Six Things to Know about Psychedelics
Curiosity about psychedelics is on the rise, as studies on the positive impact of Plant Medicine ceremonies on well-being and mental health make headlines in mainstream media outlets. Even fashion designers like Bella Hadid and Brent Neale are taking their cues from the world of psychedelics! Here are six important things to know about psychedelics, if you’re interested in introducing them into your own life.
1. Psychedelics must be used safely.
Approaching psychedelics responsibly and legally is paramount. At Dimensions, we are diligent about following the research and providing medical oversight and supervision by trained and accredited professionals to ensure you have a safe, guided and positive experience. We draw on modern neuroscience and the ancient wisdom underpinning Indigenous practices and rituals, to provide a safe and carefully monitored experience.
The process begins when we conduct physical and mental assessments before your stay, to ensure your readiness. Later, at your Dimensions retreat, we help you prepare your mind and body for your Plant Medicine Ceremony, through holistic and complementary practices such as meditation, yoga, breathwork and massage. Finally, we do focused integration work after your retreat has concluded, to support your long-term healing and well-being.
2. Not all psychedelics are the same.
Psychedelics stimulate a hallucinogenic response. They include natural, plant-based substances such as psilocybin (mushrooms), cannabis and mescaline (cacti), as well as synthetic compounds such as ketamine or lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).
All psychedelics can temporarily alter consciousness by inducing visual, auditory and psychological sensations and changes. (These changes are activated by the interaction of the psychedelic with your 2A serotonin receptors, the proteins in your central and peripheral nervous systems that channel neurotransmissions and carry messages to your brain and body.) But the biochemistry of each psychedelic is unique in terms of the location and functions it affects within the brain.
At Dimensions, we use natural psychedelics, following the example of Indigenous peoples.
3. Cannabis sativa has psychedelic properties
Legal in Canada, cannabis has the potential to elicit psychedelic experiences. The sativa strain is a sacred medicinal tool that can help people turn inward, release traumas, heal from physical and mental pain, and reframe their mindset, all while retaining a sense of presence and agency.
When used in Plant Medicine Ceremonies, cannabis activates powerful imagery, synesthesia and intuition. Those who have experienced a cannabis-assisted psychedelic ceremony report feeling more deeply connected to nature and the sacred, and to other people and living creatures.
4. Psychedelic experiences share similarities with spiritual experiences.
Plant Ceremonies have been a sacred ritual in ancient cultures for millennia. Take psilocybin: Studies show that when people use this fungi-based psychedelic, their brainwave patterns are similar to those measured during meditation, prayer or other peak religious and spiritual experiences.
People who have experienced psychedelic-assisted therapies or guided psychedelic ceremonies often consider them some of the most meaningful and transformative experiences of their lives.
5. Indigenous Peoples have used psychedelics throughout history.
Psychedelic compounds such as psilocybin have long been an integral part of Indigenous cultures. Early translations from Aztec languages refer to divine mushrooms (with linguistic similarities to words for “God” or “deity”). Other translations refer to the “flesh of the Gods.” In North America, the central belief of many First Nations cultures is that the universe was made by a Creator, and that living in harmony with nature and sharing an interconnectedness with the natural world is the most important aspect of life.
Throughout history and continuing today, Indigenous communities have used mushrooms in ceremonial ways. These Ceremonies connect them to the land and, through the psychedelic properties of the fungi, are used to access spiritual realms and greater wisdom.
6. Psychedelic-assisted therapy has proven results.
Modern medical professionals are turning to psychedelics in increasing numbers as many thoughtful, academic, peer-reviewed studies of patient outcomes indicate psychedelics are effective in treating depression, anxiety, PTSD and end-of-life distress, even where other therapies have yielded no positive outcomes.
An ideal candidate for psychedelic-assisted therapy is anyone interested in rewiring their nervous system to operate in more calm and optimal ways, rather than responding to daily life in fight-flight-or-freeze mode. From trauma resolution to pain-and-anxiety management to end-of-life care, psychedelic-assisted therapy and guided ceremonial experiences can have life-changing benefits.