Many people are currently seeking psychedelic experiences, even though most psychedelics are illegal. Currently, the only way to access MDMA- or psilocybin-assisted therapy is through participation in a clinical trial, and they are difficult to get into. Some people choose to travel to other countries where psychedelics are currently legal such as Jamaica or The Netherlands, though there are some risks involved and this is often impractical for most primarily because of its expense. There are some churches in the US that have been permitted to use psychedelics for religious purposes, though joining such a church might have negative implications if you do not share the same cultural background. Finally, some people consider using rare or “atypical” psychedelics (as opposed to controlled substances) such as salvia divinorum, though atypical psychedelics may be more difficult to use or have less well-understood side effects and therefore be riskier. Lastly, ketamine is sometimes utilized because it can have psychedelic properties depending on dose and setting, and it is more accessible as ketamine-assisted psychotherapy clinics are becoming more common throughout the country.
Links to Learn More
- For more information on legal experiences
- For an update on decriminalization initiatives and religious exemptions
- Clearinghouse on decriminalization and legalization of psychedelics
Decriminalization of Drugs
Decriminalization refers to the removal of criminal penalties for an illegal act. This differs from legalization which refers to the removal of legal prohibitions. Decriminalization of drugs has been occurring in countries around the world including Portugal, the Netherlands, Mexico, and Australia. In the US, many cities and states have voted to approve measures to decriminalize drugs, such as Measure 110 in Oregon where people are no longer arrested and jailed for possessing small amounts of drugs.
Decriminalization is believed by many to be a more humane and rational approach to the relationship between people and drugs than the failed approach of the War on Drugs over the last several decades. Decriminalization is also often associated with harm reduction movements. While decriminalization does not allow for legal access to psychedelics or permit the medical use of psychedelic-assisted therapy, it is a step closer to a more accepting and flexible approach to the potential application and use of psychedelic substances.
Measure 109 and Psilocybin Therapy in Oregon
After the approval of Measure of 109 by voters in 2020, Oregon is set to be the first state to legalize psilocybin-assisted therapy in the US. However, this treatment will not be available to the public until 2023. This is because the Oregon Health Authority and the Psilocybin Advisory Board have two years to create the ground rules for a program that is well-regulated and prioritizes the safety and equity of Oregon residents. One prominent organization in relation to this initiative is the Healing Advocacy Fund.
Links to Learn More:
- Measure 109 & 110: Psilocybin-Assisted Therapy Is Here! (But Not Until 2023)
- Psilocybin Therapy and Mental Health Care in Oregon: What Is Happening and Where Do We Need to Go From Here?
- Complete Guide to Legal Psilocybin in Oregon: What Aspiring Facilitators, Clients, Clinics & Growers Need to Know about Measure 109