Psychedelic Schools for ‘Shamans’ Are Popping Up Like Mushrooms

Psychedelic Schools for ‘Shamans’ Are Popping Up Like Mushrooms
Psychedelic Schools for ‘Shamans’ Are Popping Up Like Mushrooms
Gymnopilus junonius by Bernard Spragg. NZ is licensed under CC0 1.0

Even before Oregon and Washington, D.C., decriminalized medical psilocybin, the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms,” in November, a market was emerging for schools that teach mental and medical health professionals how to use psychedelics in their treatment. The vanguard industry is booming despite a host of regulatory unknowns, as practitioners educate themselves on the therapeutic potential of psilocybin—and other drugs such as cannabis and methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)—while betting on imminent federal legalization.

There are dozens of these schools, including the California Institute of Integral Studies, which offers a certificate in psychedelic-assisted therapies and research. Naropa, a Buddhist university in Boulder, Colo., began offering a course in MDMA-assisted psychotherapy last year. Compass Pathways Plc, which received a “breakthrough therapy” designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, also offers a core training curriculum.

These virtual and in-person courses can range in length, from several weeks to months, and cost several hundred dollars or thousands, with some companies developing their own proprietary and trademarked programs. The classes have names like “Foundations in MDMA and Psilocybin Safety” and “Psychedelics and Social Justice,” and some schools offer retreats featuring flotation tanks, sweat lodges, and holotropic breathwork sessions.
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