Once, not so long ago, the prospect of jetting off to the Caribbean to spend a few days ingesting magic mushrooms would have been deemed vice tourism, and might have raised a few eyebrows. Now, the focus has shifted to wellness. Psychedelic retreats are gaining popularity among those who want to unwind and explore the inner self, and according to studies are having some success in reducing levels of stress, depression, and anxiety, and in healing mental trauma.
Psychedelic retreats provide healing procedures and counselling along with supportive guidance from experts in a safe environment. Guests learn the process of preparing the body and mind for the psychedelic experience. These retreats encourage guests to share thoughts and emotions in a group setting, helping to shape new understandings of the inner self.
There are many different kinds of psychedelic retreats, revolving around substances such as ayahuasca, psilocybin (magic mushrooms), and iboga. Companies provide skilled doctors and guides on set in case of emergency. Doses are matched to the intentions, preferences, and experiences of guests.
Jamaica and Psilocybin Retreats
One of the few countries in the world where psilocybin mushrooms are legal. The government in Jamaica has not banned psychedelic drugs officially.
MycoMeditations is a legal psychedelic retreat company founded by Eric Osborne and located in Treasure Beach, Jamaica which is a three-hour drive from Montego Bay airport. This company offers seven-night stay for 12-16 people at a time and three levels of retreats.
The experience includes three psilocybin-assisted therapy sessions, luxury accommodations with food and drink, and massage sessions at a local spa or wellness center. However, the cost of magic mushrooms is not included in the package.
According to their website, guests are prepped for their first trip with educational lectures on the historical and modern use of psilocybin mushrooms. These mushrooms – a blend of psilocybe cubensis and psilocybe mexicana – are dried, ground, blended and encapsulated into 0.5-gram increments. The dose starts at 2-5 grams, provided as a capsule, with the intensity increasing through the week. Sessions are held either in a lush private property yard or a covered pavilion.
The week starts by setting the intention. After each trip, the group discusses their experience and shares their insights. Guests come to treat anxiety, depression, addiction, grief or physical pain.
Atman Retreat, founded by Aaron Nesmith-Beck and located on the shores of the Montego Bay Lagoon, a 20-30-minute drive from the Montego Bay airport. The four-day retreat, launched in 2019, can house twelve people at a time. This experience includes one psilocybin session on the second day of the retreat. The size of the dose is determined based on weight, experience and intentions, but generally, it ranges from 3-5 grams of dried mushrooms.
The retreat offers private and shared accommodations, and packages start from $1700. It also provides low-income tickets that are priced at $395 and are meant for people with limited finances.
The Bahamas and Iboga Retreats
Ibogaine is a naturally occurring compound found in the African shrub Tabernanthe iboga. It was historically used as a medicinal and ceremonial agent in indigenous cultures in West Central Africa. It is believed to have the ability to reduce withdrawal from opiates and temporarily eliminate cravings. Doses of iboga range between 5-100 grams depending on what is being treated.
Crossroads Treatment Center is one of the first ibogaine addiction facilities, founded by Dr. Martin Polanco. This center provides counselling programs to treat alcohol, heroin, methamphetamine, and other addictions. The treatment building is located next to the hospital. Before treatment, patients are screened and talked through a list of medications that can interact with ibogaine. The center has some exclusionary policies regarding which patients can enter the treatment, such as age (people over 60), diabetics, and people with obesity and high sugar levels. The center is unique in offering an optional 5-MeO-DMT session after the ibogaine treatment. According to Polanco, the two substances work synergistically. When patients start using ibogaine they feel overwhelmed, and 5-MeO-DMT helps to deal with those concerns and difficult emotions.