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Psychedelic retreats are seeing spikes in interest these days.

As substances like MDMA, ketamine and psilocybin (“magic mushrooms”) become a more mainstream form of therapy for many people, one Vancouver, Canada-based psilocybin retreat is reporting an uptick in public awareness — noting a 183% spike in bookings year over year.

The Journeymen Collective retreat is run by Canadian natives Gary Logan and Robert Grover, who wanted to share the benefits of psilocybin for overall wellness.

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Rising interest in The Journeymen Collective has led the founders to believe that psilocybin therapies are becoming “more palatable for a lot of people,” the duo told Fox News Digital. 

“People are seeing that some of the myths that have been put forward in the past — that you’re going to lose your mind, or you’re going to lose control — are completely untrue,” Grover said. 

Grover added, “You’re going to find your mind.”

There are, however, legal realities and medical cautions to consider.

Legal status

Psychedelics are categorized as Schedule I drugs in the U.S. and are illegal in Canada — which can make people hesitant to take part in retreats, Grover said.

The Journeymen Collective, for its part, focuses on preparing people to “step into” this therapy and “integrate what they’re learning,” he said.

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“It’s like the start of the marijuana trend that happened here in Canada,” Logan said. “People are getting exposed to it. We just want to know that the exposure they’re getting is [educated].”

Logan noted that authorities have “bigger fish to fry” when it comes to chasing down lawbreakers. 

psylocibin pottery

He also said, “It’s a mushroom that grows in the forest.”

Fox News Digital reached out to the Vancouver Police Department for comment on the legal status of psilocybin, but did not receive a reply.

‘Forced to confront fear’

Welcoming high-profile businesspeople to its retreats, The Journeymen Collective says it focuses on helping clients become “more efficient” and better “optimize” their work and life.

Derek Delost, a Vancouver-based CEO of the graphic design company DotYeti, said he sought the treatment because he felt “burnt out” and unfulfilled at work, plus was unclear about his life’s direction.

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“I think plant medicines are a really powerful tool on so many different levels, and to have their perspective and guidance in terms of how it relates to your work and career … was a fantastic offering,” he told Fox News Digital.

TJC client in room

Delost said the retreat helped him pinpoint a “clear vision” for his future.

“As soon as I had that vision, things just fell into place,” he said. “I was clear on what my next steps were, and opportunities started flowing.”

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Delost claimed the psilocybin portion of the program was a big part of his positive outcome.

With the psychedelic experience, he said, he was “forced to confront some level of fear and push through that and let go of control.”

TJC food

He added, “It wasn’t an overnight process, but over a number of months, I got to where I am today, which is super happy, super fulfilled … I just really feel in sync with what I’m supposed to be doing.”

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The CEO cautioned, however, that plant medicines are not a fix-all “silver bullet.”

“You still have to prepare for things, do the discoveries, do the work, do the reflection and integrate the lessons,” he said. (Clients must undergo a four-week preparation period to get ready for their psilocybin journey.)

Excursions on the rise

Some industry experts say the emergence of psychedelic retreats and therapies has made the treatment more mainstream, despite the stigma associated with drugs.

National Geographic’s annual Best of the World travel list mentioned some of the top wellness locations to visit in 2024 — including a psilocybin sound bath and wellness offering at Jamaica’s Rockhouse Hotel.

rockhouse hotel

Kevin Bourke, founder of Jamaica-based psilocybin treats company Patoo, partners with Rockhouse to offer its psychedelic experience.

Bourke discussed Rockhouse’s weekly psilocybin sound bath, a “two-hour wellness journey that incorporates the healing powers of plant medicine with breath work and sound therapy,” he told Fox News Digital.

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The session also includes an optional microdose of Patoo chocolate, which contains psilocybin. “It’s designed to create a slightly altered state of consciousness that works in harmony to enhance the immersive live sound bath,” said Bourke.

Interest in the Rockhouse experience is “at a new high,” he noted.

rochkouse hotel yoga

“As travelers seek experiences that enhance wellness and connect mind and body in new ways, we’ve seen the offering growing in popularity,” Bourke said.

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Jamaica is one of the few countries in which psilocybin is legal, so Bourke said this gives Rockhouse a leg up in its offering.

Medical warnings and risks

Ryan Moss, chief science officer at Filament Health, a clinical-stage natural psychedelic drug development company in Canada, emphasized that psychedelics need to be administered in a safe setting when treating mental health conditions.

“Psychedelic experiences can sometimes feature anxiety, hallucinations and paranoia,” Moss told Fox News Digital. Also, “some patients using traditional psychedelics have reported experiencing adverse cardiovascular events during clinical trials.”

Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, recently interviewed two of the country’s top researchers on psychedelics: Dr. Rachel Yehuda, founder and director of the Center for Psychedelic Psychotherapy and Trauma Research at Mt. Sinai in New York, and Dr. Charles Marmar, director of the PTSD research program at NYU Langone.

TJC's vancouver landscape

“They agree there is therapeutic potential if very carefully studied under very strict medical guidance — but there is a huge downside in terms of unregulated recreational uses,” Siegel told Fox News Digital.

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Yehuda said part of the effect could be from the out-of-body hallucinatory experience, while Marmar said the benefit is purely pharmacological and that the same impact can be gained without the high, Siegel relayed.

“Both doctors see likely therapeutic value to psychedelics if carefully managed by medical experts,” Siegel added.

psychedelic retreat split

Importance of ‘full vetting’

Gia Kubik, a Reiki healer and spiritual coach in Las Vegas, said she has worked with various psychedelic substances with her own clients. These medicines have the power to “shut off default mode” in the brain, she told Fox News Digital.

“The part of the brain that’s doing all the thinking, the judging — when this is shut off, you have the ability to really see beyond the veil,” she said.

“You’re able to get a wider lens of what exists in this universe.”

“And by opening up the capacity of the mind and expanding consciousness, you’re able to get a wider lens of what exists in this universe.”

Kubik said substances like MDMA have been shown to help people overcome disorders like PTSD by “expanding” their vision of reality.

The healer suggested the most important part of interacting with psychedelic medicine is “fully vetting” the facilitator or shaman to ensure safety.

gia kubik

“By allowing us to at least access it legally, so people aren’t sneaking around … we can eliminate that barrier,” she said.

“We can open up the frequency and make it accessible … and allow people to have better and more profound experiences.”

A variety of studies published at the National Institutes of Health show potentially positive benefits with minimal safety concerns for psilocybin use in the treatment of suicidality, anxiety disorders and OCD, as well as alcohol and tobacco use disorder.

Psilocybin can induce hallucinations, which could lead to panic reactions and psychotic episodes in some individuals. 

However, psilocybin can induce hallucinations — which could lead to panic reactions and psychotic episodes in some individuals taking certain prescription medications or experiencing underlying health issues. 

Also, while some states have legalized or decriminalized psilocybin, it is still illegal in many parts of the world.

As such, it is recommended that psilocybin is taken only under the care of an experienced clinician — and only in an area where the user is not subject to criminal penalties.

Fox News Digital’s Nikolas Lanum contributed to this report.

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