Looking to go on a psilocybin medicine retreat? Here’s what you need to know about the substances and the psilocybin retreat centers to explore.
How we vacation has changed since the start of covid. Consumers want more meaningful experiences. And an increasing number also want to explore their own personal healing. Some of the most luxury resort and retreat destinations now include a new angle: psychedelic healing sessions, such as psilocybin.
What is psilocybin?
Psilocybin is the psychedelic compound in more than 200 types of mushrooms. But it’s shaking off its 1960s and ’70s era “magic mushroom” hippie drug of choice stereotype and joining the ranks of bona fide medical treatments with major investments, research, and celebrity endorsements.
A growing body of peer-reviewed studies shows psilocybin has strong potential in the fight against depression, anxiety, and PTSD, among other mental health issues. What’s perhaps most promising about the research, is that even a single experience with the substance can mitigate depression symptoms for months or longer. The treatments have also shown effectiveness in patients diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression—about 30 percent of patients experience this, defined as two or more medical treatments failing to show improvements.
Is psilocybin safe?
Another reason for the spike in psilocybin research is that it may have fewer side effects than conventional antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. Side effects from these medications can include fatigue, loss of interest in sex, weight gain, digestive issues, and insomnia, among others.
Used under the supervision of a trained professional, psilocybin therapy has been shown to be incredibly safe, with mild side effects including nausea and headache during a session. There are some incidences of confusion, paranoia, and fear, but those are typically the result of set and setting, something that’s critical to the use of therapeutic psychedelics.
Is psilocybin legal?
In the U.S., psilocybin is still classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. That classification includes substances with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse including heroin and methamphetamines. But that could soon be changing for psilocybin and other psychedelic substances.
In 2020, Oregon became the first state to legalize psilocybin for therapeutic use. It must be administered by a certified professional. Other states including California, Hawaii, and New York are all looking at similar measures. Several cities have decriminalized psilocybin and other non-habit-forming psychedelics for recreational use. In California, Santa Cruz and Oakland have decriminalized psilocybin. Denver, Washington D.C., and several cities in New England have decriminalized a number of psychedelics, as has the state of Oregon on top of its legalization of medical use of psilocybin.
Outside of the U.S., psilocybin possession is legal in a number of countries including Jamaica, The Netherlands, Brazil, and the Bahamas, among others. Some countries still classify psilocybin as illegal, but there are few or no enforcements on possession. These countries include Canada, Portugal, Mexico, and Spain. Australia recently passed legislation that will allow the use of certain psychedelics for therapeutic benefit.
Looking to explore a psychedelic psilocybin experience? These resorts offer comfort and structured psilocybin healing journeys.
1. Cardea, Jamaica
Located two hours from Montego Bay at the lush tropical seaside paradise of Treasure Beach, Jamaica, Cardea’s seven-day retreat offers up to three expert-guided psilocybin sessions. The ceremonies include vibrational music and sound to help guide the journey as well as integration sessions, bodywork, art, and daily excursions to explore the area.
“Our aim here is to help you deepen your understanding of why you came to us. We also want to assist you in developing a second, or parallel, intention: a goal you wish to accomplish that is altruistic and generous,” Cardea says. The psilocybin is grown locally by Jamaican-owned and operated Psacred Therapeutics.
Accommodations include three villas with single and double occupancy rooms as well as a panorama suite with stunning, sweeping ocean views. All meals are house prepared with farm-to-table ingredients and include fresh juices, smoothies, and healthy, local fare.
Retreat prices start at $6,000.
2. Earth Awareness Centre, Netherlands
Escape to a Dutch forest dream world an hour outside of Amsterdam for a personal psilocybin overnight retreat with facilitators Mark Huser and Maya van Oosterhout. The couple promise reflection and introspection, as well as a break from everyday life.
The private, expert-guided ceremonies are customized to “align you with your natural state of being,” and offer “long-lasting opportunities for change and inner peace.” According to Huser and van Oosterhout, the covid pandemic has caused “a lot of turmoil” that they say requires new insights. “A psilocybin mushroom ceremony works in a way that you can re-calibrate and attune yourself from within.” Ceremonies include prep and integration.
Accommodations include private lodging in the Nature Temple where the ceremonies are held. Access to the sprawling grounds, plant-based meals, and an off-the-grid nature immersed experience.
Retreat prices start at €1,098.00.
3. Embracing Your Light, Costa Rica and Los Angeles
Promoted for both individuals and couples, Embracing Your Light says its location in Costa Rica is on an energy vortex that creates a “very potent ecosystem for immense life shifts and transformations.” The five-day retreat includes two psilocybin ceremonies, daily integration, two intention tea ceremonies.
According to the center, the ceremonies offer participants a connection with and release of suppressed emotions and the opportunity to make peace with past trauma. It says guests leave with a “refreshed and renewed perception of life.”
Accommodations include private rooms with private bath and shower in the lodge, daily body movement sessions, lake access, and plant-based meals.
Retreat prices start at $5,500.
4. Silo Wellness at the Good Hope Villa, Jamaica
The Good Hope retreat center takes care of all the details from airport to accommodations to the psilocybin ceremonies, and Silo Wellness, a leader in psychedelic therapy and research, takes care of the rest.
Seasoned practitioners facilitate the two ceremonies during the five-day retreat. Ceremonies are held outside “under the stars” at this nature-immersive experience where the lush Jamaican landscape offers its own therapeutic benefits alongside the psilocybin.
The retreat is located in two thousand acres of forest that surround the estate. The property includes a cut stone country villa with en-suite bathrooms in seven bedrooms, a stunning infinity pool, access to private beach, and river. Spa and massage treatments are available, and the property boasts an outdoor movie projector for nighttime gatherings. Plant-based meals are made from fresh, local ingredients and served on the open-air dining terrace. And all guests receive a functional mushroom Marley One tincture set.
Retreat prices start at $3,200.
Looking for more than just psilocybin? Check out our list of other psychedelic retreats around the world.
Related on Ethos: