People are paying $10,000 to trip on magic mushrooms at a retreat in Jamaica. But past struggles with safety and staffing show the difficulty of taking psychedelics mainstream.

  • MycoMeditations is a psychedelic-retreat company in Treasure Beach, Jamaica, that facilitates 10-day trips where attendees take psychedelic, or “magic,” mushrooms.
  • Recent research has suggested that magic mushrooms, which contain the psychedelic compound psilocybin, could help treat depression and anxiety.
  • Some retreat attendees and colleagues of MycoMeditations’ founder, Eric Osborne, said he used marijuana and magic mushrooms while leading retreats. They said they felt that he should have hired experts, like licensed therapists, sooner than he did. Now the retreat has licensed therapists on staff.
  • Psychedelic retreats are a relatively new way for people to experiment with mushrooms, and the criticisms MycoMeditations has faced are indicative of the larger issues in the psychedelics industry.
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  • On a secluded beach in the small fishing village of Treasure Beach, Jamaica, 15 people file into an open-air pavilion and settle down on mats, chairs, and the floor. It’s been a long journey; they flew to Jamaica from the United States and then took a 2-1/2-hour shuttle from the airport to a serene beachfront property.

    A facilitator gives each person a small capsule with a powder containing psilocybin, the drug found in psychedelic, or “magic,” mushrooms. It’s enough for beginners or intermediate users to have a psychedelic trip.

    The participants pop the capsules into their mouths, then sit and wait.

    Twenty minutes pass, then an hour. A woman named Denise begins crying uncontrollably. She can’t stop coughing and starts to feel like she’s choking, when a facilitator approaches her.

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