Legal psychedelic retreats launching in Jamaica

This post is to let you know about At­man Re­treat, a new, le­gal psychedelic re­treat in Ja­maica. I’m post­ing here be­cause 6 EA-al­igned peo­ple are plan­ning on at­tend­ing our first re­treats (June 5-8 and June 9-12, 2019) so far.

Per­sonal back­ground

Although this is my first post here, I’ve been in­volved in EA in some ca­pac­ity for the past 2-3 years. I’m cur­rently an or­ga­nizer of the EA Toronto group. I’ve spent a lot of time think­ing about psychedelics from an EA per­spec­tive, i.e. as tools for do­ing sig­nifi­cant amounts of good. Last year I gave a pre­sen­ta­tion to EA Toronto about psychedelic re­search as a po­ten­tial cause area for EA.

My cur­rent view is that in­creas­ing ac­cess to high-qual­ity psychedelic ex­pe­riences (par­tic­u­larly for high-im­pact peo­ple) is worth­while. There are var­i­ous ways of do­ing this (drug policy ad­vo­cacy, be­com­ing a psychedelic re­searcher, earn­ing to give to donate to psychedelic re­search). I be­lieve my com­par­a­tive ad­van­tage is en­trepreneur­ship, so I’m work­ing to­wards this goal by found­ing At­man Re­treat.

Pro­ject back­ground

Psilo­cy­bin is the ac­tive in­gre­di­ent in psychedelic (“magic”) mush­rooms. It’s ille­gal in most coun­tries, largely due to the un­just poli­cies of the War on Drugs. In 1971, the Nixon ad­minis­tra­tion en­acted the Con­trol­led Sub­stances Act, mak­ing psilo­cy­bin and other psy­choac­tive sub­stances ille­gal. This was done for ex­plic­itly racist and re­ac­tionary rea­sons, and re­mains the cur­rent drug policy in the US to­day.

Psilo­cy­bin is gen­er­ally safe, well-tol­er­ated, non-toxic, and non-ad­dic­tive. It can pro­duce a range of benefi­cial effects, es­pe­cially when ad­ministered in com­fortable set­tings. A num­ber of promis­ing (but small-n) stud­ies have demon­strated psilo­cy­bin’s effi­cacy in treat­ing de­pres­sion and anx­iety, treat­ment-re­sis­tant de­pres­sion, to­bacco ad­dic­tion, al­co­holism, OCD, and more. High qual­ity psilo­cy­bin re­search is cur­rently be­ing done at Johns Hop­kins, Im­pe­rial Col­lege Lon­don, NYU, Yale, and other in­sti­tu­tions.

Weaker ev­i­dence shows that psychedelic ex­pe­riences pos­i­tively pre­dict liberal and anti-au­thor­i­tar­ian poli­ti­cal views, trait open­ness, and pro-en­vi­ron­men­tal be­havi­our. There’s some ev­i­dence that psychedelic-en­hanced cre­ativity can as­sist in sci­en­tific and tech­ni­cal prob­lem-solv­ing. It also seems plau­si­ble that psychedelic ex­pe­riences can ex­pand peo­ple’s moral cir­cle. There hasn’t been re­search on this yet, but moral cir­cle ex­pan­sion is a plau­si­ble in­ter­pre­ta­tion of cer­tain sub­jec­tive ac­counts of psychedelic ex­pe­riences (par­tic­u­larly the uni­tive mys­ti­cal ex­pe­rience, i.e. the “ego dis­solu­tion” ex­pe­rience).

Psilo­cy­bin mush­rooms are le­gal in Ja­maica (we’ve en­gaged a team of lawyers to con­firm this). We’re hold­ing re­treats where peo­ple can ex­plore psilo­cy­bin safely, legally, and in­ten­tion­ally in a group set­ting. We have a team of 3 ex­pe­rienced fa­cil­i­ta­tors and a beach­front venue in Mon­tego Bay, Ja­maica. Re­treats are 3 nights/​4 days with 12 par­ti­ci­pants, and in­clude one psilo­cy­bin ses­sion, prepa­ra­tion and in­te­gra­tion ac­tivi­ties, med­i­ta­tion, yoga, veg­e­tar­ian/​ve­gan food and more.

Our first re­treats (tak­ing place June 5-8 and June 9-12, 2019) are po­ten­tially of in­ter­est to fo­rum read­ers be­cause sev­eral EA-al­igned folks have already ap­plied for these dates.

[Ad­ding the fol­low­ing based on com­ments:] The cost is $1,695 USD for one par­ti­ci­pant. Some rea­sons an EA-al­igned per­son might want to at­tend:

  • Work on cre­ative prob­lem-solv­ing re­lated to a cause area

  • Gain clar­ity on al­tru­is­tic ca­reer-choice

  • Im­prove men­tal health to in­crease per­sonal capacity

  • Have a psychedelic ex­pe­rience in a group that in­cludes other EAs [end of edit]

Medium to long-term pro­ject plan­s

Psilo­cy­bin will likely be resched­uled as pre­scrip­tion medicine in the US by 2021-23. In the medium-term we plan to mar­ket At­man Re­treat to doc­tors and ther­a­pists who are cu­ri­ous about psychedelics, but haven’t had per­sonal ex­pe­rience with them.

We’ve heard from a few sources that there is strong de­mand for le­gal, high qual­ity psychedelic ex­pe­riences among med­i­cal and men­tal health pro­fes­sion­als, who will be able to pre­scribe or treat pa­tients with psychedelic medicine once it be­comes available. We also plan to col­lab­o­rate with re­searchers to bet­ter un­der­stand psilo­cy­bin’s effects (e.g. by tak­ing part in Im­pe­rial’s Cer­e­mony Study).

We be­lieve in­creas­ing ac­cess to high qual­ity psychedelic ex­pe­riences can be im­pact­ful for im­prov­ing men­tal health, boost­ing per­sonal effi­cacy, per­haps mak­ing peo­ple more al­tru­is­tic, and pro­mot­ing hu­man flour­ish­ing in the long run.

We’re launch­ing our first re­treats in June, and we think this is a great op­por­tu­nity to try psychedelics in a safe, le­gal set­ting, along with other peo­ple who are ex­cited about EA.

Check out the web­site for more info, and let me know if you have any ques­tions!