In recent years, in line with increasing research and constant media coverage, more and more people are seeking therapeutic treatment with classic psychedelics and MDMA. The clinical trials have come so far that there is little doubt that it has good effect and when pop author Michael Pollan's book, How to Change Your Mind, (which also came out in Norwegian in the fall of 2019) came out in 2018, interest in the population began to grow significantly.
MAPS, who does most of the research on this today, have estimated that MDMA will be approved drug in 2023 in the United States and that psilocybin (magic mushrooms) will follow some years later. Norway is likely to follow soon after. Remember that this is not a question of legalization but the use of an approved drug together with a therapist. Until then it is illegal in most places in the world, and also here in Norway. So what to do if you do not want to wait until 2023-2026? There are some options.
So what alternatives do you have in Norway?
The first, most available, is ketamine treatment. Ketamine is not a classic psychedelic and has a dissociative effect, quite different from MDMA and psilocybin. At the same time it has been an approved medicine since the 1970's and has shown good results in the treatment of depression (both uni- and bipolar) and chronic pain. There are a couple of private clinics that do this in Norway, the Axon clinic and Emma Sofia-klinikken, in addition to a public treatment offer at Sykehuset Østfold Kalnes where you can get treatment after a referral from your doctor. For more information on ketamine treatment and documentation, see these pages. A study for MDMA for PTSD was approved by the Norwegian FDA (Legemiddelverket) in June 2020 and will initially only include two participants who are recruited passively. A larger study is expected to come soon with the possibility of broader recruitment. See status on clinicaltrials.gov. I will update with more information when I know more about this.
When it comes to less legal alternatives there are several that offer ayahuasca and peyote ceremonies around Norway and Sweden, but here it is very important that you take responsibility for your own safety and do your own research ahead of time. Please get in touch with me for a free consultation if you consider such options. Another option is to try to find an "underground therapist" or guide who can guide you through the process. Then you can have a one-on-one experience that many believe is optimal for therapeutic experiences. There are a few of these in Scandinavia, but are often not as easy to track. If you ask around a bit you can find someone. Here again it is important to be careful and take some precautions. Almost everyone I've met who dedicate their lives to psychedelic treatment are great, conscientious people, but there are examples of unethical behavior.
And alternatives outside Norway?
There are several legal alternatives for psilocybin and ayahuasca outside Norway, including in the Netherlands, Jamaica, and several countries in South America. These are called "retreats" and you can Google them. It is worth noting that this takes place in groups and that it rarely resembles the clinical style on which the research is based in the picture above. Here too, it is important to do your own research and have a support network ready when you return to integrate the experience. For example, you may want to find a psychologist who knows a little about psychedelics and the mental processes surrounding such an experience in advance of a trip to such a retreat.
I can help you here and MAPS has a list of integration therapists here. There are a few in Europe at the time of writing but if you are comfortable with speaking English and you can manage the time difference, there are many good integration therapists in the United States. In addition there is a psychologist in the Netherlands who have received MAPS training and who offer one-on-one treatment with psilocybin. This process is more similar to the clinical protocols.
MDMA is still illegal in most countries and there are currently only underground guides that offer treatment with MDMA. It is nevertheless important that you take responsibility for the experience you seek and I advise no one to just "jump in" without doing thorough research. Psychedelics Today has one video course available which gives a very comprehensive introduction to psychedelics.
There are a couple of alternatives to taking psychedelics. Meditation can provide similar experiences as psychedelics, but it often requires you to meditate regularly for many months or perhaps years. Still, many people report good therapeutic efficacy anyway, but not as significant as a psychedelic experience. There are also some forms of breathing exercises called "holotropic breathwork" that can provide powerful psychedelic experiences.
Perhaps the world's foremost researcher on psychedelic therapy, Stanislav Grof, developed a version of this when LSD was classified as illegal in 1967 as a legal alternative to psychedelic-assisted therapy. In practice this involves breathing heavily in and out while listening to rhythmic music for a few hours. I have not been able to find any regular suppliers of this in Norway, but I know that some events have appeared with this in the past. Elsewhere in Europe and the United States, there are several such holotropic breathwork gatherings. You can find a good description of the process here. This is also something you can try at home, but maybe a little shorter in the beginning (for example 15 minutes) and with someone sitting with you. This person should be informed of how this works. I can also guide you through such an experience over a few hours.