Nebraskans have been receiving in-home psychedelic care through companies that connect users to a network of trip-sitters. Trip-sitters, also referred to as guides, are individuals who volunteer to make sure clients are safe while partaking in psychedelic drug use.
Nebraskans have been receiving in-home psychedelic care through companies that connect users to a network of trip-sitters. Trip-sitters also referred to as guides, are individuals who volunteer to make sure clients are safe while partaking in psychedelic drug use.
While psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin (found in magic mushrooms) or lysergic acid diethylamide are illegal in Nebraska, numerous companies have found a way to assist clients in using illicit substances safely. From medical clinics to personal use, micro-dosing and psychedelic trips are starting to be taken seriously as a form of therapy for people with mental illnesses, addictions, or in some cases, cancer.
Microdosing is a way to take a small amount of a specific drug, commonly psychedelics, to benefit from its mental effects without the negative physical effects. Many clients of these trip-sitting companies want their trip-sitter to focus on harm reduction while the client partakes. While these trip-sitters are not procuring the substance for their client, they are monitoring them to make sure they are okay when they are under the influence.
Nicholas Levich is the co-founder of Psychedelic Passage, a company that connects clients with guides to facilitate ceremonial psilocybin experiences. After years of being an apprentice to an ayahuascero & shamanic practitioner, Levich said he learned about how to serve others and reduce harm through sacred psychedelic use. While their company provides trip-sitting services across the nation, Levich has confirmed that trip-sitters have conducted a handful of these ceremonies across the state, where psychedelic drugs are illegal.
With the other co-founder, Jimmy Nguyen, the pair opened Psychedelic Passage to preserve private, in-home ceremonial psychedelic use. Levich said the client base referred more than 400 people to providers within their network of psychedelic guides, and almost all of them were looking for a shift in their life.
Levich said many clients set the intention of overcoming an addiction or coping with anxiety, depression or PTSD. Many clients of Psychedelic Passage struggle with these mental illnesses, and through the ceremonial use of psilocybin, clients can hold themselves accountable for their personal inner work.
Psychedelic Passage is based out of Bend, Oregon. Elise Galli, the director of Operations at Psychedelic Passage, said that the guides will discuss the experience with the client via Zoom, describing the benefits and help set intentions for the clients experience (i.e. beating alcoholism). Once they have completed their sessions, the guide will travel to the clients home for the in-person ceremonious psychedelic experience.
“These are extremely powerful tools, but they’re not magical cures,” Levich said. “There must be a willingness of the journeyer to make changes based on what you find during a psychedelic experience.”
Levich said Psychedelic Passage is sometimes referred to as psychedelic therapy, but that is not an all-encompassing term to describe them.
All of the trip-sitters must have journeyed themselves, have experience facilitating, have their own healing practice, and some sort of training with how psilocybin can be used as a medicine. Levich said their highly rigorous process to become a guide is because most clients don’t know what they’re looking for. While Nebraska doesn’t have any guides within state lines, guides have traveled from outside of the state to be a psychedelic guide for clients in Nebraska.
The University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Psychiatry Department has been leading a study on psilocybin therapy as a way to decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression that comes from being diagnosed with cancer. However, in Nebraska, psychedelic therapy through clinical or pain management healthcare clinics is the only way to get on board with psychedelic experiences legally.
While there is no local legislation being proposed for legalizing these substances, there have been national psychedelic advocacy groups beginning to arise in the wake of the legalizations in both Oregon and Colorado.
Johns Hopkins University has pioneered psychedelic research in the 21st century, but medical professionals are unsure if there will be an accessible way to have a psychedelic experience. Researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Psychiatry Department have studied how psychedelics could help patients who are struggling with depression and other mood disorders.
Dr. Lou Lukas, one of the psychedelic researchers from the UNMC study, said the project is important because people with cancer often have significant emotional and psychological distress that is challenging to treat with current protocols.
“New work with psychedelic agents combined with supportive counseling shows promise for helping people suffering from the distress of cancer, depression, and addictive disorders,” Lukas said.
Levich said Minnesota has become a popular spot for Psychedelic Passages’ clients and can see the midwest becoming more accepting of psychedelic experiences and their legalization in the future.
“The Midwest is lagging behind the rest of the country as far as general interest in this work,” Levich said.
Due to the lack of legalization efforts and advocacy groups across the middle of America, Levich believes it will take longer to see increased business within Nebraska.