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Legal Psychedelics

5 mrt 2020
10 min
Hunter Burroughs
Hunter Burroughs

Psychedelics of all sorts are often considered dangerous by the general public – and indeed, they frequently come with uncomfortable to severe side effects. For this reason, many countries have banned some of the most well-known psychedelics. However, there are some substances found in nature that are legal in most places. The psychedelic chemicals in these substances are usually naturally occurring Mescaline, DMT, LSA, or psilocybin.

The plants are usually available for retail for uses other than producing a psychedelic trip and therefore remain on the market. Note, however, that the legality of some of these substances is a bit of a grey area. Also, while some are widely available for purchase, the reason they are not restricted is either because the method of using the substance to induce the high is prohibitively ridiculous or the resulting high is so uncomfortable or unhealthy that it just isn't worth it. The substances on this list either come with restrictions or normally have enough negative effects that the government does not feel it is worthwhile to ban them, so proceed with caution.


it’s all about the mix

Ayahuasca is a drink made of the Banistriopsis Caapi and Psychotria Viridis, plants found in the Amazon and harvested by the South American peoples that invented the drink. The exact recipe for Ayahuasca varies in ingredient amounts and even in types of plants. However, the base of Ayahuasca is always Psychotria Viridis, which contains DMT. However, simply ingesting the plant does not work on its own. In order to activate the DMT, the Psychotria Viridis must be brewed with a plant that contains an MAO inhibitor like Banistriopsis caapi. This is because when Psychotria Viridis is ingested by itself, visceral monoamine oxidase, or MAO, breaks down DMT before it can act on the body. By adding Banistriopsis caapi, an MAO inhibitor is introduced, which prevents the MAO from degrading the DMT.

The people who traditionally brewed Ayahuasca in South America believed that they received vital information from the plants when they were ingested, and used it as a medicine. People in America today still believe in Ayahuasca's medicinal properties, and several congregations have popped up that take Ayahuasca together as part of a ritual to gain enlightenment. People claim Ayahuasca highs have given them insight, inner peace, and wisdom. This is likely because the drug elevates an individual's serotonin reuptake transporters. This is also how some antidepressants work, which is why anyone taking antidepressants should not try Ayahuasca. High amounts of serotonin have been associated with schizophrenia, and people who use Ayahuasca have experienced psychotic breaks. Lots of people also report highly uncomfortable highs, even experiencing their own deaths. Also, anyone who takes the drug almost always experiences nausea and vomiting. Ayahuasca devotees call this purging and claim it is part of the healing process.

DMT, the active psychedelic ingredient in Ayahuasca, is illegal in most countries, and so is the extraction of DMT from a substance. However, Banistriopsis caapi and Psychotria Viridis are not illegal and can be found relatively abundantly in Hawaii and South America. Therefore, it is entirely possible to obtain Ayahuasca in most places, but it is still technically illegal to use it as a drug. Also, though many people swear by its spiritually enhancing high, the high is usually uncomfortable and can do lasting harm. So, while most legal, Ayahuasca should still be used with extreme caution.


just sniff it

Yopo is a flowering tree that grows in South America and the Caribbean. It is also known as "Anadenanthera peregrina." The psychedelic chemical in Yopo is DMT, just like in Ayahuasca. The beans of the plant can be consumed as-is, but the resulting trip will be very mild. Traditionally, the beans are ground up and treated with lime or other plants to activate the DMT, and these days lime powder is normally used. Water is added to the powder, and it is kneaded into a dough. Then, it is dried over very low heat and re-ground into powder. It is then inhaled through the nose. This can be done similarly to other snuff powders; however, it will lead to intense burning in the nostrils. Some people use the drug in a group setting and avoid the pain by blowing the Yopo into each other's noses with a pipe.

sniff some more

The resulting trip is usually characterized as uncomfortable but enlightening. Users will experience brightly colored visions and realistic hallucinations. People normally fall into a sort of stupor that lasts about 45 minutes. Similarly, to Ayahuasca, people often get beautiful visions, troubling insights, and experience discomfort during the high but emerge feeling more peaceful. The drug also causes nausea and vomiting at the start of the trip.

Like with Ayahuasca, possessing the Yopo plant is not illegal in most countries. However, DMT is a controlled substance, and extracting it from the tree is illegal. Keep this in mind before you decide to make Yopo bark into snuff.

Hawaiian Baby Woodrose

a long-lasting high

Hawaiian Baby Woodrose is originally native to India, but humans have caused it to spread to Hawaii, the Caribbean, and parts of Africa. Its psychedelic ingredient is LSA. LSA is the naturally occurring precursor to LSD. While LSA and LSD are similar in chemical structure, LSA normally produces a milder, more focused high.

Hawaiian Baby Woodrose is consumed by either chewing three to four seeds or by brewing them into a tea. The subsequent high normally last for up to eight hours, but the peaceful afterglow could last for up to twelve more hours. While high, users normally experience colorful visuals, visual and auditory hallucinations, a distorted sense of time and space, euphoria, and fatigue. Nausea and vomiting are common side effects, which is why it is better to take Hawaiian Baby Woodrose on an empty stomach. Also, users have experienced psychological breaks after using too much of the drug.

Like DMT, LSA is a restricted substance, and its extraction is illegal in most places. However, Hawaiian Baby Woodrose is commercially available in most countries for its ornamental value, so it is easy to obtain. However, keep in mind that the chemical content of the seeds is not uniform, and it is impossible to tell how good seeds are without toxicological technology. Some seeds could have a higher toxicity than others and could cause complications.

Mimosa Hostilis

bottoms up

Mimosa Hostilis, or Jurema, is a tree that grows South America, from Brazil to Mexico. Like Ayahuasca and Yopo, Jurema contains DMT, which is found in its leaves, bark, and roots. It also needs to be combined with a plant that has an MAO inhibitor to activate the DMT.

Mimosa Hostilis is usually prepared as a drink similar to Ayahuasca. Traditionally, the root or bark is shaved, and the shavings are boiled in water for hours until the mixture is thick and dark-colored. The drink was used by peoples in Brazil to treat inflammation and a few other illnesses, and well as to promote spiritual exploration.

Jurema trips are similar to trips on other plants that contain DMT. Users often experience bright visuals, complex auditory and visual hallucinations, and spiritual revelations. Those who take Jurema while taking other substances or while emotionally unstable may experience uncomfortable and frightening trips, sometimes believing they are being pursued but being unable to move.

Like the plants mentioned earlier, Mimosa Hostilis is not illegal in most countries, but extracting DMT from it still is. For this reason and because Jurema has the potential to cause a bad trip, the drug should be used with caution.

Mescaline Cacti

drink with caution

The most well-known plant of the mescaline cacti is Peyote, but there are several other cacti that produce psychedelic effects, including the San Pedro Cactus. Mescaline is the active psychedelic ingredient in these cacti, and they are considered sacred to many of the native peoples of North America. How To ingest the Mescaline in the cactus?. Small protrusions called "buttons" are cut from the root and dried then either chewed or soaked in water and drunk. They can also be ground into a powder and smoked with tobacco.

Mescaline tends to cause highs that include vivid hallucinations, synesthesia, an altered perception of space and time, heightened senses, distorted weight perceptions, and exhilaration. Mescaline is also capable of producing anxiety, confusion, panic, depression, and disturbing hallucinations.

Physically, Mescaline usually increases tension, causing muscle twitches, increased heart rate, increased body temperature, nausea, chills, and heightened reflexes. Highs begin one to two hours after ingestion and end ten to twelve hours later.

Chemically, Mescaline is most similar to drugs like ecstasy. It is illegal most places, but usually, the cacti containing Mescaline are legal to possess. Still, consumption of mescaline cacti is normally illegal unless the user is a member of a recognized native tribe for whom the cacti are sacred and are used during rituals. Because the legality of Peyote and similar drugs is fuzzy, and because they can produce bad trips, it is best to tread lightly while using them.

Morning Glory

the longest high

Morning Glory is the name used for several related species of flowers grown all over the world. The psychoactive component in Morning Glory is LSA. It was used by ancient peoples like the Egyptians for physical and spiritual healing. Morning Glory is taken by ingesting the seeds. A good starting dose is 25, but most users take 100 to 400 to induce a satisfying trip. The trip can take effect in as little as an hour to start if the seeds are taken on an empty stomach but can take several hours until it reaches the full effect. Once the trip starts, it will usually last for six to ten hours.

Morning Glories are commonly grown for ornamental purposes and are therefore widely commercially available, but of course, LSA is still a restricted substance. Also, like with other LSA-based drugs, Morning Glory seeds should not be ingested while on an antidepressant because of the danger when combining LSA with the MAOI normally found in antidepressants.


in your kitchen?

Nutmeg, the spice found in most pantries, is actually capable of producing intense psychedelic highs. The psychedelic compound in Nutmeg is Myristicin, the precursor to MMDA. Speculation suggests there are probably other psychedelic compounds in the spice as well.

In small doses, Nutmeg has no effect. The psychedelic effect is only present after ingesting one to three teaspoons. After 30 minutes or so, users often experience nausea, vomiting, or
. After a few hours, users might experience heart and nerve problems. The psychedelic effects don't take hold for seven to eight hours, causing some people to take more before their initial dose kicks in, a behavior that could lead to an overdose. The user will then experience visual and auditory hallucinations that can last as long as 30 hours.

Nutmeg is widely available because, according to the FDA, the side effects of the spice are so bad that there is not much danger of it being rampantly abused. The spice can cause gastronomical distress and bad trips, not to mention the fact that trying to swallow three tablespoons of the potent powder is usually highly uncomfortable. Some users claim that when a teaspoon of Nutmeg is added to a tea with cloves and cinnamon, the negative side effects are reduced, but there is no hard evidence. Also, this is another drug that should not be taken while on antidepressants.


the shorter high

Salvia is a plant that originally grew in forests in Mexico. It is one of the strongest natural psychedelics. The psychoactive ingredient in Salvia is salvinorin and is found mostly in the plant's leaves. Salvia can be ingested as a tea or smoked. The high produced by Salvia is much shorter-lived than most of the drugs discussed previously.

The psychoactivity begins about a minute after ingestion and only lasts for about 30 minutes. During the high, users usually experience vivid hallucinations, synesthesia, mood swings, sweating, and dissociation.

Due in part to the potency, Salvia is illegal in some places, including most of the United States. It is legal in France, the U.K., Portugal, and the Netherlands.

Colorado River Toad

toxic high

Though the drugs mentioned above are all plants with naturally occurring psychoactive properties, the Colorado River Toad belongs on this list because it does produce a psychedelic drug naturally and it is technically legal. The toad, also known as the Sonoran desert toad, lives in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and parts of Mexico. It has the ability to secrete poison as a defense mechanism to ward off predators, and this poison happens to contain bufotenine, which produces psychoactive effects.

The Colorado River Toad excretes poison from its glands, which can be milked for recreational use. Since the substance is a poison, it can not simply be eaten, so it is normally smoked. The resulting high begins in just a few seconds and incapacitates the user for twenty to thirty minutes while the high takes effect. People report feeling a strange awareness, a sensation of oneness with the world, and peace, but most have trouble putting the experience in words. Time and space appear distorted, and auditory and visual hallucinations are common. The drug appears to work similarly to psilocybin, and like shroom users, people with depression and anxiety often report improved symptoms after their trip.

Bufotenine is a controlled substance, and its extraction is illegal. However, possession of the toad has not been made illegal for several reasons. First, to milk the drug from it, the toad must be found and captured, which is often difficult. Then, the poison must be turned into a smokable substance for the user to avoid its toxic effects. Overall, instances of people using the toad to induce a high are so few and far between that the FDA does not believe it is worthwhile to try and prosecute toad hunters.

Magic Truffles

underground high

Magic truffles are similar to magic mushrooms, but they are a different part of the same fungus. Truffles grow underground, look different, and taste different than shrooms. They are also easier to dose accurately because of the uniform distribution of psilocybin. The active compound in truffles is psilocybin. The first magic truffle was harvested in Florida, but now few grow in the wild. Magic truffles are grown almost exclusively by retailers, botanists, and hobbyists.

Psilocybin trips last from four to six hours and include visions, unusual thoughts, and spiritual experiences. The trip is said to be similar to, but milder than, an LSD trip. Users report comfortable, interesting highs, and few bad trips overall. The FDA recently concluded that psilocybin might actually be a viable treatment for depression, especially when other treatments fail.  However, research is still in its early stages.

Truffles are not legal everywhere. They are actually illegal in most countries except for the Netherlands. However, some places have moved to decriminalize truffles, and legalization might not be far behind.

Ultimately, none of the substances listed above are completely safe and legal methods of getting high. Most of them are restricted substances, and the extraction of their psychoactive compounds is prohibited. For the more widely available drugs, the reason they are so easy to obtain is usually that the high or the side effects are so uncomfortable that few people use them, and they are not worth banning. Therefore, be careful trying any of the substances listed above. Do your research to ensure you are not breaking the laws where you live,  and ensure you are in a healthy space physically and emotionally before trying any of these substances.