The Netherlands is one of the most psychedelic friendly environments in Europe. Obtaining mushrooms, salvia, peyote, and other similar psychedelics from coffee shops is a common occurrence throughout the country. Studies have shown that psychedelics contain many health effects that may help overcome various mental and psychological conditions. But what gave rise to this conducive atmosphere and how can other countries emulate it?
What Makes the Netherlands a Psychedelic-Friendly Country?
The Netherlands became one of the most popular countries for psychedelic use due to its relaxed drug laws. The country believes more in educating people on the implications of substances than overly refraining them with dos and don’ts. The idea is that hiding social vices does not make them disappear but rather makes them worse. While stocking and trading drugs without a license remain criminal offenses, the use of many substances is largely decriminalized in the country. This creates the following advantages:
Psychedelics Therapy Centers in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is one of the best places to participate in psychedelic therapies and there are many legal organizations committed to this treatment method. For instance, The Psychedelic Society has taken it upon itself to improve people’s understanding of access to psychedelics. The organization is the pioneer of the psilocybin retreat program in Europe and also helps people identify safe and legal environments for psychedelic therapy with experienced facilitators.
Every year, people from different parts of the world travel to the Netherlands to participate in spiritual and healing retreats. These psychedelic retreats have been an excellent way of overcoming psychological and emotional stress caused by traumatic past experiences.
Many past attendees have also attested to the fact that the experience gave them a better understanding of themselves and helped them resolve past issues, equipping them with a better sense of judgment and ability to handle hardships. Usually, the program takes a few days or a week and is carefully organized to ensure people’s expectations are met. During this period, attendees do undergo sessions of various activities that propel them into redefining themselves.
If you are still undecided about whether psychedelic treatment is for you, microdosing is a viable option. Psychedelic microdosing means taking very low, sub-perceptual doses of the substances. Sub-perceptual or sub-hallucinogenic refers to making the effects of a drug subtle while still retaining a considerable level of influence on the user.
Microdosing is an old practice that dates back to the 16th century when people took low doses of psilocybin for different health purposes. Studies have shown that psychedelic microdosing has many benefits. Starting with a low dosage of the substance will enable you to evaluate its health benefits and decide if you want to continue, abstain, or increase the dose. In the Netherlands, people use microdosing to test psychedelic effects on certain mental health disorders.
Are Psychedelics Legal in the Netherlands?
Dutch drug policy is driven by the idea that each person should make the final decisions on matters of their own health. However, this does not mean psychedelics are completely legal in the country. Just like many other nations, the Dutch government classifies some drugs, including certain psychedelics, as illegal substances. Essentially, the government divided drugs into two categories: hard drugs and soft drugs.
While hard drugs are forbidden in the Netherlands, soft drugs are mostly legal, but under the condition of “personal use.” Personal use means there is a limit to the quantity that one can have in his or her possession. Substances classified as hard drugs include morphine, LSD, cocaine, and heroin. Soft drugs include all forms of cannabis and psychedelic or psilocybin truffles.
Why Are Truffles Legal and Mushrooms Aren’t?
Psilocybin mushrooms and psilocybin truffles are similar in nature and have the same active compounds, which are psilocin, baeocystin, and psilocybin. The difference, however, is how they are produced. While mushrooms grow out fully, truffles usually grow underground, forming root-like structures.
Before 2008, psychedelic mushrooms and truffles were legal and could be freely bought in the Netherlands. However, in 2008, following the suicide case of a 17-year-old girl who jumped from a building after eating psilocybin mushrooms, the Dutch government banned more than 100 various species of mushrooms. However, sclerotium forms of fungi were excluded from the ban, thus truffles remain a legal substance in the country.