Cruising down the rolling hills of Tennessee and flying off the smoky mountains of their soulful country-blues, comes a new wave of southern comfort- psychedelic medicines. With the Nashville Psychedelic Society ushering the memberships of over 1,000 Tennessee residents, it’s evident that those local to the state are ready for some serious psychedelic reform.
Scientific research has already confirmed the extraordinary leaps in mental health care that these ancient medicines are offering to our western world. So where does legislation in Tennessee currently sit in terms of regulating and decriminalizing access to psychedelic drugs? What experiential and educational resources are available for embarking on a safe and supported psychedelic journey in the great volunteer state of Tennessee.
Today we’ll be uncovering all of this and more, assessing the cultural climate of psychedelics in the state to figure out just how eager its residents are to trade their famously mouthwatering Moon Pies for a thick slice of ‘magic’ mushroom pie.
The Current Legislation of Psychedelics in Tennessee
As of right now, psychedelics are illegal in the state of Tennessee. These substances fall under the classification of Schedule I drugs which insinuate a high potential for abuse and no medicinal properties.
Of course, we now know this isn’t the case, but unfortunately, if you’re found possessing hallucinogenic drugs in Tennessee, like LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, or MDMA, your charge will fall under a Class A misdemeanor, subjecting you to a $2,500 fine or a penalty of up to one year of incarceration. Of course, if found possessing larger quantities of these drugs with the purpose of distribution, consequences may be more severe.
Though these penalties appear to be inflexibly harsh and out-of-bounds, protocol for possession of psychedelics in Tennessee is actually much more compromising than some other U.S. states. Where possession in Tennessee warrants a misdemeanor charge, other states like Connecticut and Alabama would consider this a felony. In fact, Florida has one of the strictest protocols for psychedelic possession. If caught with more than 10 grams of psilocybin (about 1-3 doses), Floridians can face up to 30 years of jail time.
So in terms of psychedelic decriminalization, it seems that Tennessee’s legislation might experience a smoother transition with more expedited government acceptance than other states. This assumption may be softly fortified by the pending results of House Bill 1968 and Senate Bill 2598, which are aiming to pass the “Free All Cannabis for Tennesseans Act”. Under it terms, possession of 16 grams of cannabis will be legal for all adult-aged Tennesseans. If these bills are passed, we’ll likely have a better gauge on where the Tennessee government stands regarding psychedelic decriminalization.
Possession of mushroom spores for research purposes is legal in Tennessee. However, the spores cannot be grown into mature fruiting bodies because at that point, psilocin (the active compound in psilocybin mushrooms) will be present, and would thus breach state laws of hallucinogen possession. Though psilocybin mushrooms grow plentiful in the wilderness of Tennessee, particularly the species Panaeolus cinctulus and Panaeolus cyanescens, it’s illegal to pick these mushrooms and take them home with you.
On a more encouraging note, ketamine- an anesthetic used for half a century in operating rooms, is now legal for therapeutic purposes under the strict supervision of a licensed professional. Though ketamine isn’t classified as a traditional psychedelic, its effects produce out-of-body, hallucinogenic experiences that can be highly effective at dismantling mental and emotional blockages that emerge from our often tightly-contained sense of selves.
Again, possession of ketamine outside of a licensed medical establishment is illegal. If caught, you may face up to one year in prison and similar multi-thousand dollar fines.
The Therapeutic Benefits of a Psychedelic Experience
So why exactly are Tennessee residents pushing so hard for psychedelic decriminalization and ultimately, for legalization? Well friends, there’s been an overwhelming number of research studies confirming the efficacy of psychedelics in treating a large range of mental and physical illnesses.
We’ve actually written an entire article on diseases that psychedelics have been proven to positively affect. In brief though, psychedelics not only produce life-altering emotional and behavioral changes in users, but science has now confirmed that these mood enhancements are supported by very physical changes occuring in the deepest layers of our brains.
Most notably, serotonergic psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin mushrooms, amplify the amount of serotonin in our brains by activating 5-HT receptors. This very rapid and widespread stimulation causes not only an increase in serotonin neurotransmitters, but also promotes the creation of new receptors.
What does this mean? It means that after your psychedelic trip or microdosing regimen has come to an end, you won’t experience a sudden depletion of serotonin, hence no withdrawal side effects- as one typically would after ceasing use of antidepressants. Serotonergic psychedelics increase serotonin in our brains, associated with feelings of happiness and increased social connectedness. Then, by increasing the number of 5-HT receptors, psychedelics essentially leave a blueprint for our brains to use for continued, sustainable production of these heightened serotonin levels.
Psychedelics are potent stimulators of neuroplasticity processes. In fact, studies show that one dose of psilocybin can physically enlarge the size and density of our neuron’s dendritic spines by 10%. To paint a clearer picture, the cells in our brain have a cell body (soma) that’s protected by a membrane layer.
This cell membrane is composed of limbic-like structures called dendritic spines. Essentially, the more dense these spines are, the stronger our neural communications can be. As these spines lengthen and enlarge, they gain the ability to reach more physical points of contact with other neurons- again, amplifying our brain-to-brain communications.
In the mind’s eye, this new-found connectivity promotes a greater ability to regulate one’s emotions, facilitated memory reconciliation, reduced mental fog, and an overall more productive mental processing of inner and outer events. It’s these mechanisms of neuroplasticity that researchers agree make such a drastically positive psychological impact on people suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD, substance abuse, and OCD, to name a few.
Neurological changes also occur in the Default Mode Network (DMN), the brain region responsible for keeping those ruminating thoughts in circulation, in absence of our focused attention. The DMN is active when you catch yourself daydreaming of the future or longing in the past, and the tone of those static-like thoughts are dependent on the tone of your conscious thoughts.
So if much of your day-to-day mental exercise is rooted in anxiety, depression, or compulsive behaviors, the DMN will reflect those thoughts and loop them around until our conscious minds have established new thinking patterns. Studies have shown that people with depression, ADHD, and anxiety, experience overactivity in the DMN, which makes a lot of sense because people with these disorders notoriously experience a heightened presence of ruminating thoughts.
This irregular activation is caused by size reductions of the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, and the main culprit is a decrease in neuronal synapses. As we’ve learned, psychedelic medicines increase neuronal synapses by increasing the size and density of neurons, making these medicines an effective treatment for many mental health disorders. Rather than only compensating for a lack of serotonin, psychedelics target the root of our neural deficiencies to offer sustainable emotional changes that can be maintained even after the drug is out of our system.
A psychedelic experience is much more than a few brain boosts, though. When taken in a therapeutic environment, the hallucinations produced by these medicines often induce a meditative state of inward expansion. That’s to say, they help us enter a mental space that’s conducive to a deeper awareness of who we are, why we are this way, and what can be done to change that.
These medicines let us sit in silent awareness, letting us explore the formless territories of our conditioning through enhanced psychological openness and inner acceptance. When the experience has come to an end, we’re left with a very deep-seated memory of how to return to those states and how to carry the essence of that experience into our daily lives through mindfulness.
Where To Find Legal Psychedelic Experiences in Tennessee 2022
Tennessee laws for psychedelic use may be somewhat disheartening, but rather than focusing on what is absent, let’s discuss what options are present. As of right now, there are two options for embarking on a psychedelic journey in the state of Tennessee: ketamine therapy and guided psychedelic journeys.
1. Ketamine Therapy
Earlier, we spoke about the legality of ketamine therapy in Tennessee, and thankfully, the legalization of ketamine for therapeutic purposes has led to a mass emergence of ketamine infusion centers across the state. Ketamine can be a great option for treating a wide spectrum of mental health issues. Check out our article on how to find a ketamine clinic near you for some helpful tips..
As we mentioned, ketamine isn’t considered a psychedelic drug, but its anesthetic properties have allowed many individuals to perceive their life from a more all-encompassing perspective. Detachment from the typical mental routines of our ‘self’ is oftentimes necessary for coming to a more objective understanding on what this whole “life” thing is, our association to it, and our respective place in it. Ketamine, like many other psychedelic drugs, can offer this insightful perspective.
We should note though, ketamine clinic protocols may vary from place to place. So before making any decisions, it’s important that you consider how in-line the clinic’s protocols are with your intentions.
How much jurisdiction do you have over the process of this experience in one clinic versus another? Does the environment feel as nurturing and calming as you’d like it to be? Do the clinic’s therapists offer the amount of support that you need throughout the entire process? And most importantly, do you resonate with the clinical approach and spiritual practices of your ketamine infusion therapist? We empower you to read our article on how to discern the most important qualities of a psychedelic facilitator/ therapist, if you need some more guidance!
For some, ketamine may not be their substance of choice, or perhaps they’d feel more comforted embarking on this experience outside of a medical setting and in the comfort of their own homes. If that’s the case, a guided psychedelic journey may be more tailored to your specific needs.
2. Guided Psychedelic Journeys With Psychedelic Passage
We must say, guided psychedelic journeys are kind of the bread and butter of Psychedelic Passage, or perhaps the ghee and naan of our services. We understand that for many, the circumstances of our mental health cannot be put on pause until federal legislation permits.
That’s why our team of facilitators are located around the country, ready to offer educational resources and ceremonial guidance throughout your entire healing journey. From the comfort of your own home, we’ll help you physically and mentally prepare for the journey, and at the time of your ceremony, we’ll travel to you.
We’ll sit with you for the entire duration of your trip, making sure all of your emotional and physical needs are being met, to ensure productive and safe journeying. The ceremony is then followed by extensive integration sessions which help you unravel the meaning and real-life applications of your psychedelic experience.
Our number one concern is that this experience feels whole-heartedly authentic to you, so you set the pace, every step of the way. In fact, we’ve implemented an income-based pricing system which ensures equal accessibility to these eye-opening treatments. Your creative liberty and emotional involvement is the most important factor of this very personal and vulnerable inner experience.
We’re here to support you. Whether that’s by hands-on facilitation of your psychedelic journey or by referring you to other options that may be more suitable for your particular needs. Whoever you choose to guide your journey, should undoubtedly do the same.
Find Your Next Psychedelic Journey In Every Major Tennessee City
- Johnson City
- Spring Hill
Psychedelic Culture in Tennessee
The cultural upswing of psychedelic interest in Tennessee has encouraged residents to come together as members of the Nashville Psychedelic Society. This group of treatment activists work to inform the state’s residents on industry developments and harm reduction practices, while building community through the distribution of educational materials. If you’re local to the area, becoming a member of this society may be a great way to connect with other enthused journeyers.
Psilo is another highly regarded activist group from Memphis, Tennessee. In 2019, the group became officially registered as a non-profit organization, with an aim to convince the state’s government to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms and create a psilocybin task force. By offering educational resources, hosting informational events, tracking legislation, raising money through donations, and actively petitioning for reform, this shroom-strong group is voicing the psychedelic roars of each and every Tennessee psychonaut.
It’s evident that Tennessee is ready to experience the revolutionizing mental health treatments that psychedelics have to offer. With the intense drive of its residents, Tennessee could expect some serious medical shifts to take place in the coming years, and with this, a new rendition of Tennessee’s slogan may very well be warranted… ‘Eat, trip, and celebrate everything in Nashville.’
Explore What It Means To Be Connected
Do you feel ready to take the next step in your healing journey? If so, we invite you to book a consultation with one of our experienced facilitators. When it comes to our minds and our hearts, one size does not fit all.
Psychedelic Passage honors the deep significance of personal autonomy over your mental health. That means you have full control over the environment you choose to journey in, how you choose to source your medicine, and our level of involvement in helping you create the most personally meaningful intentions for your trip.
If you have any curiosities still lingering in your mind, we encourage you to check out our blog page! It’s likely we’ve already dedicated an entire article to your specific question. That’s all for now!