Psychedelic Retreats: A Growing Trend In Wellness
4 min

Psychedelic Retreats: A Growing Trend In Wellness

4 min

A week-long getaway where you can experience new realities sounds pretty exciting. Fortunately, psychedelic retreats are becoming more common! Unfortunately, they can be quite expensive. Here, we explore the burgeoning world of psychedelic retreats, looking at the pros and cons.

Are psychedelics the final frontier of wellness? Quite possibly. Psychedelic retreats were once the preserve of a niche subculture, but now they’re becoming very popular, appealing to all manner of people. While this renewed interest in psychedelics is undoubtedly beneficial, the world of psychedelic retreats can be somewhat questionable.

In this article, we look at what psychedelic retreats are, then discuss their often prohibitive pricing. Keep reading to find out more.

New me, new psychedelic therapy

New Me, New Psychedelic Therapy

Psychedelic therapy takes many guises. In its most clinical form, it involves therapists and doctors giving psychedelics to patients in a medical setting, and observing and tending to them throughout the duration of the experience. In its least clinical form, it (potentially) involves someone tripping alone in the woods.

One of the most accessible types of psychedelic therapy takes the form of a psychedelic retreat. These retreats offer total novices and experienced psychonauts alike the opportunity to take psychedelics in a safe, supportive, and judgement-free setting, all (hopefully) under the watchful eye of experienced practitioners.

Once a niche event, the psychedelic retreat has become common and fairly accessible. From wholesome experiences to cash-grabs aimed at tech bros hoping to “hack their minds”, psychedelic retreats can range from novel healing spaces in which one can escape the everyday, to strange corporate getaways where egos abound.

What exactly happens at a psychedelic retreat?

What Exactly Happens At A Psychedelic Retreat?

Typically, these retreats take place in serene, often exotic locations, away from daily life. These locations are often large and privately owned, as this helps to secure them against unwanted visitors—such as the police. During a retreat, participants engage in a variety of activities designed to prepare them mentally and physically for their psychedelic experience. This preparation can include yoga, meditation, and strict dietary regimens. Screens and devices are usually kept to a minimum, or totally banned.

The main event, of course, is the psychedelic ceremony. Under the guidance of experienced facilitators, participants consume substances like ayahuasca, psilocybin mushrooms, or LSD. The setting is carefully curated to ensure a safe and supportive environment, with music, visual aids, and sometimes even therapeutic touch used to enhance the journey. Post-ceremony, there is a significant focus on integration—processing the experience through group discussions, art, or one-on-one therapy.

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What’s considered the most therapeutic psychedelic?

What’s Considered The Most Therapeutic Psychedelic?

There is no one psychedelic that has the most therapeutic potential. Rather, each offers its own effects that can have therapeutic impact in the right context. In fact, most psychedelics offer similar effects, though some people may prefer one over another. The following outlines the four most commonly used drugs for psychedelic therapy.

  • Ayahuasca (DMT): Known for inducing deep, intense experiences, ayahuasca ceremonies are common in many retreats, particularly in South America. The active ingredient in ayahuasca is DMT, and this concoction has long been used in Central and South American spiritual practices. Before psychedelic retreats became extremely popular, ayahuasca retreats were not uncommon, even if they were more underground than they are now.
  • Psilocybin (magic mushrooms): Shrooms are generally fairly relaxing and rarely induce bad experiences. For this reason, their therapeutic potential is well-recognised, as they leave users quite capable of looking after themselves in a way that can be more difficult on other psychedelics.
  • LSD: Acid is a potent psychedelic with the potential to cause profound effects, thereby giving it great therapeutic potential. However, due to the nature of this drug, users must tread carefully as negative experiences are more common compared to other psychedelics.
  • MDMA: While not a traditional psychedelic, MDMA is increasingly used in therapeutic settings as it creates a strong sense of empathy towards oneself and others. This makes it very helpful in certain therapeutic contexts. However, it is not a particularly common choice for psychedelic retreats, in part due to its infamous after-effects (comedown).

How much does a psychedelic retreat cost?

How Much Does A Psychedelic Retreat Cost?

The cost of a psychedelic retreat can vary widely based on location, duration, and the level of luxury offered—and who the organisers are hoping to attract! On average, a retreat might cost anywhere from €1,000 to €10,000 or more. As a general rule, those that are less expensive aim to genuinely help people, while the more expensive ones are likely cashing in on the trend of CEOs searching for meaning. Cheaper retreats are available, but can be hard to find, as they aren’t always advertised to the general public.

Here’s an outline of potential costs:

  • Basic retreats: Typically priced between €1,000 and €3,000, these often include shared accommodations and basic amenities. Lasting between 4 and 6 days, these retreats will have everything you need, but won’t offer the luxury of some exclusive getaway.
  • Mid-range retreats: Costing between €3,000 and €7,000, these retreats offer private rooms, more personalised guidance, and additional wellness activities. Here, you can expect a more exclusive feeling.
  • Luxury retreats: For those willing to spend €7,000 to €10,000 or more, these retreats provide high-end accommodations, gourmet meals, and a host of premium services and therapies. What’s more, these events often function as networking events for the rich and powerful.

Are psychedelic retreats safe?

Are Psychedelic Retreats Safe?

If well managed, then a psychedelic retreat should be safe. You can expect the organisers to be experienced and conscientious, and they should know how to create a safe environment that is conducive to enjoyable experiences. That being said, you can never entirely rule out the chances of a bad experience—however, organisers should be equipped to respond appropriately if something occurs.

Post-ceremony integration is designed to help people process their experience, whether good or bad, and this should mitigate any lasting damage from a “bad trip”. If an uncomfortable experience can be understood and processed, then it should be able to pass through a person, leaving space for growth and healing.


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The future of psychedelic wellness

The Future Of Psychedelic Wellness

Psychedelic retreats are on the rise, and even if they’re illegal where you live, it’s likely there’s one not so far away. Nevertheless, they are unfortunately quite prohibitively priced, and as such are mostly frequented by the wealthy. But in this we may be able to find the power of community. Why not set up your own “retreat” with your friends and like-minded people? If you or someone you know is experienced with these drugs, there’s nothing to stop you from having a ceremony and foregoing the idea of commercial gain. It may well be that this ends up being far more insightful and healing anyway!

Max Sargent
Max Sargent
Max has been writing for over a decade, and has come into cannabis and psychedelic journalism in the last few years. Writing for companies such as Zamnesia, Royal Queen Seeds, Cannaconnection, Gorilla Seeds, MushMagic and more, he has experience in a broad spectrum of the industry.
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