From party drugs to medicine, psychedelics have certainly left a lasting impact on the world. Despite their known benefits, psychedelics unfortunately remain illegal on the federal level.
Some cities in California, such as Oakland and Santa Cruz, are making progress toward decriminalizing natural psychedelics like psilocybin. This could pave the way for other cities, like Santa Monica, to do the same.
In the serene and laid-back environment of Santa Monica, psychedelics fit in just perfectly. Today, we will provide you with valuable resources on how and where to find a trusted psychedelic guide within the city.
Before we dive into all of the options available for your therapeutic psychedelic experience in Santa Monica, let’s first go over the history of psychedelic research, how psychedelics work in the brain, and all of the benefits psychedelics have to offer.
To learn more, we encourage you to read our discussion on psychedelic-assisted therapy in California.
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The Science Behind Psychedelic Therapy: How Does It Work?
In his book “The Psychedelic Experience,” researcher and psychedelic advocate Timothy Leary describes psychedelics as a “chemical key” that “opens the mind and frees the nervous system of its ordinary patterns and structures.”
While psychedelics have been utilized for centuries by indigenous communities, formal research began with the discovery of LSD’s psychedelic effects by Albert Hofmann in 1943.
Throughout the 1950s-1970s, psychedelic research began to boom, particularly focused on LSD’s potential in psychotherapy and addiction treatment. Researchers also explored psychedelics’ efficacy in treating autism and alleviating anxiety in those with terminal illnesses.
However, the US government’s restrictions on psychedelics in the 1970s dampened the research enthusiasm. Recently, interest in psychedelic research has resurged, leading to significant advancements in our understanding of these substances.
While the exact mechanisms of how psychedelics work in the brain aren’t entirely understood, we still have a good idea of how they function. So, what exactly have we learned about how psychedelics work within the brain?
Most notably, psychedelics promote neuroplasticity, or the ability of the brain to form new and restructure existing synaptic connections in response to the environment or injury.
It’s believed that psychedelics mainly interact with the serotonin system. Serotonin, or 5-hydroxytryptamine, is a neurotransmitter that carries signals between nerve cells throughout the body and affects mood, emotions, and behavior.
Most psychedelics are structurally similar to serotonin, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline, meaning they can bind and activate specific serotonin receptors, such as 5-HT2A receptors.
Additionally, its believed that psychedelics produce their effects by acting as a strong partial agonist at the 5-HT2A receptors. This indicates that they bind to this specific receptor but only exert partial efficacy.
Upon binding to the 5-HT2A receptors, psychedelics exert their influence on brain circuits responsible for sensory perception and cognition. Notably, they induce a decrease in default mode network (DMN) activity, leading to consciousness alterations.
The DMN can be described as a network of interconnected brain areas that exhibit increased activity when an individual is not focused on their surroundings, often associated with introspection and mind-wandering.
Psychedelics have also been found to enhance neural connectivity between brain regions that typically don’t communicate as much, leading to the emergence of new thoughts and ideas.
The Benefits of Psychedelic Therapy
The remarkable therapeutic potential of psychedelics stems from their unique impact on the brain, making them highly effective in treating various health conditions, especially compared to current treatments.
When it comes to depression, psychedelics have shown great promise due to their ability to promote new neural growth and reorganize existing neural pathways in the brain.
Those struggling with depression often find themselves trapped in fixed patterns of negative thinking. However, psychedelics facilitate enhanced connections between different brain regions, opening up the possibility of new thoughts and ideas.
One of the key factors behind this positive impact is the effects of psychedelics on the 5-HT2A receptors, which are often overactive in individuals with depression. By disrupting these connections, psychedelics create the opportunity to reform and reorganize these connections.
In the case of anxiety or PTSD, specific brain regions, such as the amygdala, can become overactive due to fear. Because of this, the brain tends to replay negative thoughts and memories, leading to distress.
Certain psychedelics have been shown to modulate neural connectivity in the amygdala. Additionally, these substances can rewire neural connections, potentially leading to more adaptive thought processes and emotional responses.
Furthermore, psychedelics have demonstrated promising results in treating addiction and substance use disorders. Research suggests that these substances induce change in the prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain associated with decision-making and impulse control.
In individuals with addiction, there may be an upregulation of 5-HT2A receptors. Psychedelics have been observed to normalize these receptors, potentially alleviating the symptoms of addiction.
Additionally, psychedelics have shown effectiveness in eating disorders. By reducing the activity within the DMN, these substances facilitate the formation of new neural connections.
This neural reformation can lead to a positive transformation in one’s thoughts and behaviors concerning food and body image.
Headaches and migraines can certainly be disabling for some, with current treatments only focusing on preventing future pain. Luckily, psychedelic treatments have shown effectiveness in treating this pain.
While the mechanism of action is still unknown, psychedelics have been shown to increase serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain. When you have a migraine, dopamine levels decrease.
The occurrence of headaches can be linked to abnormalities in serotonin signaling. Therefore, psychedelics can act on these neurotransmitter levels and pathways by stimulating 5-HT2A receptors, offering relief and addressing the underlying cause of these conditions.
These psychedelic substances create new communication pathways between brain regions that may not typically interact. As a result, the brain experiences new associations, sparking fresh thoughts and creative thinking.
Additionally, by disrupting the DMN, psychedelics have the ability to break free from rigid thought patterns, allowing the mind to open up a world of new thoughts, ideas, and possibilities.
Options for Legal Psychedelic Experiences in Santa Monica 2023
While psychedelics remain illegal in the state of California, there’s still hope for those seeking a therapeutic psychedelic experience. The two options available to you include ketamine clinics and guided psychedelic journeys with Psychedelic Passage.
1. Ketamine Clinics
Although ketamine is not considered a traditional psychedelic like LSD or psilocybin, it exerts similar effects on the brain.
In individuals with depression, the strength of synapse interconnections in the brain is decreased. Remarkably, ketamine has the unique ability to increase and regrow these synapse interconnections.
Moreover, ketamine targets a different brain region than traditional antidepressants, making it effective for those who haven’t responded well to those treatments.
One of ketamine’s prominent features is its rapid onset of effects, during which the brain becomes more plastic at the cellular and functional levels. This neuroplasticity allows individuals to view their issues in new and more empathetic ways.
You might wonder why ketamine isn’t widely used for depression if it’s so effective. The answer lies in the challenges of accessing this therapy. Patients must demonstrate that they have exhausted and failed all other treatment options.
Additionally, ketamine therapy isn’t a standalone solution. Combining ketamine sessions with talk therapy is crucial for integrating the insights gained during the experience into your life. However, attending the combination of these sessions can also come with accessibility issues.
2. Guided Psychedelic Journeys With Psychedelic Passage
At Psychedelic Passage, we are committed to making sure your healing journey is seamless and transformative, as we understand how deeply personal these experiences can be.
By connecting you with our carefully selected network of psychedelic guides located across the country, we empower you to have your psychedelic experience in a setting that feels most comfortable to you, whether that’s in the serenity of nature or in the familiarity of your home.
Because you are the one in control of your healing journey, we give you the freedom to choose the psychedelic medicine that resonates with you the most for your journey, as our network of guides possess extensive expertise working with a wide range of psychedelics.
We offer a 5-week ceremonial program that’s designed just for you and your unique needs. This program offers preparation, ceremonial, and integration sessions with your guide, microdose coaching, text/email support, and additional resources to deepen your knowledge.
We also believe that everyone should have access to this transformative healing journey, which is why we made it accessible to all. Our network of guides offer income-based pricing tiers so everyone has an equal opportunity for this experience.
Connect With Psychedelic Guides From Every Major Santa Monica Area
- Ocean Park
- Downtown Santa Monica
- Mid-City Santa Monica
- Wilshire Montana
- North of Montana
- South of Montana
- Pico District
- Sunset Park
- Ocean Avenue North
- Ocean Avenue South
Speak With Our Psychedelic Concierges & Take the First Step
Are you ready to begin your healing journey? Well, you’ve come to the right place! We are here to support you every step of the way throughout your healing journey.
We encourage you to book a consultation call with one of our psychedelic concierges, who can provide you with information on the psychedelic therapy process, an understanding of sourcing options, and refer you to a psychedelic facilitator who aligns with your needs and desires.
In the meantime, make sure to check out our resources page to learn more about all things psychedelics. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, let us know by requesting a topic! So turn on, tune in, and represent love, fellow psychonauts!