Magic Mushrooms FAQs

Even many who have used magic mushrooms (or psilocybin) are relatively unaware of their historical context, or the modern use of clinical applications. Magic mushrooms have a rich history, as part of human spiritual practice and psychological well-being.

Unreasonable drug laws and limited research have contributed to misunderstandings and often outright false information, about psilocybin and other psychedelics.

At MycoMeditations, we understand that that joining us on retreat is a serious, conscientious choice for you. We respect that for many, to even consider seeking help is a bold decision. Entrusting your well-being to another individual can make you feel vulnerable.

That being said, we have prepared some common questions and answers below. If you don’t find your answers, please feel free to contact us!

Retreating in Jamaica

As in most places in this world, there are areas of Jamaica that are unsafe, for tourists and locals alike. That being said, however, the vast majority of Jamaica is safe and friendly. You are much more likely to find someone hoping to help you rather than hassle you. The area where our retreats are hosted, Treasure Beach, is a quiet and rural area. In this community everyone knows each other and this helps hold everyone accountable. This is one of the safest parts of Jamaica and we’re confident you will soon feel at home in Treasure Beach.

There are several basic grocery/general stores, pubs and restaurants within walking distance. That said, the brands are limited and not the same as in the US, so if there is something you can’t live without, safer to bring it. There are no typical tourist shops in Treasure Beach. There are often dance parties held locally that are safe and welcome to tourists. A facilitator will be available to walk or join you if requested. If you require vehicle transportation then a driver is available for $10US round trip to most places within the area. If you are interested in other outings or sight seeing, these are available at affordable rates and can be coordinated with Eric or another facilitator.

Yes! All of the beaches are safe for tourists. There are several different beaches in the area. Many are small private bays. Some are more suitable for swimming than others. There are two larger beaches that are around a ten minute walk from our center. These beaches (Calabash Bay and Great Bay) both have small bars on the beach where you can enjoy a Red Stripe, juice or food.

The water is safe, but a little off-taste due to added chlorine. Cold bottled water is available at the retreat site and gallon jugs are available at the local store.

Experiencing Magic Mushrooms

Wild psilocybin when used as a ‘food’ is legal in Jamaica. We use our own locally grown psilocybin mushrooms that have been positively identified by mushroom expert and MycoMeditations founder Eric Osborne. Eric was certified as a wild Mushroom Expert by the State of Indiana in 2011. Research has clearly shown that psilocybin promotes neurogenesis, the growth of new brain cells and can even repair physiological damage to the brain. We confidently assert that psilocybin is brain food. As proven by studies in the U.S., psilocybin reliably potentiates a classic mystical experience. We therefore maintain that our work with psilocybin also constitutes a ‘spiritual food’. Furthermore, under Prime Minister Hugh Shearer, Jamaica opted out of the 1971 UN treaty ‘Convention on Psychotropic Substances’ — this gave Jamaica much more flexibility to design and interpret its drug laws independently.

Psilocybin is not toxic. The response to psilocybin mushrooms is NOT from poisoning. Psilocybin is a serotonin analogue, primarily operating on the 5HT2A receptors. The ‘psychedelic response’ is a result of this chemical interaction with the serotonin system. Psilocybin is less toxic than sugar, caffeine, alcohol or a whole host of commonly consumed additives.

Occasionally participants encounter issues that are difficult for them to address when they work with psilocybin. MycoMeditations guides are experienced with assisting through the typically short duration of these experiences. These are often followed by profound relief. If you have a difficult experience on our retreat, there will always be an experienced facilitator to assist you. Various techniques such as intentional breathing, vocalization or simple encouragement may be employed to help keep you grounded. The accurate information on our website, clear communication prior to joining us in Jamaica, our day to day group conversations along with the safety of our hosting facilities all work to set the stage for you to have the most positive and authentic experience possible. History shows that most retreat participants experience deeply meaningful insights, and many experience substantial relief from various symptoms.

First, let’s change our language around mental health. Psilocybin and any substance that alters perception, can elicit psychological disturbances. An angry drunk is no less threatening than a frightened ‘tripper’. Nothing is without risks. However, risk with psilocybin is extremely low. Individuals with a history of schizophrenia, suicidal behavior and some other mental states are strongly advised against psychedelics at the moment. Please be honest in your application so that we can have full knowledge to make an informed decision regarding if our retreats are right for you.

Fears about psilocybin have several origins. One is reports from the 1960s and ‘70s of “bad trips”. Often the substances taken may not have been psilocybin, the dosages may not have been known, and they were taken in a party atmosphere, often among
strangers.

MycoMeditations offers known quantities of mushrooms selected and approved by a certified mushroom expert, with support before, during and after your session. Psilocybin is much more likely to promote mental and psychological well being rather than the opposite. It can help greatly with depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction, cluster headaches, OCD, and body dysmorphic disorder. It reliably potentiates classical mystical experiences that are deeply healing.

Since potency of psilocybin mushrooms can vary widely from mushroom to mushroom…we dry, mix and encapsulate whole collections to ensure consistency of dosing. From there we base our dosing on body weight, personality type and previous experience with psychedelics. Independent of these guidelines we start dosing low. Typical first doses for our retreat participants are between 1.5 and 3 grams. After observing your initial response and consulting with each individual we alter the dosage accordingly. We have had individuals start at three grams and work their way up to ten. We have had individuals stay at two grams on three separate experiences within the week. We require that you respect our dosage decisions. Your safety is our number one priority.

As we understand this question, people whose faith is dear to them may fear that a psychedelic experience could cause them to doubt the teachings of their particular religion. We have found rather that if one comes to the mushroom with a particular worldview, it is often supported. Consumers may envision, Christ, angels, saints and more. They may also cause us to envision things beyond words that encourage us to look deeper into life and our ‘understanding’ of reality. At MycoMeditations thoughtful curiosity is a good thing. All faiths are welcome at our facility and while we encourage constantly questioning our belief structures, we will not allow disrespectful or intolerant language.

There are too many studies and scientific findings to list here. Please visit our Research page. The consensus is clear: Psilicybin is safe and highly effective when correctly used. In one interesting study 20 divinity students were given either psilocybin or a placebo. When followed up 25 years later fully 100% of the students who received a placebo were no longer working in a spiritual capacity. Of the students who received psilocybin, all were still working in a pastoral or spiritual capacity.

For an in-depth exploration of the short-term and long-term (25 years later) experiences and effects of an experiment where 20 divinity students were given either psilocybin or a placebo, with first-hand testimonials, see:

The Good Friday Experiment Follow-Up
Investigator: Rick Doblin, Ph.D.
Contact: Rick Doblin, PhD
This study, originally published in the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology [1991 Vol 23(1)] is one in a series of long-term follow-ups to early psychedelic research that MAPS has sponsored. The original 1962 Harvard study lead by Walter Pahnke investigated the utility of psilocybin in triggering a mystical experience.

· Doblin R (1991) Pahnke’s “Good Friday Experiment”: A Long-Term Follow-Up and Methodological Critique .J Transpersonal Psychology 23(1).

Bottom line, of the 10 students who received psilocybin, all were still working in a pastoral or spiritual capacity 25 years later, and continued to rate the experience as one of the outstanding of their lives. Of the 10 students who received placebo, none were still working in a pastoral or spiritual capacity 25 years later.

Double-blind controlled studies at Johns Hopkins University have shown that psilocybin occasions personally and spiritually significant mystical experiences that predict long-term changes in behaviors, attitudes and values. Qualitative research has documented sudden and dramatic positive changes in attitudes, values and behaviors following spontaneous mystical or spiritual experiences (Miller, 2004; Paloutzian et al., 1999). Further, correlational research has highlighted a role for spirituality in addiction recovery (Kelly et al., 2011) and in coping with life-threatening illnesses such as cancer (McCoubrie and Davies, 2006), which may account for the potential efficacy of psilocybin in the aforementioned treatment of addictions and cancer related depression and anxiety. In our experience at MycoMeditations, psilocybin has markedly enhanced participants’ spirituality–for example, the experience is often rich in religious archetypes.