Legal psychedelics that’ll trip you out
People in the United States are coming around on legal psychedelics. At one point bringing up magic mushrooms at the dinner table would incite gasps, but now it’s regular conversational fodder.
One recent poll showed that over 60 percent of U.S. voters polled believe regulated psychedelic therapy should be legal. As the public perception shifts, interest in having a psychedelic experience grows. Unfortunately, the laws developed during the war on drugs haven’t caught up with the popularity.
The status of legal psychedelics in the U.S.
Many common psychedelic drugs like magic mushrooms strains, LSD, and MDMA are considered Schedule 1 by the Controlled Substances Act. This designation implies that the substances have no therapeutic potential with a high possibility for abuse. Schedule 1 also deems possession and cultivation of these psychedelics as illegal.
Despite this grim scheduling, strides have been made to build avenues for psychedelic therapy. Cities all over the U.S. (and one state) have legalized or decriminalized psilocybin. Some have voted to establish centers for psychedelic therapy.
These cities have decriminalized psychedelics in some way:
- Washington D.C.
- San Francisco, CA
- Oakland, CA
- Santa Cruz, CA
- Denver, CO
- Somerville, MA
- Cambridge, MA
- Ann Arbor, MI
- Detroit, MI
- Minneapolis, MN
- Seattle, WA
There are also ongoing clinical trials for psychedelic substances. One MDMA clinical trial for post-traumatic stress disorder recently revealed results from its third phase. A total of 88 percent of patients significantly decreased PTSD symptoms, and 67 percent no longer qualified as having PTSD. This is one of many detailed studies exploring psychedelics to treat mental health conditions.
Currently, there is no legal pipeline to MDMA and other Schedule 1 psychedelic substances. Sure, droves of people have eaten psilocybin mushrooms or let LSD dissolve on their tongues, but not everyone feels comfortable using black market means to find psychedelics..
Despite a movement to decriminalize gaining steam, these aren’t always legal options. Instead of taking a risk with law enforcement, consider these legal psychedelics. Before you go, do note that any mind-altering substances can be addictive, especially when consumed long term. Those taking legal psychedelics should check in regularly to maintain a healthy relationship with the compound.
This fruiting body looks like the classic Super Mushroom in Mario Brothers games. The red cap with white spots could have been plucked from a classic fairy tale, and rightfully so.
Psychonauts seek out the fungi for the auditory and visual perceptual changes. It’s also legal in 49 U.S. states. Possible side effects of the Amanita muscaria mushroom, also known as fly agaric, range include confusion, dizziness, and fatigue.
Because it’s one of the few legal psychedelics, American nootropics companies have jumped on the Amanita muscaria train. Muscimind mushrooms from Koi are one of many gummy products made with the compounds found in fly agaric.
Amanita muscaria is making waves and is readily available. It could be a good option for those looking for a legal trip.
Ketamine, sometimes called Special K or Ket, was originally an anesthesia invented by Calvin L. Stevens. It can induce a dissociative experience, removing someone from their body and exalting them into altered states of consciousness. It is a Schedule III narcotic often used as a recreational drug. But that doesn’t diminish its therapeutic potential.
New research has also shown the possibilities of ketamine for treatment-resistant depression. One study compared the impact of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) versus ketamine treatment in 400 patients. Results show ketamine could be a viable alternative, with 55 percent of patients in the ketamine group and 41 percent of the ECS group responding to the treatment.
Ketamine clinics providing legal psychedelics are popping up in the U.S. A simple search in any state populates multiple sites for ketamine infusions.
The 2020s have brought the dawn of legal psilocybin therapy in America. In 2020, Oregon voters approved Ballot Measure 109, which effectively legalized psilocybin for adult use in the state. The law also set up a framework for an eventual psilocybin therapy program overseen by the government. The first therapy offerings under Measure 109 are hitting the books now, but so far they cost thousands of dollars.
A few years later, Colorado joined Oregon with the passing of Proposition 122. The Proposition makes it legal for adults to consume psilocybin and psilocin. It also legalized assisted psilocybin therapy, setting guidelines to build a framework of regulated “healing centers.” This program should be active by 2024.
By 2023, Governor Jay Inslee signed the Washington Psilocybin Services Act. This enacted a plan to build a pilot program of psilocybin therapty service centers at the University of Washington.
These actions are bolstered by continually published studies showing the potential value of psilocybin therapy. Monitored doses of psilocybin have had promising results in patients diagnosed with a mental illness like depression, anorexia, and addiction.
Those willing to travel can book time in Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, or Brazil where ayahuasca is legal. The practice of drinking an ayahuasca brew for a psychedelic experience comes from Indigenous folk medicine. The tea contains N,N-dimethyltryptamine, also known as the powerful hallucinogen DMT. This field of psychedelic exploration is sacred and should be respected by visitors.
Ayahuasca is a powerful psychedelic that has induced various experiences like anxiety, panic, euphoria, life-changing insight, hallucinations, seeing deceased relatives, and more. The trip can be painful and feel like an eternity, but many see benefits from the sojourn.
A narrative review on the impact of ayahuasca in a controlled setting showed therapeutic potential for treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, and addiction based on animal studies and clinical trials.
However, psychedelic medicine may evoke psychosis, most often in those predisposed. Adverse reactions to the treatment are most common in people who don’t take ayahuasca in a safe, controlled environment.
Euphoric herb legal psychedelics
There are many plants, like cannabis, whose flowers, seeds, and leaves can be made into psychoactive decoctions. There are euphoric herbs and psychoactive flowers. This means that if prepared correctly they could open new states of consciousness.
The seeds of Hawaiian baby woodrose are often referred to as “herbal LSD.” They contain the hallucinogen lysergic acid amide, a relative of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).
Salvia is another euphoric herb that can be smoked, chewed, or made into a drink for psychedelic effects. Just be sure to check the legality of this plant as many states have enacted laws against its possession or sale. Blue lotus can also stimulate euphora after being steeped into tea or smoked.
Mother Nature has provided psychedelic experiences for centuries for those with the correct field manuals. Remember that foraging can be dangerous: it merely takes one misidentified plant to end the search forever.
Ancient civilizations used breathwork, meditation, dance, and music to reach altered states. Holotropic breathwork draws from this. The trauma-release method utilizes breath control featuring quickening and retention to induce non-ordinary states of consciousness.
One study paired this breath work with “evocative” music, somatic movement, and integration meetings to understand how holotropic breath work could enhance treatment in psychiatric patients. The method has been shown to connect people to their higher power and provide a physical and emotional release after a traumatic experience.
A total of 11,000 patients took part in the study over twelve years, documenting the experiences of 482 of them. No one reported familiarity with a similar practice, nor were they particularly spiritual. Of those patients, holotropic breath work inspired 82 percent to experience a consciousness outside of their own identity. Two percent felt no effect
Breathing is quite possibly the most legal option on this list, though conducting holotropic breath work, without a professional guide is considered dangerous. Patients in that study with severe cardiac disease, musculoskeletal disorders, pregnancy, and paranoid ideation were left out.
There are many kinds of legal psychedelics and just as many kinds of journeys. Those who want a therapeutic experience may opt for clinical trials, ketamine infusions, or psilocybin therapy. People seeking a peek into the beyond might opt for an Ayahuasca journey.
Legalizing psychedelics could be the best move for public health, with many citing relief from treatment-resistant mental illness after psychedelic experiences. Until then, these options could fill the gap.