Psychedelics are changing the mental health game. In recent years, research into ketamine, psilocybin, MDMA, and other drugs has shown their incredible ability to improve conditions like PTSD, depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
While ketamine is legal for use in a licensed therapeutic setting, other psychedelics still face some legal hurdles before they’ll be equally as accessible. But just because they’re technically not legal doesn’t mean they’re completely unavailable—you just have to know how to find them.
Locate a medicinal or spiritual ketamine or psilocybin provider with our guide to Bay Area psychedelics.
Psilocybin-Assisted Mental Healthcare
Although psilocybin is not technically legal yet in California, it and other plant-based entheogens have been decriminalized in San Francisco, Oakland, and Santa Cruz. That reclassification has allowed some intrepid entrepreneurs and specialists to make the psychedelic available for some spiritual, therapeutic, and research capacities—all of which are available to most adults in the Bay Area.
Here’s where to explore the clinical and spiritual use of psilocybin for mental health.
Psychedelic Passage’s Guided Psychedelic Experience
Take a psilocybin-assisted healing journey without ever leaving home. Psychedelic Passage’s skilled facilitators will come to you, no matter where in the Bay Area you live. Their five-week guided psychedelic therapy program is customized to each individual; you can not only choose the pace and direction of your treatment but which psychedelic you’d like to use, including psilocybin, MDMA, LSD, and ketamine. The program also includes prep and integration sessions and microdose coaching, all of which is priced on a sliding scale according to income level. Packages for couples and small groups are also available. // psychedelicpassage.com
UCSF Psilocybin Clinical Trials
Mental health treatment through psilocybin is still in its infancy and researchers at UCSF are in the process of conducting clinical trials to study its effects on the mind and body. They currently have six programs that are enrolling (or are soon to enroll) adults of different ages—both those who are “healthy” and those with conditions like bipolar and chronic low back pain—to participate in guided psychedelic mental health treatment. Not only will participants receive the benefits of psilocybin therapy cost-free, they’ll help to advance research into how it can most benefit the mental health profession. // 505 Parnassus Ave. (Inner Sunset); learn more about eligibility and open trials at clinicaltrials.ucsf.edu/psilocybin.
Therapeutic healing is not always done in a clinical setting. At the Church of Ambrosia, spirituality rooted in the transformative potential of psychedelics is a powerful tool for improving mental health. The non-denominational, interfaith organization based at the Zide Door Church in Oakland (and a soon-to-open second location in San Francisco's SoMa), provides access to psilocybin mushrooms and tax-free cannabis for a $5 monthly membership fee. Although they don’t offer guided experiences, they do provide members with information about how to prepare for their individual healing journey, whether microdosing or going “cosmic.” // 1216 10th Ave. (Oakland), zidedoor.com
Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) in the Bay Area
(Courtesy of @polarisinsight)
Ketamine has shown great results in the improvement of mental health conditions. Although the psychedelic is only available from licensed medical providers, the Bay Area now has a handful of therapeutic clinics that specialize in ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP). Each offers customized, guided experiences for the treatment of anxiety, depression, PTSD, OCD and bipolar disorder, as well as for chronic pain resulting from conditions like fibromyalgia, spinal injuries, and cancer.
Here’s where to explore ketamine-assisted psychotherapy in the Bay Area.
Polaris Insight Center
Polaris provides KAP for individuals, groups, and couples. During the three-hour sessions, therapeutic ketamine is delivered through an intramuscular drip or taken as a lozenge. Lozenge sessions can also be done at home via telemedicine. // 4255 18th St. (Castro), polarisinsight.com
Bay Area Mental Health
Bay Area Mental Health’s team of skilled KAP facilitators can administer therapeutic ketamine and guide your experience in office or online. Throughout the three-hour session, they use meditation, art, journaling, movement, and other contemplative practices to help relieve negative mental health symptoms in the short and long term. // 1925 Winchester Blvd. (Campbell), bayareamh.com
The Center for Transformational Psychotherapy
At The Center for Transformational Psychotherapy, they start new patients out with an in-office therapy session during which ketamine is delivered through a sublingual lozenge or an IV drip. Both an MD and a trained therapist are on hand to guide each patient through each two-and-a-half to three-hour session. // 25 Tamalpais Ave. (San Anselmo), ketaminepsychotherapy.com
Bay Area Ketamine Center
The Bay Area Ketamine Center specializes in intravenous ketamine infusions. One of the more affordable local KAP options, this clinic charges a single fee for both a pre-treatment consult and a ketamine therapy session, and doesn’t require you to sign up for multiple sessions in advance. // 746 Altos Oaks Dr. (Los Altos), bayareaketaminecenter.com
Humboldt Center for New Growth Retreat
If you do your best self-reflection away from home, head for this multi-day workshop on the serene Eel River in Humboldt. The county’s first ketamine-assisted therapy retreat is set to launch later this month at the historic Scotia Lodge. The all-inclusive four-day event, which is led by the Humboldt Center for New Growth, includes guided ketamine journeys and integration processes, yoga, art therapy, and plenty of free time for self-discovery. In June and August, the retreats will focus on connecting with your true self and unlocking the potential for growth and healing; November and February 2024 events are designed for helping those in healing professions to, for once, put their energy towards their own emotional and mental wellbeing. // 100 Main St. (Scotia), scotia-lodge.com/ketamine-retreats, humboldtcenterfornewgrowth.com