, and—though still largely illegal—it’s estimated that more than 17% of Americans have used psychedelics (Krebs & Johansen, 2013).
Many now view psychedelics in a more positive light thanks to a resurgence of scientific and medical research as well as a rediscovered appreciation for the role of entheogens in indigenous spiritual healing and cultural significance around the world.
Because these medicines have clear therapeutic benefits, especially for mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, people are looking for safe and contained ways to experiment with their effects.
The aim of this article is to help you understand your options for psychedelic therapy and facilitated psychedelic experiences, and to provide tips on preparation and advocacy when making decisions regarding your psychedelic trip.
- You have options when it comes to finding therapeutic and professionally supported psychedelic experiences.
- There are 8 key considerations when determining the best psychedelic therapy for you.
- Having a set of questions to ask while determining the right facilitator and setting can help in the decision-making process.
- Psychedelic Passage: Your Psychedelic Concierge — The easy, legal way to find trustworthy psilocybin guides, facilitators and psychedelic assisted therapy near you in the United States.
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The Legal Status of Psychedelic Drugs: Where Are We Now?
Psychedelic substances like magic mushrooms have been used for centuries for spiritual and medicinal purposes. However, the legal status of these substances has been a source of controversy for decades.
Despite the growing interest in the therapeutic potential of psychedelics, most of these substances are still illegal under federal law in the United States and are classified as Schedule I drugs.
This means that individuals caught in possession of magic mushrooms or other psychedelics could face legal consequences, including fines and imprisonment.
But the last few years have seen significant progress towards the legalization of psychedelic substances for medical and research purposes.
For example, the FDA has granted breakthrough psilocybin therapy designation for the treatment of depression, and there are ongoing clinical trials investigating the use of psilocybin for the treatment of PTSD.
Furthermore, in recent years, several cities in the US have decriminalized the possession and use of magic mushrooms and other psychedelics. In May 2019, Denver became the first city in the US to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms.
Since then, several other cities, including Oakland, Santa Cruz, and Ann Arbor, have also decriminalized the possession of magic mushrooms and other psychedelics.
This legal development has sparked a nationwide conversation about the benefits and risks of these substances, and despite the growing support for psychedelic legalization, it’s important to note that these substances remain illegal under federal law.
As more research is conducted, it will be interesting to see how the legal status of psychedelics evolves and how these substances are integrated into mainstream mental health care in coming years.
In conclusion, the legal status of psychedelic drugs remains a complex issue, but the decriminalization of magic mushrooms and other psychedelics is a positive sign that the conversation around psychedelics is changing.
In these next sections, we’ll explore why people are using psychedelics, how you can connect with professional psychedelic guides near you, and how to choose the best type of psychedelic support service for your needs.
What is Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy?
Psychedelic therapy involves the use of a psychedelic substance—like ketamine, psilocybin, or even cannabis—within the context of a therapeutic setting, and the substance is often administered by a practitioner who is present for the entirety of the experience.
While there are different theories on why high doses of psychedelic medicines are proving to be so powerfully beneficial, psychedelic therapy seems to create an “overwhelming and transcendent experience” within the context of a supportive container (Reiff et al., 2021).
Furthermore, a more material look at what happens to the brain helps to explain their intriguing effects on the mind and spirit:
“Increased processing of sensory information, potentially as a result of decreased thalamic gating, and concurrently reduced integration capacity because of diminished associative network integrity may underlie psychedelic experiences.
It is possible that the altered integration of sensory perceptions facilitates a novel experience of the self and its environment and may help to reduce rigid or ruminative thinking patterns as observed in psychiatric disorders.
However, this hypothesis still needs to be tested in clinical populations” (Gregorio, 2021).
This idea aligns with another discovery about the human brain on psychedelics, and that revolves around the Default Mode Network.
You can learn more about the DMN in our article about how psychedelics work in the brain, but to summarize, the DMN has been shown to be overactive in those with depression, ADHD, and other mental health conditions.
Interestingly, studies have shown that psychedelics temporarily diminish DMN activity and over time can help long-term habitual reliance on those patterns of brain activity associated with those conditions.
This observation of an increase in certain activity in the brain and a decrease in others is an observable correlative of the experiential profundities experienced while on psychedelics.
However, plants and substances derived from plants have been used for thousands of years both for pleasure and healing, and this was long before modern science could observe the intricacies of the brain and body in real time.
Non-plant derived psychedelics, such as LSD and ketamine, however, were discovered in more recent history and were first synthesized in 1938 and 1962, respectively.
As far as history goes, research into the healing properties of psychedelics tapered off in the 1950s, jump-started again in the late 1990s, and is currently picking up momentum again.
When it comes to psychedelic therapy within a modern context, it is important to be aware of the potential side effects, but patients are under professional supervision throughout the experience.
Some find that a therapeutic psychedelic experience is a better and more effective alternative to prescribed antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication, especially given the wide range of side effects associated with those medications.
Psychedelic therapy may be a single session, or several sessions over the course of a few months, depending on the needs of the participant. It is often combined with integration sessions both before and after the psychedelic experience.
The practitioners who facilitate these methods have varying levels of experience administering and experiencing psychedelic substances themselves, so due diligence is recommended to find the best option for you.
We recommend checking out our article on the difference between a psychedelic therapist and a guide to gain a better understanding of the pros and cons of going with a clinician versus an expert guide.
Bottom line is, you should find a practitioner who has consumed these substances themselves, is experienced both with tripping and tripsitting, and can hold an individualized, safe, and supportive container for your experience.
Let’s take a look at how you can find psychedelic therapy—wherever you are in the U.S.
Your Options for Current Legal Therapeutic Psychedelic Experiences in 2023
So, psychedelics have caught your attention…and maybe you’ve been wondering how you can find legal psychedelic therapy near you. If you would have asked this question a decade ago, you would have run into many dead ends.
Because these substances are still considered illegal substances, some types of psychedelic therapy are illegal in the US, outside of clinical studies. That said, there are still some viable legal alternatives:
1. Ketamine Therapy
Ketamine has been approved by the FDA as an anesthetic for nearly half a decade. Recent clinical trials demonstrating benefits in treating mood disorders has meant that ketamine can also be administered for “off-label uses” (Wilkinson & Sanacora, 2017).
Even without appropriate FDA classification for ketamine as a medicine, health providers have been using ketamine for years to treat bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and PTSD.
Though ketamine is actually a dissociative psychedelic, for many in the psychiatric community, ketamine is nothing short of a ground-breaking treatment.
Ketamine has a response rate of 60-75% when it comes to antidepressant effects (Lender et al., 2017), and it seems that Special K is a potential viable treatment method for the 1% of American citizens struggling with treatment-resistant depression (Serafini et al., 2014).
There are now hundreds of ketamine clinics around the US, and just last year, the FDA approved esketamine, a nasal spray to be used with conventional antidepressants.
2. Guided Psychedelic Experiences With Psychedelic Passage
We, at Psychedelic Passage, believe that it is a fundamental human right to commune with plant medicine and psychedelic substances for healing, regardless of whether you prefer to work with a licensed mental health professional or not.
This is why we created Psychedelic Passage; our goal is to connect journeyers with our network of pre-vetted, local guides who provide guidance before, during, and after an intentional psychedelic experience.
Our network of facilitators offer preparation and integration support, microdosing coaching, and personalized therapeutic psychedelic guidance for individuals who are interested in or have had experiences with psychedelic medicine.
Our main mission is to promote safe and responsible use of these substances while also providing support and guidance for individuals who seek to benefit from their potential therapeutic benefits.
Because we don’t source psychedelic medicine for you, you have the option to work with any substance. The best part? Our network of facilitators can guide your therapeutic psychedelic ceremony from the comfort of your home.
We understand how confusing this fresh space of mental health treatment can be, which is why we aim to simplify the therapeutic psychedelic experience, by ensuring you’re crystal clear about every phase of the psychedelic healing process.
To learn more about service, receive answers to your personal psychedelic questions, or to connect with a facilitator who matches your needs, we empower you to book a consultation with our knowledgeable psychedelic concierges today.
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3. International Psychedelic Retreats
If you’re seeking psychedelic assisted therapy with a substance other than ketamine or cannabis, your only legal option (currently) is to go overseas.
While the US has yet to recognize that the ban on some of these psychedelics should be lifted, fortunately that doesn’t apply everywhere.
Some countries recognize the sacramental value of psychedelics, so while they’re technically illegal, they are allowed in traditional use.
Other countries have never made psychedelics illegal, and even if they have (in the case of Portugal), they typically don’t enforce it.
Psilocybin retreats are common in Mexico, Jamaica, and the Netherlands. San Pedro and ayahuasca retreats can easily be found in countries like Colombia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru.
While not as popular, practitioners offering 5-MeO-DMT can be found in Spain and Mexico. Iboga treatment centers have opened recently in Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica, and Portugal.
In reality, these psychedelic retreats are more ceremonial and group-oriented than facilitated psychedelic experiences in the US, which tend to be 1-on-1 with a guide and with a more neutral feel.
That means international retreats are a better option for those seeking a more indigenous, ceremonial, and spiritual experience.
Though these international trips are a legal option, a number of considerations must be taken into account before embarking on this type of journey.
In addition to travel logistics, taking time off work, vetting, and reviewing psychedelic retreat and spiritual centers can be difficult from afar.
Psychedelics can put the user in a vulnerable condition, both mentally and physically, so utmost care should be taken to find a safe and reputable place. We’ll explain more on how to do this in the next section.
How to Determine Which Psychedelic Therapy is Right for You
Now that you know which psychedelic therapy options exist, it’s time to choose the path that’s best for you. We know it can be daunting to choose which of the hundreds of clinics is a good fit for you personally.
That’s why we have put together this guide to help you find a trusted, legal, psychedelic assisted therapy clinic that fits your unique needs.
1. Initial Search
The first step is to research all of your legal options, now that you know what they are. We suggest using whatever resources at your disposal to search for options that meet your parameters.
Using this as a starting point, you can then apply the filters below to narrow down your results.
2. Determine Your Desired Outcome
What is your desired outcome? It’s important to choose a substance and a facilitator that can help you achieve your desired outcome. Assess your intentions for the experience.
What do you want to get out of it? What do you want to learn about yourself?
It is also worth noting that facilitators have different specialties.
Some specialize in addiction, while others specialize in trauma, anxiety, or stress reduction. We suggest choosing a therapist that specializes in treating your condition using psychedelics.
3. What is Your Budget?
Like every professional service, psychedelic assisted therapy is provided at a variety of different price points.
Ketamine therapy is generally the most expensive form of psychedelic therapy in the US, costing hundreds of dollars for a single session. Plus, it may require multiple treatments to get your desired result.
International retreats vary in price, but with airfare, the price can exceed ketamine assisted therapy locally. The upside to international retreats is that your money goes further—the retreat price often includes accommodations, food, and activities.
Plus you get to choose your psychedelic of choice. This makes retreats the most immersive option that certainly provides immense value, but the cost for these international trips usually start at around $1500.
To learn all about the programs and pricing for the services we provide at Psychedelic Passage, check out our pricing outline or connect with our psychedelic concierges by booking a consultation!
4. Which Therapy Modality is Best For You?
There are hundreds of different therapeutic modalities: somatic therapy, transpersonal therapy, shamanic healing, gestalt therapy, EMDR, brainspotting, hypnosis… The list goes on!
It’s important to choose a therapist that’s using a modality that resonates with you. A quick Google search will provide insight into the nuances of each modality.
There is no right or wrong choice, it’s simply choosing a modality that you would like to employ on your quest for healing.
5. Reading Reviews & References
We absolutely suggest reading reviews or asking for previous client references prior to moving forward with a therapist. If the therapist is unable to provide reviews or references, that is a red flag.
Transparency is of the utmost importance when doing psychedelic assisted therapy. After all, you’re essentially putting your psyche in the hands of another person. It is critical that you feel comfortable and safe with this person.
Watch a Psychedelic Passage Client Testimonial
6. Determining Availability
Given the popularity of psychedelic assisted therapy, many therapists have long waitlists. This means you could wait months before engaging with the therapist of your choice.
If time is of the essence, it’s important that you find a therapist who can help you quickly. That may mean sacrificing your first pick for someone else who is also qualified and immediately available, but may be located further away.
For those of you located in major metropolitan areas, you’ll have plenty of psychedelic assisted therapy options at your disposal. If you live in a more rural area, your options will likely be slim.
Of course, with Psychedelic Passage, you’ll be connected to an experienced guide that’s local to your area. In fact, you can meet as many facilitators until you find the perfect fit.
This also means that you can journey from the comfort of your own home, or be hosted by an eligible facilitator.
8. Use Your Intuition
The final step is to use your intuition. Pay attention to what you feel in your gut as you’re having discovery calls with potential clinics and therapists.
If you don’t feel good after the conversation, do you really want to work with them? You are seeking this person out for healing—they’re behavior and presence should reflect that.
Also remember that it is your right to choose the best practitioner for you, and this includes the right to information and to ask questions.
By addressing the major points above, you’ll increase the likelihood of finding the best practitioner, therapist or clinic in your local area.
Questions to Ask During Your Discovery Process
There are some crucial due diligence questions we suggest asking during your discovery process. Our recommendation is to schedule an initial consult with the clinics or therapists that are still on your list and ask them the following:
- Do you have personal experience taking psychedelics?
- Why do you do this work?
- Have you successfully helped someone with [insert your desired outcome]?
- What therapies or modalities do you specialize in?
- How many sessions do you think it will take to achieve my desired result?
- Do you do preparation and integration services as well? (In our opinion, preparation and integration is non-negotiable, but it can be done with a different practitioner if needed)
- Who on your staff would I be directly working with and what relevant experience do they have?
- Do you have both male and female therapists available?
- Is your staff available outside of therapy sessions in the case of emergency situations?
- What safety and harm reduction practices do you have in place?
- What are your payment terms and do you accept insurance?
Legal Alternatives to Psychedelics
Other legal options involve altered states of consciousness—without consuming any substances. Since being developed by Stanislav and Christina Grof in 1975, holotropic breathwork has taken the world by storm.
Holotropic Breathwork was designed to provide the effects of MDMA, ayahuasca, psilocybin, and LSD through hyperventilation and music.
It’s as effective as psychedelics in causing a therapeutic and transpersonal experience, and has been demonstrated to assist patients with various psychological problems.
Those interested in holotropic breathwork should seek medical advice to ensure there are no preexisting conditions that may increase risk, such as respiratory or circulation issues.
There are also other ways to enter the psychedelic realm without actually taking a drug.
Integrating the Psychedelic Experience
Although it’s not quite the same as psychedelic assisted therapy, psychedelic integration utilizes the help of a trained professional to help you make sense of your journey after the trip itself.
That is one of the services our network of facilitators offer at Psychedelic Passage—the other is trip sitting with an emphasis on harm reduction.
While 84% of participants in a psilocybin study ranked the experience as one of the top five most meaningful of their lives, the long-term benefits achieved might not have been possible without the support of a coach or therapist (Griffiths, 2018).
Psychedelic experiences can provoke an array of feelings and emotions—some joyous, some confusing, some downright terrifying. However, they’re all worth analyzing, and an integration specialist can help you do just that, even remotely.
Connect With Our Network of Pre-Vetted Psychedelic Therapy Providers
Hi there! We sincerely hope that you’ve found valuable takeaways that resonate with your current intentions. To explore research-based education, stay updated with psychedelic news, and benefit from practical how-to articles, we encourage you to head over to our resources page.
If you’re seeking personalized advice and are prepared to take the first step toward a therapeutic psychedelic experience, we invite you to book a consultation with our team of experienced psychedelic concierges.
This consultation is more than just a conversation; it’s an opportunity to be matched with a trustworthy local facilitator. You’ll be seamlessly connected to our rigorously vetted network of psychedelic guides, ensuring potential matches align with your needs.
Psychedelic Passage offers confidence and peace of mind by alleviating the burden of having to guess who’s right for you. If you want to discover how Psychedelic Passage can help you, we empower you to learn more about our services and check out client testimonials from those who’ve gone before you.
Your healing path is uniquely yours, and our commitment is to serve you at every juncture. Psychedelic Passage: Your Psychedelic Concierge — The easy, legal way to find trustworthy psilocybin guides, facilitators and psychedelic assisted therapy near you in the United States.
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Frequently Asked Questions: Finding a Facilitator
Q: How can I find a psychedelic facilitator?
We take the headache out of this process for you. Our network of professionals is located all over the country, and each facilitator undergoes a vetting process to ensure they are a good match with reputability and integrity.
In most states, finding a psychedelic expert who will support you throughout your journey can be a difficult task, but our aim is to make the process as simple and accessible as possible.
Once you connect with us, you gain access to our entire network as well as our pairing and preparation process.
Q: Are there online platforms to connect with psychedelic therapists?
Yes, there are a few online platforms that connect individuals with facilitators specializing in psychedelic experiences—and we are one of those platforms!
Q: What qualifications should I look for in a psychedelic guide or facilitator?
This decision is highly individualized. The bottom line is you as the journeyer have to choose who feels right, because there are subtle aspects about the guide which will feel like a good fit or not.
Some important things to consider are if they offer support before and after the trip through preparation and integration work, what their past experiences, qualifications, and motivations are for doing this work.
Further credentials related to psychology, counseling, or specific psychedelic-assisted therapy training and healing modalities may also feel supportive.
Q: How can I assess if a facilitator is the right fit for me?
Schedule an initial consultation to discuss your concerns, goals, and expectations with the therapist. Evaluate their communication style, empathy, and how comfortable you feel sharing with them.
Trust your intuition; it’s important to find a therapist with whom you can establish a genuine, therapeutic rapport.