Where can you get psychedelic therapy in Europe?
We are in the midst of a mental health crisis, and we urgently require better, more effective treatments. Psilocybin, DMT, LSD, MDMA, and ketamine are examples of psychedelic compounds that have shown promise as prospective treatments for a variety of mental health conditions, including treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, trauma, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, because most of these psychedelics are banned, converting them into medicines is a time-consuming and costly procedure.
While everyone in the United States claims that psychedelics were banned in the 1970s, this is not the case in Germany. The last psilocybin research was done at the University of Cologne in the late 1990s. At the University of Göttingen, hundreds of individuals were treated for a variety of diseases, making Germany a leading, if not the leading, center for psilocybin research. Some of the knowledge was lost when the researchers of the past generation retired. The first new German psilocybin study is being funded by the German government. The second one is funded by London – based biotech company Compass Pathways.
A historic Swiss city might not seem like the best spot to start a psychedelic revolution. After all, Switzerland is a country known for its discreet banking and on-time trains. Basel now has more museums per capita than any other European city. It’s a city, where education, research, and culture have always been part of the local fabric.
Switzerland is a pioneer in modern LSD research, particularly at Basel’s University Hospital, where Matthias Liechti’s psychedelic study is demonstrating LSD’s potential to soothe terrible emotions associated with PTSD. On his way home from his Basel-based lab almost 80 years ago, Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann had the world’s first full-blown LSD trip.
Switzerland legalized psychedelic drug therapy in 1988. The right to prescribe MDMA or LSD to their patients was provided to five psychiatrists and psychotherapists. It was a huge deal at the time, and even the therapists involved were taken aback. Dr. Peter Gasser, speaking over the phone from his office in Switzerland, stated, “It was quite startling for everyone.” In 1988, Dr. Gasser was a therapist in training who watched some of the sessions. “After that, I believe no one knew why they were given such permission. It was completely unrestricted; they could do whatever they wanted.”
It all appeared too good to be true—which, of course, it was. In 1993, the government terminated the initiative.
Dr. Gasser was tasked with assessing the results from this brief period of legality. He accumulated over a hundred case histories, but no control groups were used because everyone who was licensed to prescribe psychedelics was a private therapist, not a scientist. He called the lack of scientific rigor a “mistake,” but said the majority of patients were satisfied with the treatment, and that there were no serious occurrences or hospitalizations.
Psychedelic research has been associated with the Czech Republic since the early nineteenth century, and it has just reawakened after a lengthy period of involuntary hibernation to pursue its origins and evolution. The discovery of psychedelics by Western science in the twentieth century generated a wave of significant research, mostly because of their promise in the treatment of psychiatric diseases. The Czech Republic was one of the epicenters of psychedelic research at the time. Purkyn undertook and documented the first self-experiments with psychotropic chemicals in the early nineteenth century, including deadly nightshade, nutmeg, opium, and other compounds. In 1947, psychiatrist Svtozar Nevole released a book about his experiences with peyote and its power to expand consciousness, which influenced many other Czech doctors, notably Stanislav Grof – founder of transpersonal psychology.
The idea of Gedogen explains the peculiar character of Dutch policies. The term refers to the practice of enforcing laws in a discriminating manner. Gedogen is a regulatory mechanism that combines organized tolerance and targeted repression. Only those illegalities that are believed to be the source of social issues are prosecuted, therefore the psychedelic scene in the Netherlands is impressive and vibrant. Actually, it is the only country in Europe, where you can receive legal psychedelic therapy outside the clinical setting.
Ayahuasca in Spain is not considered illegal. Despite the fact that it has been mentioned in 26 court proceedings since 2007, there have been no convictions for public health violations related to its sale or use.