• Psychedelics - assisted psychotherapy in the

    United Kingdom

    Despite the huge therapeutic potential, psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy is not part of standard medical care yet. Self-medicating with psychedelics can produce undesired results, but despite that, more and more people feel disappointed with the efficacy of the current treatments and they turn to risky, but potentially more beneficial psychedelic-assisted therapy. The goal of this guide is harm reduction for people, who decided to self-medicate, we don’t encourage possession or consumption of illicit substances even for therapeutic endeavours.

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Legal status of psychedelics in the United Kingdom

Fungus (of any kind) commonly known as “Magic mushrooms”, fresh or dried containing psychoactive substance psilocin or an ester of psilocin is a class A drug. Possession, supply, import, export and cultivation is a criminal offence, so it is prohibited. Possession carries a penalty of up to 7 years in jail, an unlimited fine, or both. Supplying is punishable by up to life in jail, an unlimited fine, or both.

Mushroom spores are not psychoactive and are therefore legal.

In four cases, the possession of magic mushrooms is exempted under the Drugs Legislation of 2001:

  1. An uncultivated area where magic mushrooms can be found. This means that people who have magic mushrooms growing wild on their property will not be breaking the law by possessing them in this manner. (However, if such individuals plan to supply those magical mushrooms, they will be charged with possession with the intent to supply controlled substances.)
  2. Where the magic mushrooms are picked by a person, who possesses them lawfully, in order to deliver them as soon as is reasonably practicable into the custody of a person lawfully entitled to take custody of them and they remain in that person’s possession for and in accordance with that objective. This ensures that landowners can pick magic mushrooms growing on their land for the purpose of delivery and, so long as they hold the mushrooms for and in accordance with that purpose, will not be acting unlawfully.
  3. Where the magic mushrooms are picked in order to either destroy them as soon as is reasonably practicable (purpose of destruction) or deliver them as soon as is reasonably practicable to a person lawfully entitled to take custody of them (purpose of delivery) and then held for the purpose of destruction, whether by the person who picked them or by another person.
  4. Where the magic mushrooms are picked in order to destroy them as soon as is reasonably practicable (purpose of destruction) and then held, whether by the person who picked them or by another person, for the purpose of delivering them as soon as is reasonably practicable to a person lawfully entitled to take custody of them (purpose of delivery).
The safest way to obtain psychedelics in the United Kingdom

Mushroom spores are not psychoactive and are therefore legal. Grow kits without the spores can legally be bought over the internet or in shops.

Read the harm reduction guidelines before considering purchasing illicit substances online.

Harm reduction

Other medication

Many people who want to try magic mushrooms are still on medication and want to know if it’s possible to mix their medication with psychedelics. While psilocybin has been shown to effectively treat depression and a variety of other mental health conditions, some antidepressant drugs can interact with the substance in a dangerous or undesirable way.

Interactions between Psilocybin and other medication

Antidepressant drugs may block the therapeutic effects of Psilocybin. If you are on antidepressants, you need to ask your health provider to help you stop taking them before considering psychedelics. SSRIs function by preventing excess serotonin from being cleared from the brain, resulting in a temporary increase in serotonin levels. Although it has been hypothesized that this may contribute to serotonin syndrome in extreme situations, such risks can be reduced with appropriate guidance and medical supervision.  Most common SSRIs are:

  • Citalopram (Celexa, Cipramil)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro, Cipralex)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem)
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox, Faverin)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil, Seroxat)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft, Lustral)

Health conditions that psilocybin may worsen

At first, the findings revealed that people who had used psychedelic drugs were more likely to have mental health issues. However, the researchers took into account a variety of variables that may have influenced the findings, including the participants’ age, gender, and their experience with any highly stressful life event, all of which may influence the likelihood of mental health problems. When those factors were taken into account, the researchers found that people who had used psychedelics were no more likely to develop mental health problems than those who hadn’t used the drugs.

However, it’s not advisable to use psychedelics if you or your family members had psychotic symptoms.

Dosage
Mushrooms in non-clinical settings are typically eaten orally, either as dried caps and stems or steeped in hot water and drunk as a tea, with a typical dose of 1-2.5 grams, though potency varies depending on the volume. Fresh mushrooms are usually less active than dried mushrooms. There is virtually no chance of accidental deadly overdose with psilocybin mushrooms.

Johns Hopkins study found Psilocybin dosage sweet spot for positive and lasting effects

Researchers found that as higher doses of chemically pure psilocybin were administered, the recorded positive effects increased, but there was also a sharp rise in the negative effects at the very highest dose, which was perhaps unsurprising. At the maximum dose (30 mg/70 kg, p.o. – meaning “per oral” or “by mouth”), 78 percent of the volunteers recorded one of the top five most spiritually important events of their lives, but those experiencing anxiety, stress, and fear episodes increased sixfold, resulting in about a third of those in the study showing signs of psychological distress.

By contrast, only one of the volunteers receiving the second-highest dose (20mg/70 kg, p.o.) reported having negative issues, and all benefited from positive experiences, although with less intensity than at the highest dose. Critically, even the lowest amount used in the study resulted in notable and long-lasting positive changes in the attitudes, behavior, overall satisfaction and spiritual beliefs of the subjects during the period of study. These changes were also noticed by family members and friends.

Psilocybe cubensis

The concentrations of psilocin and psilocybin, as determined by high-performance liquid chromatography, are in the range of 0.14–0.42% and 0.37–1.30% (dry weight) in the whole mushroom, 0.17–0.78%, and 0.44–1.35% in the cap, and 0.09 and 0.30%/0.05–1.27% in the stem, respectively.

Psychedelics-assisted psychotherapy in the United Kingdom