For the most part, psychedelics reached mainstream America as a result of moral panic, and only recently have they received positive press. Starting in the mid 1900’s, the American public was terrified by news articles and propaganda videos discussing the ‘consequences’ of psychedelic drugs, like LSD leading to psychotic episodes, aggressive behavior and two-day trips. Or they discussed the dangers these substances presented to society as a whole, arguing that moral reason, dignity, and integrity 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. Though still largely illegal, it’s estimated that more than 17% of Americans have used psychedelics. Many now view psychedelics in a much more positive light thanks to a resurgence of scientific and medical research and a rediscovered appreciation for their role in indigenous spiritual healing and cultural significance around the world.
Despite this newfound shift, the psychedelic substances are rather elusive and It’s safe to say that many people are curious to know: “where do you get psychedelics?”
So, you’re Curious About Psychedelics?
Psychedelics have been considered as a way to “reboot” the brain. I don’t know about you, but I can certainly use a mental reboot every now and then—and I’m not the only one. One of Britain’s most passionate promoters of psychedelics, Amanda Feilding is one of the many people calling for global drug policy reform and has a view that even using psychedelics without the help of a therapist can help someone “enjoy their thoughts more”.
Even when used in non-laboratory, non-clinical settings, psychedelics are often associated with prosocial outcomes and mental health benefits. Psychedelics are known to potentially produce “mystical-type experiences” by which the user has a more profound and significant view of reality and the way they lead their lives. Depending on the psychedelics consumed, and particularly found in experiences with DMT and ayahuasca, the user might encounter an otherworldly presence that communicates and provides meaning or insight to their life.
Perhaps as a result of the enhanced sense of meaning psychedelics provide, users have reported both increased creativity and problem-solving capabilities. Clinical studies have shown that the creative benefits last far beyond the trip itself, with both heightened empathy and reduced inhibition playing a role.
All of this is exciting news, right? You’re probably one of the many people wondering how to get your hands on some psychedelics. Let’s take a look at 4 ways that can happen.
So, where do you (legally) get Psychedelics?
1. Seek Psychedelic Assisted Therapy
If you’re one of the 47 million people suffering from mental illness in the United States, you too may be wondering how to access the various benefits provided by psychedelics. That’s where psychedelic assisted therapy comes in.
Psychedelic assisted therapy is where psychedelics are administered by a licensed medical professional in a clinical setting and is often combined with the support of a therapist (usually a co-therapist, too). This is not to be confused with psychedelic integration, where a coach, therapist, or guide helps you prepare, process, and integrate lessons from a separate psychedelic experience.
Psychedelics have been used throughout history for spiritual and psychological health. Psychedelic assisted therapy is Western medicine’s take on what shamans and elders have practiced in indigenous cultures for centuries, though typically removed from any cultural, religious, or spiritual context.
This has both pros and cons: legal psychedelic assisted therapy is more available than ever before but may fall flat for some who are seeking more than just improved mental and physical health (i.e. it may not be as spiritually profound as a traditional plant medicine ceremony).
Currently, in the US, there are two ways to legally access psychedelics via assisted therapy.
Cannabis Assisted Therapy
Cannabis has been used in the United States for hundreds of years. When it was initially discovered, it was used to treat a range of medical ailments. Individual states began outlawing marijuana in the 1930s and eventually cannabis would end up as a Schedule I drug—with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical uses.
Fortunately, as of this time of writing, marijuana is fully legal in 11 states and medically legal in 31 states. Coming along with the changing legislature, cannabis assisted therapists and clinics have been popping up in states like Colorado and California. If you’re looking to acquire cannabis without the help of a therapist, you can always visit a dispensary in one of the legal states.
Ketamine Assisted Therapy
Ketamine is more generally considered to be a psychedelic than cannabis; and it too has had an interesting past. Originally used in the 1960s as an anesthetic, ketamine assisted psychotherapy (KAP) started in the 1970’s when ketamine’s potential for use as an antidepressant was discovered.
It was later studied to demonstrate benefits for those suffering from addiction and anxiety, too. Now, ketamine is known as an effective alternative to treatment resistant depression that conventional antidepressants can’t resolve.
Ketamine is typically administered as an oral lozenge or an intravenous or intramuscular injection during an assisted therapy session. Patients will enter a dissociative, almost meditative psychedelic state and experience psychomotor impairment.
The KAP process typically requires more than one session. While some patients experience a reduction of symptoms after a single ketamine dose, others require multiple sessions over a few weeks or months. Ketamine assisted therapy almost sounds too good to be true, but research supports it as a truly effective alternative or addition to treating depression.
However, each individual has a range of unique needs when it comes to psychedelic assisted therapy and unfortunately, cannabis and ketamine are currently the only two legal options. If you want to learn which psychedelic assisted therapy option is best suited for your goals and needs, we suggest you connect with one of our integration coaches today.
2. Participate in a Clinical Trial
We realize that ketamine and cannabis are just two of the various psychedelics in existence. At this point, the only way to legally access psilocybin, MDMA, LSD, or DMT is through participation in a federally approved clinical study. Psychedelic researchers are continuously becoming more interested in not just studying potential benefits for mental illness, but also using psychedelics to understand more about the inner workings of the brain.
What exactly is a clinical trial? Clinical trials are a way for scientists to collect data to ensure the safety and efficacy of certain drugs. These must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration and are typically funded by government agencies, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, medical and educational institutions, and private organizations.
Drugs go through a few phases before becoming approved and available for patients. If a drug appears safe, it moves into phase 3 trials (like MDMA and psilocybin), where the study size includes more participants from multiple study sites. If the drug is successful here in demonstrating more benefits that outweigh the risks, it can be made available to the consumer market.
If you’re interested in joining a clinical trial, you can visit this site to search the database of privately and publicly funded clinical studies conducted around the world. Simply enter the condition or disease you seek treatment for, enter the psychedelic substance you wish to use, and select your country. The site will display all search results relevant to your query. We’ve written a more in-depth article detailing this process step-by-step [LINK].
3. Consider an International Psychedelic Retreat
One way to legally acquire psychedelics that has become quite popular over the years is to go to a psychedelic retreat, typically held abroad. With relaxed legislation, legal loopholes, or complete legalization, there are countries around the world that can host travelers while they legally experience psychedelics.
Whether you’re after one the more classic psychedelics like psilocybin, or if you’re interested in trying San Pedro, ibogaine, 5-MeO-DMT, or ayahuasca, a psychedelic retreat might be your best option. However, as you’ll quickly see, the extensive list of options can make it hard to choose which retreat center is the best fit for you.
Plus there are a number of logistics to coordinate as well as safety issues to consider. The psychedelic experience puts you and your psyche in a vulnerable position, so it’s important that you pick a trusted retreat center. So though this is a viable legal alternative, it’s not a decision to be made lightly or spontaneously.
If you need help preparing for an international plant medicine retreat, choosing a retreat center, or integrating your previous psychedelic experiences, we suggest scheduling a free discovery call with one of our trained psychedelic coaches today.
4. Go Foraging (Recommended for Mycology Experts Only)
If you’re interested in one of the more unconventional (and admittedly more dangerous) ways to get psychedelics, you could try to source them in the wild. Magic mushrooms grow in the wild—and picking them might not be as difficult as you think.
While we don’t formally recommend this route, we do believe it’s important to list it as an option given that our ancestors—including shamans and indigenous tribes—have been doing this for centuries.
It’s important to know, however, that going foraging for your own psilocybin mushrooms can be extremely dangerous. Exercise extreme caution when identifying them, mistaking them for another similar-looking mushroom could be dangerous, or even fatal.
If you’re familiar with mushroom spores and live in an area where mushrooms are decriminalized (Denver, Colorado, Santa Cruz, California and Oakland, California), growing your own mushrooms may also be an option. Spores can be legally purchased in many states and while you aren’t actually supposed to inoculate the spores, doing so in New Mexico is surprisingly legal, too.
Talk to a Psychedelic Professional
If you’ve never tried psychedelics and are curious, working with an experienced integration coach can help achieve your desired outcome, while simultaneously avoiding a “bad trip.” If you’ve tried any of the psychedelic drugs listed here and had a meaningful experience, it is important that you integrate your journey to get the most long-lasting benefit.
Speaking with a psychedelic mentor about your journey can help you better understand the psychedelic experience. Exploring novel states of consciousness can be confusing, and working with experts like us can help you process emotions and thoughts that came up and develop tools that contribute to long term benefits and healing.
Let us be your guide. If you’re new to psychedelics it’s normal to be overwhelmed by terms like ‘integration’ and ‘consciousness.’ That’s why we exist. We know that some people have no idea where to start, and we can help you take that first step. Simply schedule a call to speak with one of our psychedelic integration coaches today.
Maybe one day the answer to “where do you get psychedelics” will be as easy as going to a legal cannabis dispensary. But until decriminalization or legalization happens nationally in the United States, these four tips are the best options available. Best of luck with your psychonautic experience, and don’t forget to practice safely and intentionally.