Dallas, Texas has long been a key player in the economy of the United States. The cities of Dallas and nearby Fort Worth were initially developed due to the construction of major railroad lines through the area, allowing access to cotton, cattle, and later– oil.
Since Dallas’ development, it’s grown to be the third-largest city in Texas. It’s well known that Dallas has the second most iconic skyline in all of Texas. From landmarks like the Reunion Tower, aka the ‘Dallas phallus’, to the spectacular Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, there is no shortage of places that draw an abundance of tourism.
Despite this city appearing to play a small role in the psychedelic space, a town just outside of Dallas has recently made one of the most significant contributions to psychedelic science. In this piece, we’ll review the history of Ken Nealson’s 5-MeO-DMT discovery, and offer some tools for embarking on your own journey of psychedelic discovery, self-actualization, and personal growth.
The History of Psychedelics in Dallas, Texas
To know the history of psychedelics in Dallas, you must first look north to the small town of Denton, Texas. It was here that scientist Ken Nealson went on to make a massive discovery, which would inevitably go down in psychedelic history.
Nealson quickly learned of the therapeutic potential of psychedelics from his own self-exploration. From then on, psychedelics heavily intrigued him, leading Nealson to plant a seed which would one day amass to his discovery of Bufo toad venom, producing 5-MeO-DMT– a psychedelic four to six times more powerful than DMT.
Nelson’s interest in Bufo alvarius was sparked after reading an article in a 1981 issue of Omni magazine. The article extensively discussed an archeologist’s excavation of toad bones. He became fascinated by the indication of ceremonial use of this animal’s venomous secretions.
Although most assumed that it was a food source, his life-changing experiences with psychedelics told him differently. With a fresh perspective, Nelson set out to prove his theory that these toads were used in ancient rituals.
Soon after, Nelson struck out on his own and began conducting independent research. After many hours spent in libraries and speaking with University Professors, his research would eventually lead him to Gila, Arizona, where he’d find and prove what his prior beliefs: Bufo alvarius was used as an ancient sacrament.
First, it’s best to offer some background to understand the rest of the story in its entirety. Bufo alvarius is the largest native North American toad species which lives exclusively in the Sonoran Desert. Aside from its size, it can easily be identified by its kidney-shaped venom glands on each side of the neck and the glands on the outside of each hind leg.
The Sonoran Desert is a vast irregularly-shaped area of some 120,000 square miles. It stretches from southeastern California across the southern half of Arizona and extends south into Sonora, Mexico. This explains why Nelson went to Gila, Arizona– it’s smack dab in the northern part of this toad’s range.
Though not known to Nelson at the time, the venom from B. alvarius contains as much as fifteen percent 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT). Although it had not been scientifically proven at the time, he’d soon be the first to find out, making psychedelic history.
Following all of this research, Nelson trekked to Gila and found some toads. Using all of the knowledge he’d gathered, Nelson took a leap of faith, placing the toad’s venom glands onto the windshield of his van, and allowing the latex to dry.
After a few minutes of drying, he vaporized the secretions. His experience was so life-changing that he wrote and published a pamphlet which documented his findings in 1983, under the name Albert Most, titled Bufo Alvarius: The Psychedelic Toad of The Sonoran Desert.
Without Dallas, there would be no Denton, and without Denton, there would be no Ken Nealson. If it wasn’t for him, the secrets of this large amphibian may have never come to light. Some might call this chance. We’d like to think it was of divine inspiration.
Current Legal Status of Psychedelic Mushrooms in Dallas
Like all of Texas, there are harsh penalties for all controlled substances, psychedelics included. Don’t lament just yet, as there is hope on the horizon with the recent passage of HB 1802 by Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas), which authorizes the study of psilocybin and MDMA.
Despite this step, there remain stringent laws regarding the possession and use of psychedelics. As you may know, in the eyes of the federal government, all psychedelics are Schedule 1, and Texas has backed that trend, implementing its own regulations.
Currently, mushrooms and other hallucinogens are marked under penalty group 2-A, meaning psychedelic offenses are considered of less priority than Schedule 1. Due to HB 1802, The Texas State Board of Pharmacy has moved these substances into Schedule 2 categorization, permitting access to scientific studies into this compound.
By moving it into Schedule 2, Texas acknowledges that psychedelics “have safe and accepted medical uses in the United States.” This is a huge step forward and deserves recognition. If one of the states with some of the harshest possession penalties can do it, so can the country as a whole.
Still, if convicted of possession, you may have to pay a fine of up to $50,000 with the potential for a jail term. If you’re found with one gram of psilocybin (less than a typical full dose of mushrooms), you could still be looking at up to two years of imprisonment.
Although this appears fairly stringent, there is hope on the horizon, and laws are changing rapidly. Currently, The University of Texas has been able to launch the Center for Psychedelic Research and Therapy. According to the university, the center’s research will focus on veterans with PTSD, adults with prolonged grief disorder or depression, and those who’ve experienced childhood trauma.
Where To Find Legal Psychedelic Experiences in Dallas 2023
Although the current legislation isn’t very friendly to psychedelics, a few options are still available for engaging with psychedelic medicine: Ketamine clinics, guided psychedelic journeys with Psychedelic Passage, or getting approval to be treated under HB 1802 in a clinical trial.
1. Ketamine Clinics
Currently, the only psychedelic-like service in Texas, accessible to the general public, is ketamine therapy. These clinics use ketamine– a dissociative anesthetic, to treat PTSD, depression, and chronic pain.
While ketamine may not be considered a classical psychedelic, such as psilocybin, LSD, or DMT, it’s the only FDA-approved psychedelic-like drug available in medicalized therapeutic settings. This makes it an attractive option for many people.
Due to the common lack of integration practices in ketamine clinics, benefits are often short-lived, and many who undergo ketamine treatment will end up seeking other forms of psychedelic therapy. To learn more, check out our article on the benefits and pitfalls of ketamine therapy.
2. Guided Psychedelic Experiences with Psychedelic Passage
At Psychedelic Passage, we understand that psychedelic therapy has to be tailored to the individual so that you can get the most out of your journey and healing process. With us, you set the pace and direction of your journey.
By working with Psychedelic Passage, you will gain access to our network of pre-vetted and experienced psychedelic facilitators to ensure that you are matched with one that perfectly fits your needs and intentions.
We do everything we can to meet you exactly where you are, whether that means having the ceremony in your own home or using our sliding payment scale. We want everyone to benefit from the healing potential of psychedelic medicine, regardless of income level or location.
3. Clinical Trials at the University of Texas
Although this isn’t an option for everyone and is currently offered mainly to veterans, joining a clinical trial is not only an option to help treat your PTSD, or depression, but your involvement will also go a long way in proving the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics.
If you’re interested in helping further psychedelic research and want to aid in bringing public attention to these mighty compounds, reach out to the University of Texas Center for Psychedelic Research and Therapy, for more information. You can contact them directly from the University’s website and see what current trials are running to determine if you’re an eligible candidate.
Find Your Next Psychedelic Journey in Any Major Dallas Area
- Farmers Branch
- Highland Park
- University Park
Explore How it Feels to be Connected
Psychedelics hold a tremendous power to promote healing and growth. Although research centers around the country are receiving the green light to study psychedelics, it’ll probably be a while until they can be easily accessed through the medical system.
Until that time, let us at Psychedelic Passage help guide the way. To get started on your journey and connect with our pre-vetted network of psychedelic facilitators, we encourage you to book a consultation with one of our psychedelic concierges.
Our goal is to spread the message and power of psychedelics to as many interested people as possible. If you’d like to learn more about all-things-psychedelic, head over to our resources page for more informative articles like this one. Have fun, enjoy the journey of self-discovery, and stay safe!