Disclaimer | In Crisis?
If you are in crisis or contemplating self-harm or suicide, please call 988 or visit 988Lifeline.org, which provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24/7 in the United States. An extensive list of International suicide prevention hotlines can be found there. Remember: You are needed, you deserve to be here, and you are not alone. Reach out, and do not give up.
Having a Challenging Trip?
If you are experiencing a difficult psychedelic event, or still need help processing one, call or text 62-FIRESIDE. The Fireside Project offers free emotional support during or after a psychedelic experience. You can also download their app. Their services are completely confidential, and their staff is rigorously trained, compassionate, and knowledgeable regarding psychedelics. You can also contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at (800) 622-HELP (4357). Their confidential helpline is available 24/7 in English and Spanish for individuals and family members experiencing emotional distress or crisis.
Additional support resources can be found in the Zendo Project directory. The Zendo Project was founded in partnership with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. Their extensive list of harm reduction resources, emotional support services, and peer support hotlines offer a vast array of tools to help you move through a challenging experience and come out the other side feeling empowered and secure.
Having a Medical Emergency?
If you or a loved one are experiencing a medical emergency and require immediate attention, please dial 911 (USA) immediately.
Are You a Veteran Having a Medical Emergency?
If you are a veteran experiencing a difficult trip or crisis, please contact (800) 273-8255 and Press 1. This will connect you to the Veteran Crisis Line. Their hotline is staffed by experienced personnel, many of whom are also veterans. A trained responder will answer your call 24/7 to help you through a crisis, anxiety, or thoughts of self-harm.
Emotional and Crisis Support for the LGBTQIA+ Community.
Members of the LGBTQIA+ community may face unique and difficult situations during a challenging psychedelic experience. If you need emotional or crisis support, dial (888) 688-5428 or visit LGBThotline.org. Their hotline is designed for people of all ages and staffed by a dedicated team of highly trained volunteers from all parts of the LGBT+ community. They also offer a dedicated line for LGBT+ seniors that you can reach at (888) 234-7243.
Be Wary of Fentanyl-Contaminated Drugs.
The United States is experiencing a synthetic opioid epidemic that has claimed thousands of lives due to street drugs being adulterated with other drugs, such as fentanyl. Fentanyl is an incredibly powerful and deadly narcotic, with doses as low as two milligrams (a dose so small it could fit on the tip of a pencil) being potentially deadly. While it is never recommended to consume any illicit substances, it is critical that you or the people you know test any drugs you may ingest for fentanyl. Several non-profit harm reduction organizations, such as DanceSafe, offer fentanyl testing strips and at-home drug testing kits.
The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider. Some individuals with preexisting mental health conditions should not use psychedelics. Always consult with a trained medical professional about your specific healthcare needs.
Are Psychedelics Legal?
Most classical and non-classical psychedelic drugs are prohibited in the United States under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. This family of chemical compounds are considered Schedule I drugs, the most tightly controlled and generally illegal class. This includes psilocybin (aka Magic Mushrooms), Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), Ayahuasca, Ibogaine, Peyote, 2C-B, Cannabis, and others. Ketamine is also controlled under the same act and listed as a Schedule III drug. Due to the illegal or controlled nature of these drugs, it is not advised that you attempt to purchase, source, or otherwise possess any Scheduled substances, as you may be at risk of civil and criminal penalties.
The information provided on this website is intended for informational and harm reduction purposes only and does not constitute medical or legal advice. Nor is this information, or any journalistic stories, anecdotes, visual or artistic material intended as a replacement or supplement for medical or legal advice. It is important to understand that using any psychedelic compounds from the streets has significant risks and is unlikely to produce the promising results emerging in some clinical trials which involve particular dosing and purity, along with specific, carefully crafted psychotherapy in a safe, controlled environment. Various psychedelics purchased illegally often are adulterated with other, possibly harmful substances, making it difficult and not advisable to self-medicate for PTSD, anxiety, depression, or for the treatment of other mental health issues.
Psychedelics have tread a long path from ancestral traditions to counterculture sacraments, and now, they’re at the frontier of mental health solutions. Amidst the ever-growing mental health crisis, the traditional psychiatric toolbox seems inadequate, necessitating a venture into the once-taboo, the realms of the mind opened by substances like LSD, Psilocybin, and Ketamine.
LSD and Psilocybin as Potential Treatments for OCD
In an article originally run by StudyFinds, the search for a new treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), a disorder characterized by distressing recurring thoughts and behaviors, has come to researchers at the Paris Brain Institute, which recently concluded a study utilizing LSD and psilocybin. Experts are exploring the therapeutic potentials of psychedelic substances like LSD and psilocybin. OCD, marked by intrusive obsessions and compulsions, significantly hampers the daily lives of sufferers, often leading to a relentless cycle of anxiety and ritualistic behaviors.
Traditional treatments often include cognitive-behavioral therapies and antidepressants. However, they often fall short, leaving about 30 to 40 percent of patients without relief. Psychedelics have resurfaced as a beacon of hope for several mental health conditions, albeit the legal restrictions on these substances pose a significant hurdle to conducting robust clinical studies.
The study looked into the self-reported experiences of 174 individuals with OCD symptoms who had previously used the psychedelic drugs LSD and psilocybin. By dissecting the correlations between the dose, the nature of the psychedelic experience, and the perceived alleviation of OCD symptoms, the researchers sought to unearth any potential long-term benefits. The findings, although preliminary, painted an optimistic picture, with participants recounting a decline in obsessive thoughts, lessened ritual engagement, and an overall eased anxiety. Remarkably, 30% of the participants reported persistence of these positive effects beyond three months post-psychedelic experience, hinting at the possibly enduring benefits of these substances.
However, the study treads on a thin ice of subjectivity, as the self-reported data could be swayed by the participants’ pre-existing beliefs or expectations concerning the therapeutic prowess of psychedelics. The authors acknowledge that the euphoric or transcendental experiences often associated with psychedelics could potentially color the perceived therapeutic outcomes. This underpins the urgent need for more rigorous clinical investigations to dissect the therapeutic merit of psychedelics from the placebo-like effects possibly engendered by the profoundly altered states of consciousness that psychedelic medicine brings. Furthermore, delving into the biological underpinning of psychedelics’ long-term effects, especially their role in neuroplasticity and synaptic remodeling, is crucial to fully harness their potential as a novel treatment avenue for OCD.(1)
Governor Newsom Vetoes Psychedelics Legalization Bill, Aims for Therapeutic Access Legislation
As covered by Marijuana Moment, California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill proposing the legalization and regulated access to certain psychedelics, despite previously being an advocate for ending the war on drugs and legalizing cannabis. The veto comes amidst a growing movement for psychedelic reform, with two states having already enacted policy changes and two campaigns striving to bring the issue to California’s 2024 ballot. The vetoed bill, SB 58, introduced by Sen. Scott Wiener, was aimed at decriminalizing the possession and personal cultivation of specific entheogenic plants and fungi starting January 1, 2025. However, Newsom has expressed a desire for a new bill that establishes regulated therapeutic access to psychedelics with a potential framework for broader decriminalization once safety measures are thoroughly considered and implemented.
Newsom’s rejection has disappointed many, including military veterans and first responders who supported the reform, as it represented a chance to decriminalize the use of substances beneficial to many individuals. The bill had already been diluted from its original form, with certain psychedelics excluded and a workgroup proposed to study and provide legislative recommendations by 2025. In response to the veto, Wiener expressed regret over the missed opportunity but remained hopeful about introducing therapeutic-focused legislation next year, echoing Newsom’s emphasis on establishing therapeutic guidelines before decriminalization.
California officials have already cleared a campaign for a 2024 ballot initiative to legalize psilocybin, and another campaign aims to establish a $5 billion state agency for psychedelics research. Meanwhile, Newsom separately signed legislation allowing immediate prescription of certain currently illicit drugs like psilocybin and MDMA if federally rescheduled. The situation in California reflects a broader national trend, with Colorado and Oregon making strides in psychedelics regulation, showcasing the evolving stance on drug policy reform in the United States.(2)
Psychedelic Sanctuaries: Exploring New Spiritual Horizons Amid Religious Disaffiliation
An article from The Conversation discusses the rise of psychedelic churches as a platform for the religiously unaffiliated, or “nones,” to explore spirituality and find meaning outside traditional religious frameworks. Through examples of various psychedelic churches like The Divine Assembly, Sanctuary Church, and others. The author, Morgan Shipley, highlights how these churches offer alternative spiritual expressions that emphasize direct experiences of the divine, often facilitated by psychedelics. While varying in practices and beliefs, these churches share a common goal of promoting emotional, psychological, and spiritual healing, challenging traditional religious narratives, and reflecting a broader shift toward individualized spirituality.
Psychedelic churches like The Divine Assembly in Utah and Sanctuary Church in Kentucky, provide spaces for individuals to explore spirituality and divine connection through psychedelic substances. They move away from the conventional religious focus on a monotheistic God, embracing a more inclusive, experiential, and often communal approach to spirituality. These churches often have educational initiatives and rituals that help individuals explore and integrate psychedelic experiences, fostering community and shared purpose among members.
The article also touches on these churches’ cultural and legal positioning as they navigate the frameworks to establish themselves as faith-based organizations. They draw upon non-Western, indigenous, and New Age understandings of divinity, challenging traditional religious narratives. The emergence of Ayahuasca churches, for instance, underscores a growing recognition of the healing potential of psychedelics, both at an individual and community level. However, the appropriation and commodification of indigenous practices needs addressing. Through these psychedelic churches, members find new avenues to explore spirituality, emphasizing self-realization, and the intrinsic sacredness within each individual.(3)
California’s Psychedelic Frontier: The TREAT Act’s $5 Billion Pledge to Explore Mind-Altering Therapies
A story published by Marijuana Moment discusses a campaign in California aimed at qualifying a ballot measure for the state’s 2024 elections that proposes $5 billion in funding for creating a state agency for advancing psychedelic therapies’ research and development. This initiative is known as the TREAT California Act. While it does not intend to change the legal status of any substances, it aims to establish the Treatment, Research, Education, Access and Therapies (TREAT) Institute to propel scientific inquiry into psychedelics’ therapeutic potential. If passed, it would create a constitutional right in California to conduct research using various psychedelic substances, excluding peyote (due to sustainability concerns), like psilocybin, ibogaine, LSD, MDMA, ketamine, and cannabis. This move is driven by a perceived mental healthcare crisis where conventional therapies often fall short in relieving conditions like PTSD, depression, and suicidality, as stated by Jeannie Fontana, CEO of the TREAT California campaign.
To qualify for the 2024 ballot, the campaign must gather at least 874,641 valid signatures from registered voters. The initiative aims to create a funding agency to foster a paradigm shift in mental healthcare, with the ultimate goal of gaining FDA approval for these substances and making them accessible therapeutically. The proposed funding would support various facets, including research, clinical trials, training, and education related to psychedelic use for therapeutic purposes. The initiative would also facilitate the development of care programs in California for psilocybin and MDMA after their therapeutic approval by the FDA.
The measure also aims to explore the risks and benefits of psychedelic-assisted therapy for various disorders, like addiction, anxiety, depression, PTSD, chronic and acute pain, OCD, and anorexia. The financial analysis by California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates a cost of $6.6 billion over 30 years. However, through intellectual property agreements with entities funded by the TREAT Institute, there’s potential for revenue generation from new scientific discoveries on psychedelics. However, the timeline and amount of revenue remain uncertain.
In a broader context, the article touches on the increasing interest and legislative movements regarding psychedelic substances both in California and across the U.S., for instance, the efforts by Decriminalize California to legalize psilocybin and legislative actions in Michigan urging federal entities to prioritize research into psychedelics for treating psychological trauma from military service. The TREAT California Act represents a part of the growing movement to explore and potentially integrate psychedelic substances into the therapeutic landscape to address the limitations of current mental health care approaches.(4)
Psychedelic medicine represents the real potential for healing and self-discovery, yet a deluge of questions about legality, ethics, and efficacy emerge. Amidst the narratives of psychedelic research, legality, and spiritual explorations, we find ourselves at the cusp of a psychedelic renaissance, a venture into the unknown demanding not just scientific rigor but a collective introspection and meaningful discourse of the rights and the responsibilities that come with unlocking the doors of perception.
This material is not intended as a replacement or substitute for any legal or medical advice. Always consult a medical professional about your health needs. Psychedelics are widely illegal in the United States, and readers should always be informed about local, state, and federal regulations regarding psychedelics or other drugs.
- Anderer, J. (2023, October 10). Is LSD the cure for OCD? Study reveals potential benefits of using psychedelics. Study Finds. https://studyfinds.org/lsd-ocd-psychedelics/
- Jaeger, K. (2023, October 7). California Governor Newsom Vetoes Psychedelics Legalization, But Calls For New Bill On Therapeutic Access Next Year. Marijuana Moment. https://www.marijuanamoment.net/california-governor-newsom-vetoes-psychedelics-legalization-bill-despite-leading-on-marijuana-reform/#:~:text=The%20veto%20from%20Newsom%20comes
- Shipley, M. (2023, October 10). How “nones” − the religiously unaffiliated − are finding meaning, purpose and spirituality in psychedelic churches. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/how-nones-the-religiously-unaffiliated-are-finding-meaning-purpose-and-spirituality-in-psychedelic-churches-207461
- Adlin, B. (2023, October 10). California Campaign To Put $5 Billion Towards Psychedelic Research Begins Gathering Signatures For Ballot Measure. Marijuana Moment. https://www.marijuanamoment.net/california-campaign-to-put-5-billion-towards-psychedelic-research-begins-gathering-signatures-for-ballot-measure/