With all the talk of psychedelic consumption and the emergence of a billion-dollar treatment market, it can be easy to forget that psychedelic substances, such as LSD and psilocybin mushrooms, mostly remain illegal in the US. “Magic mushrooms’ legal status is leading a psychedelics boom,” “Psychedelic drugs take on depression,” “‘Ruthless’ Joe Rogan explains how psychedelics made him ‘much kinder’ after Mike Tyson shared his experience,” and “Use of psychedelics is soaring among young adults, study finds,” are just a handful of a slew of recent headlines. Despite the narrative sometimes outpacing legislative realities, Oregon will next year be the first state to provide legal therapy with traditional psychedelics. California, Colorado, New York, and Washington are considering following suit in some form, and several others are decriminalizing after a dozen cities and counties did so to some degree.
So how can you legally trip right now?
While it is illegal federally to pick psychedelic fungi – which grow abundantly across moist pastures in the fall – the foraging for psilocybin mushrooms may not be prohibited. But, caution is always wise: misidentifying fungi can be seriously harmful or even deadly. Further, foraging for psychedelic fungi may not be legal on protected or private lands, even in decriminalized regions.
2. Take ayahuasca at an approved church
The União de Vegetal church and some Santo Daime congregations have over the past two decades obtained the lawful right to consume the hallucinogenic Amazonian brew for religious purposes because it is central to their beliefs. Other psychedelic churches have sprung up citing the supportive 2006 supreme court ruling.
3. San Pedro
The tall cactus grows across dry areas of the US, though it is not native and contains less mescaline than those which grow in Latin America. While it is not illegal to grow, extracting mescaline is. But, eating the plant raw can also inspire psychedelic effects.
4. Go to a psychedelic retreat abroad
While plant medicine ceremonies outside of the auspices of the aforementioned churches take place regularly across the US, many feel more at ease heading to Costa Rica, Mexico, Holland, Portugal, or a number of other countries, to undergo rituals and treatments with psychedelics due to the potential legal threat in the states.
5. Happy caps and truffles in Holland
The liberal northern European country offers an array of psychedelic drugs in their famous smart shops. Happy caps are marketed as a legal form of LSD as they contain natural lysergic acid amide (LSA), and the effect of two tablets is equal to a tab of acid. After magic mushrooms were prohibited, truffles – the underground growths of psychedelic psilocybin-containing fungi – can still be purchased above board.
The mint family herb whose most known strain, Salvia divinorum, is native to Oaxaca, Mexico, can bring about some of the most intense psychedelic experiences, including terrifying hallucinations, but is not controlled under federal drug laws and can be found in a variety of smoke shops. However, certain states—including most of the American midwest and south—do not allow its use.
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7. Enroll in a clinical trial
An increasing number of medical studies monitoring the effects of psychedelic use are taking place—and they all need volunteers. In one of the latest developments, the Heffter Research Institute just gave almost $1m to three leading universities to develop Ph.D. programs for psychiatrists who would like to use psilocybin.
8. Ketamine therapy
Many clinics have opened in recent years offering medical ketamine treatment since the legal anesthetic was already part of the mainstream medical pharmacopeia and was somehow largely shielded from the war on drugs as it only relatively recently emerged as a popular, though still illegal, psychedelic and dissociative club drug. Other companies are mailing tablets to patients.
9. Blue lotus
Found at health food stores as a tea additive, the blue Egyptian water lily – used by the ancients to attain higher states of consciousness – is most psychedelic when its petals and bulbs are smoked. Or the flowers can be marinated in wine. It is touted as being able to alleviate pain, depression and “catapult you into a super high.” But, not a lot is known about this plant’s long-term safety, especially when smoked. It’s also illegal in the state of Louisiana.
10. Holotropic Breathwork
Holotropic breathwork is an accelerated deep breathing practice, sometimes described as a means to get high without drugs. During the practice, neural activity is modulated through consciously and repetitively inhaling and exhaling. Once one enters a state of near-hyperventilation, a trance state can be entered in which a natural state of ecstasy can be achieved.