Labels like “a life-changing experience” and “a spiritual awakening” are not common among both the general public and the healthcare community. The big question is how one can access the intriguing experience lawfully and safely. This article will take you through 5 ways to explore psychedelic experiences legally.

Clinical Trials

These are studies that are created by experts in the fields of psychology, neuroscience, and other relevant fields within the biomedical sector. They take measurements of the mental benefits of psychedelics, especially in terms of treating medical conditions like depression, PTSD, and anxiety. Basically, participants are given the opportunity to make a societal impact in the form of contributing to scientific advancements.

There is currently a wide range of studies that are conducted in the psychedelic research field, with many more being introduced by the day. This is because of the need to fully validate the potential health benefits of these substances. To be eligible for a psychedelic clinical trial, you’ll need to meet all the inclusion criteria.

This implies that you must be diagnosed with the condition being investigated, not be prescribed contraindicative medications, and be of age.

Psychedelic-assisted Therapy

This type of therapy is provided to people suffering from major depressive disorder, PTSD, or treatment-resistant depression, particularly does who found no significant improvement with conventional treatment options. Interestingly, there are legal, medical centers available in different parts of the world for people to find.

Another interesting thing to note is Canada offers a Special Access Program that offers legal access. However, it’s worth noting that only a few patients are given treatment access every year. Basically, psychedelic-assisted therapy involves the use of high doses of psychedelic substances like MDMA or psilocybin.

Sessions can last up to six hours, and during this time, the patients are guided by a licensed mental health professional. Also, at the end of the session, they discuss their experiences with a mental health therapist.

Therefore, traditional and psychedelic therapy work as counterparts, implying that the credit doesn’t go to the drug substance alone. A key thing to note is that the legality of the use of these substances in therapy clinics is unique for each region, pharmacological typification, and country.

Spiritual Rituals

There are many groups that consider psychedelic experiences as a form of spiritual awakening. For example, some traditional indigenous ceremonies can use substances like ayahuasca by law. This is common in the U.S. and Brazil. Another example is with the Netherlands, where religious practices have the protection of the law. With that, the use of substances like psilocybin and ayahuasca is common in various ritual ceremonies.

However, it’s important to note that the spiritual use of ayahuasca and other psychedelic compounds may be prohibited in other parts of the world. Therefore, it’s important that specific law research is performed to ensure the legality of this practice in your jurisdiction.

Santo Daime Church

This is a doctrine or religion from the state of Acre, Brazil, and it originated in the 1930s. The group is known for using ayahuasca tea in various ritual ceremonies. Also, these ceremonies are known for involving the elements of African and catholic religions, like dances and hymns. This is to allow participants to connect with the divine, develop community and explore the unconscious mind.

The community has, since its establishment spread to different parts of the world, with various churches in different countries. For example, Health Canada has approved up to six federal exemptions, which allow ayahuasca churches to function in Toronto, Winnipeg, and Montreal, where the substance is improved and used in sacred tea.

Santa Daime is protected by the law because it is a religious entity. They are also allowed to run ayahuasca sessions across the world. What’s more, is that the ceremony is free, but because they are a church, they accept and appreciate voluntary donations or work.

Psychedelic Retreats

Psychedelic retreats are safe and supportive environments for personal growth and exploration. They take place in countries where substances like psilocybin, ayahuasca, 5-MeO-DMT, and ibogaine are legal or unregulated, such as Jamaica and Mexico. These retreats offer sessions of psychedelic experiences with the presence of experienced facilitators and therapists. They can be spiritual in nature and typically last between four and seven days, with multiple psychedelic sessions.

There are different types of retreats, including individual or group settings therapeutic or clinical approaches. Visitors to these retreats come from diverse backgrounds, which means that group retreats may include people from various walks of life. It’s important to research and choose a retreat that aligns with one’s values and needs. It’s also crucial to check the legality of these retreats in each jurisdiction. Here are some affordable psychedelic retreats and reviews from individuals who have undergone psilocybin retreats.


Smartshops are common in the Netherlands, and they are stores that can legally sell psychoactive substances. In the Netherlands, it’s legal to purchase and consume or purchase psilocybin truffles from these stores. However, it’s important to note that the laws are stiff, especially when these substances are marketed for treating mental health conditions rather than for food.

In other European countries like Belgium and Spain, these smartshops can also sell psychoactive substances, but there are regulations that vary according to the pharmacological typification. Also, there are smart shops that ship these truffles across the European Union borders. However, it’s important to always check the possibilities and regulations for each website, as well as the region they are shipped to.

Another important thing to ensure after purchasing a psychedelic substance from a smartshop is that you consume it in a safe environment. This should be with people who are experienced in the use of these substances.

Understanding the Risks

Even though psychedelics have given amazing results when used in treating a range of mental health disorders, it’s worth noting that there are potential risks associated with them. Legal access is an indication that there is some form of safety associated with the use of these substances. However, that’s not for every psychedelic substance available. There are also many factors involved, which include the health condition of the individual, the type of substance, and the context where it is used.

Some of the risks associated with these substances include:

  • Potential psychosis
  • High heart rate and blood pressure
  • Mind-altering experiences
  • Resurfacing of repressed or traumatic memories

More on the Risks

Individuals often engage in preparation sessions before embarking on psychedelic-assisted therapy, as the interest in these compounds stems from their potential to uncover repressed traumas, which could be the underlying cause of psychiatric conditions. However, inexperienced or unprepared individuals may encounter anxious ego dissolution during psychedelic trips when traumatic experiences resurface.

Before embarking on a psychedelic journey, it is important for individuals to be aware that they are venturing into unfamiliar territory. It is crucial to approach these experiences with curiosity and an acceptance of the thoughts and feelings that may arise in order to avoid any potential negative trips. One highly recommended practice during these journeys is to have a trusted trip sitter present, a practice commonly followed in psychedelic medical centres, retreats, spiritual rituals, and churches. It is worth noting, however, that not all establishments, such as smart shops, may offer this support.

When considering the potential risks of physiological effects and psychosis, it is safest to opt for clinical trials, psychedelic-assisted therapy, or selected retreats. Professionals in these settings will thoroughly assess an individual’s mental and physical health, taking into consideration their historical data. This is to determine if it is safe for them to participate in a psychedelic experience.

Individuals with a predisposition for psychosis disorders, cardiovascular health issues, or those taking SSRI medications are likely to be excluded from these experiences. Therefore, spiritual ceremonies or smart shops may not be the safest options for individuals in these risk groups. Individuals should consult with a doctor before entering a psychedelic experience to determine the best legal route for them.

Resurfacing of Traumatic or Repressed Memories

Because the use of psychedelics can potentially uncover deeply buried parts of our subconscious, the experience can be quite intense and overwhelming. It may bring up painful memories from one’s past, leaving them unsure of how to handle these emotions. To ensure safety and support during a psychedelic journey, it is recommended to have professionals such as psychologists, therapists, or retreat facilitators present.

These experienced individuals can provide guidance and assistance, particularly when unexpected emotions arise. Environments such as clinical trials, spiritual ceremonies, retreats, and psychedelic-assisted therapy offer the safest options, as they often allow individuals to establish a connection and discuss their concerns with their guides before embarking on the trip. This preliminary interaction provides a subjective space for processing any uncomfortable emotions that may emerge.

Mind-altering Experiences

One of the remarkable abilities of psychedelics is their power to change how we perceive the world. This can result in experiences, including alterations in sensory perception, synesthesia, shifts in emotions, and a distorted perception of time. For example, individuals may see halos around lights and objects or encounter intricate patterns when closing their eyes.

It is important to note that hallucinations can be disorienting and potentially dangerous for some individuals. Therefore, it is crucial to have a guide or a “trip sitter,” during the experience. In certain situations, such as being in high buildings or on the streets, it is advisable to avoid using psychedelics.

Some smartshops may offer the option to consume psychedelics within their premises under the watch of a staff member. However, these employees may not always be adequately trained or qualified to supervise a trip effectively.

High Blood Pressure and Heart Rate

The usage of psychedelics can lead to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure for certain individuals. The presence of pre-existing cardiovascular conditions can significantly influence the overall experience. Medical professionals involved in clinical trials and psychedelic retreats can evaluate whether an individual is suitable for a psychedelic journey.

It is common for psychedelic retreats to conduct comprehensive screenings before granting permission to participate. It is crucial for everyone, particularly individuals with arrhythmia or other cardiac conditions, to be aware of these physiological effects. In such cases, it is advisable to consult with a doctor before exploring alternative legal avenues.

Potential Psychosis

People who have a predisposition to psychotic disorders or are at risk for schizophrenia should avoid using psychedelics. The chances of experiencing difficulties during the trip are significantly higher for them, and the outcomes can be severe. Normally, clinical trials, psychedelic-assisted therapy, and certain retreats will screen individuals extensively. This is to determine if it is safe for them to have a psychedelic experience. Also, those in the high-risk group will not be allowed to participate.


The scientific community and individuals seeking mental health benefits are increasingly interested in psychedelics. However, it is crucial to remember that these substances are potent and should be approached with caution. Michael Pollan, in an interview with Time Magazine, emphasized the importance of having a skilled guide present during these experiences. This is because these experiences can be both terrifying and painful. In the right setting, with proper guidance, such encounters can be incredibly valuable.