In recent years, psychedelic-assisted therapy has been gaining recognition across the globe. With new studies surfacing regularly, more and more people are turning their sights to these promising, novel treatments, and Virginia state residents are no exception.
As serotonergic psychedelics continue to effectively treat disorders like depression, anxiety, and PTSD, questions are being raised about their position amongst state and federal legislation. Today we’ll be discussing the current legislation of psychedelic substances in Virginia state.
When can we expect state legislators to begin supporting Virginia residents’ mental health interests by creating regulations for psychedelic-assisted therapy? Perhaps of equal importance, how can Virginians get legal access to these life-changing therapies within their state, right now?
Current Legislation of Psychedelics in Virginia
Often, a state’s cannabis laws are strong indicators of their prospective support for psychedelic medicines. In Virginia, adult possession of up to one ounce of cannabis is legal in the state, though recreational sales are not. Does this appropriately reflect the legislative progress of psychedelic reform in the state?
Luckily, it does. As of right now, psychedelic substances remain illegal in the state of Virginia. However, decriminalization efforts are underway. A house bill was pushed forward earlier this year that would decriminalize naturally growing psychedelic substances.
Unfortunately though, the Virginia house committee approved a motion to carry the bill over into next year, suggesting that more time would give the legislature an opportunity to better refine the bill. While this was disappointing news for Virginia activists, it seems that the state is doing more to build support for psychedelics, than many other U.S. states.
Since psychedelics still fall under the classification of Schedule I substances, they’re legally considered to have no known medical use and a high potential for abuse. Of course, plenty of research studies have proven otherwise. However, possession of a Schedule I substance in the state of Virginia still carries fairly hefty consequences.
If found possessing a psychedelic substance, penalties of up to ten years in prison and fine of $2,500 can incur. If charged with possession with the intent to distribute or if found cultivating psychedelics like ‘magic mushrooms’, the consequences would increase in severity.
There is some good news though. In July of this year, President Joe Biden announced his anticipation for MDMA and psilocybin therapy to be approved by regulators within the next two years. If all goes to plan, Virginia state residents wouldn’t need state approval, as federal laws would already allow for the legal and safe practice of these therapies.
As is the case in many states, psilocybin spores are completely legal to possess in the state of Virginia. Psilocybin spores do not contain any hallucinogenic compounds. However, these spores cannot be germinated.
One psilocin (the active metabolite of psilocybin mushrooms) starts to become present in the fruiting body, state laws for possession and cultivation of a controlled substance are violated. Incredibly, Virginia state is home to a large number of naturally growing psilocybin mushroom species.
The most common species found in the grasslands and forests of Virginia are Panaeolus cinctulus, Panaeolus cyanescens, Psilocybe caerulipes, Psilocybe cubensis, and Gymnopilus luteofolius.
The Therapeutic Benefits of a Psychedelic Experience
If you’re looking into the legislation of psychedelic substances, it’s likely that you’ve already embarked on a deep internet exploration of their innumerable benefits. Today though, we’d like to illustrate their subjective effects by offering some examples on how these medicines help to recondition our behavioral patterns.
From the moment we’re born, our surroundings, including our environment and our caretakers, begin to establish core beliefs into our mental systems. This happens both intentionally and indirectly. As we observe the world around us with curiosity and intrigue, we’re unconsciously collecting social cues that shape our thinking patterns from then on.
These observations may create positive reinforcements through the expression of love and emotional support amongst family members and towards you. They might also reinforce negative beliefs. We may observe our caretaker experience physical or verbal abuse at the hand of a loved one.
Though at a young age it’s difficult to discern the objective meaning of such events, we begin to form associations that affect the way we relate to others as we age. For example, if our abused caretaker makes consistent and unwavering efforts to receive validation and approval from their abuser, we might begin to relate neglect and abuse to love and satisfaction.
As adults, this results in perversions of what we believe should satisfy our emotional needs. This destructive habit creates a snowball effect where one is constantly seeking validation from sources outside of oneself.
Because our sense of value and meaning is dictated by others, we begin to lose touch with our emotions and with the matters that are most conducive to our personal growth and development. For many who have observed unreciprocated love and attention in their youth, issues with codependency are common as they age.
Many people unconsciously ignore the signs of toxic attachments in a subconscious effort to relive their childhood and give it a different outcome. Because as children, we may have been forced to take on the role of therapist to our abused caretaker, ‘fixing’ is now our love language.
We empathize with the trauma of our own unhealthy partners, to a point of self neglect and self sacrifice. Our conditioning can affect not only how we relate to unhealthy people, but it skews the type of people we’re attracted to because of the familiar role it allows us to take on within their lives.
So how can psychedelics help restructure our conditioned and unproductive internal narratives that we may not even be aware of? Well friends, imagine a psychedelic experience as if we were putting one big mirror up to the story of our entire life.
Psychedelics reflect back to us the necessary good, bad, and ugly, that must be acknowledged in order to transcend our limiting beliefs. They allow us to observe the objective truth of our life and realize the impact that our behavioral and thinking patterns have on our conditions.
Not only do they broadcast these truths to us, but they help to establish the neurological tools for moving through these habits in a healthy and sustainable way. To understand how they do this, we must first have a basic grasp on how beliefs are neurologically wired into our brains.
Memories are formed and stored in our brains as neuronal networks are fired by a stimulating event. The memory becomes stronger and thus more actively referenced, the more often these neuronal networks fire. Now, a memory is not only a physical event, but also internal events.
For example, the more often you view someone’s trauma as an opportunity to validate your emotional intelligence, the stronger those neural connections will relate to one another, the more they will fire, and the higher the likelihood you’ll continue to seek out such people when you’re in need of validation.
This works the other way around as well. The more often you fail to provide validation for yourself by seeking it in others, the more often you’ll feel invalidated by your own presence, in absence of someone else.
These circulating narratives of self, the body of what we call our “personality”, are maintained in a brain region called the Default Mode Network (DMN). Just as its name implies, it’s the structure that sets in place our default behaviors and beliefs.
In people with mental health disorders like OCD, ADHD, substance abuse, depression, and anxiety, the DMN experiences significant overactivity. This is one of the main causes for the excessive rumination that people with such disorders experience.
For example, someone with OCD or ADHD may experience DMN overactivity as a hyperfixation on certain internal stimuli, which is then projected as inattention to productive, goal-oriented tasks. In substance use, DMN overactivity can be observed through almost automatic drug-seeking behaviors.
Thankfully, psychedelics have been strongly evidenced to reduce DMN overactivity by stimulating neural plasticity. Neural plasticity is the ability of our nervous system to change its response to internal or external stimuli by restructuring its connections.
As we’ve mentioned, psychedelics help us become aware of new perspectives by which we can observe and interact with our world through. These perspectives aren’t only subjectively retained, but they also change our neural associations by stimulating neurogenesis, the process by which new neurons are formed in the brain.
These relations are fortified as psychedelics increase the size and density of our neuron’s dendritic spines. These spines receive information from neighboring neurons. These spines can be illustrated as the limbs of our neurons.
By increasing their size, we’re also increasing the points of contact between our neurons, strengthening the neural connections that were formed during the experience and enhancing overall neural communication.
Post-psychedelic experience, are brains are now rewired to access these newly-formed beliefs by default, rather than only regressing into our old conditioned ways of being.
Psychedelics reflect back to us that which is most pressing in our lives and help us to establish the cognitive and neurological tools for relating to these beliefs in a more objective and healing way.
Where to Find Legal Psychedelic Experiences in Virginia 2022
As of right now, there are two ways to have a psychedelic experience in Virginia: Ketamine clinics and guided psychedelic journeys with Psychedelic Passage.
- Ketamine Clinics
Since the FDA approved ketamine for off-label use, ketamine clinics have been popping up around the country, and Virginia is no exception. Ketamine is not a psychedelic substance, rather it’s a dissociative anesthetic that has been used in hospital operating rooms since the 1960s.
More recently, research into its therapeutic potential has found it to be an effective treatment for treatment-resistant depression and PTSD. Its effects allow users to experience their minds and bodies from a second person perspective, which offers a more objective and empathetic look into our routine mental trajectories.
It’s important to recognize though, that there are both benefits and downfalls to ketamine. Meaning that not all ketamine clinics are made with equal attention to the protocols for therapeutic support, that such a seismic experience would necessitate.
If you’re seeking to find a ketamine clinic near you, we always suggest that you ensure the clinic’s staff are qualified psychedelic facilitators. The proper support offers preparation sessions and integration sessions to ensure a healthy transition between these altered states of consciousness.
- Guided Psychedelic Journeys with Psychedelic Passage
Here at Psychedelic Passage we facilitate therapeutic psychedelic experiences from the comfort of your own home. Regardless of your medicine of choice, if we can make it to you, we will sit with you. We understand that the infancy of this field can make it difficult to really gauge who is qualified to provide these services.
That’s why we’ve created a pre-vetted network of psychedelic facilitators that are experienced in not only facilitating psychedelic experiences for others, but in journeying with these medicines themselves. We believe that in order to fully support someone else on their journey, individuals must have a thorough first-hand relationship with these medicines.
Mental health should not continue to be approached through a one-size-fits all perspective. We resonate with this belief very deeply and because of this, we can ensure that every part of our program will be completely tailored to your specific conditions, needs, and therapeutic goals.
Equal access to mental health care is also one of our top priorities. To address this, we’ve established a BIPOC and low-income fund to subsidize the cost of our program for those that may need financial assistance. In fact, through our income-based pricing, we can guarantee that each and every client’s financial circumstance will be appropriately considered.
Find Your Next Psychedelic Journey in Any Major Virginia City
- Virginia Beach
- Newport News
- Dale City
Explore How It Feels To Be Connected
By now, you may be wondering how you can take the next step in your healing journey with psychedelic medicines. If that’s the case, we empower you to book a consultation with us. Our concierges are more than happy to walk you through our process and answer all of your psychedelic-related questions.
Of course, there may be some lingering curiosities that you’d like to tackle, right now. If so, head on over to our resources page for more informative articles like this one on all things psychedelic. Well friends, that’s all we have for now. As always, safe and mindful journeying!