It is a common misconception that women are fragile, delicate, and perilous creatures. Women are endlessly resilient and virtually indestructible as human beings. Generally, women experience life with a deeper understanding of uncertainty from a younger age because of trauma. Trauma can be described as a physical injury or a deeply distressing and disturbing experience. This can be as simple as a one-time isolated incident, a chronic occurrence over long periods of time, or complex in nature, stemming from multiple varied events. According to an article published in the European Journal of Psychotraumacology, women have a 2-3 times higher risk of developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) compared to men—10-12% in women versus 5- 6% men.
Unfortunately for the majority of these survivors, trauma continues to be a debilitating whirlwind that travels with them into older age. Trauma can be treated in numerous ways such as a traditional pharmaceutical route, exposure therapy, desensitization and talk therapy. Many individuals experience a reduction of symptoms after these types of therapies, however, up to 60% do not respond satisfactorily. This leaves many women who have unsuccessfully completed treatment to feel hopeless and broken. Women who have experienced trauma have a higher risk of developing mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety if left unsuccessfully untreated. If traditional approaches do not work, what are some non-traditional treatments to address trauma?
As a woman who has experienced multiple forms of trauma, and after hearing countless stories from family and friends detailing their own traumatic experiences, I began to look into psilocybin. Psychedelics as a medicine have been materializing across the globe. Classic psychedelics such as LSD and Psilocybin (i.e Magic Mushrooms) have been increasingly subjected to studies on the treatment of mental health issues. Several studies even suggest the benefits of psychedelic for the treatment of PTSD.
Many biases must be overcome for people who do not understand the healing properties of plant medicine. It personally brought me back from a dark place of seemingly no return. The approach was my last resort, and I only regret not making it my first. More women need to hear the tales of others rise to mental health and clarity with the help of psychedelic plant medicine. Now is the time to normalize these seemingly controversial yet natural tools.
Lysgeric Acid Diethylmide (LSD)
LSD was first invented by Albert Hoffman in 1938 by way of a chemical from a fungus ergot originating from lysergic acid. The hallucinogenic properties were not discovered until 1943. Certain government agencies felt that this substance could be used to promote mind control and began to test on people without their knowledge. LSD has even been sold as a medication (Delysid) throughout the 1950s and 60s. It is currently listed as a schedule 1 drug with no medical purpose despite numerous medical studies suggesting otherwise. Most users take LSD orally with some reporting uses of eye drops. The average experience of LSD can last from anywhere between 6-15 hours in total.
Yuleisy, 26, New York
“My most profound experience with Acid/LSD was a year ago when I took it for second time. I did for my 26 birthday just me at home with my boyfriend. He put some meditation music on. I began to see the trails of my hands movement. While staring at the ceiling everything would disappear, and I would find myself in this place where there was nothing but whiteness. I would make myself wake up and go back further and further each time until I found myself in such peace. I realized we are all connected to our thoughts and how we feel. I was there was as just the feeling of being a soul or a presence, a light. This made me realize that we are all one because I could feel everybody like their inside, their soul, and it always brought me back to me to where I was laying. I guess you can say I could see myself in others. Then my boyfriend walked back in the room and brought me back. We then started talking about our experience—I think we were like 6 hours in at this time—then I remembered a past traumatic scene I had a year before and I closed my eyes crying.ll of the sudden I was in some kinda outer space ocean with and some kind of wind presence telling me it was okay and that whatever happened, happened for a reason. It showed me the most beautiful octopus-like creature which symbolized what I was crying about. I opened my eyes and kept talking. We then decided to do yoga poses, and this is when things started to change for me, reality wise.
I first put my hands together and brought them to my womb and closed my eyes to meditate and boom—there I was, the mother of all, Mother Nature.I could see the sun as my belly, and I was nurturing it; it then became earth, and I was suddenly being told again that we are all connected that we are all one having different experiences.
After this experience my perspective on things changed completely, I am more patient by thinking before I say something and by giving anything that used to irritate me before a bit more time so I can act differently towards it so my reality can be a better space to breathe in.”
DMT is a naturally occurring molecule in many plants but can also be manufactured in a laboratory. There are some experts that believe our pineal glands produce and secrete it when we dream. DMT may also be responsible for the “otherworldly” near-death experiences some individuals may experience. This substance is often smoked. DMT hallucinogenic trips are rather short in comparison to other psychedelics, lasting only 30-45 minutes in total.
Jonna, 33, Colorado
“DMT has been really helpful with PTSD from my childhood foster homes, military service, traumatic brain injuries, chronic pain, depression, and anxiety. I believe that DMT has promoted healing within my Nervous system that has allowed me to address other issues within my body and mind. I have done DMT hundreds of times alone, with dozens of friends and with people that I’m guiding. Picking one session over another would be impossible. I’ve seen everything from the Archangel Michael and blasted off into time and space. I’ve been surrounded in pinks and peach colors as I felt like I was in a womb and giving birth at the same time. Most importantly, I was able to recover repressed traumatic events and face them.
The most profound experiences have been the ones I have shared with others. I’ve had some incredible insight into my past and have been connected back to my body and Mother Earth. However, this tool, this medicine, has been the most profound in really letting me connect to others and helping them let go of what’s hurting them. You could call it a shared delusion or shared trip, but I call it a miracle. “
Ayahuasca is a potent herbal brew that is drunk for spiritual and religious purposes by ancient tribes of the Amazon. It is still popular in South American countries and is becoming more well known in the States. It is made from the Psychotria viridis and stalks of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine. These plants contain high levels of DMT which assist in the hallucinogenic response. Effects are normally felt for 4-6 hours with the most potent peaks happening within the first two hours.
Anonymous, 41, Ohio
“I participated in 3 ceremonies. . . . each one addressing three different areas of self and life. I came away with a deeper understanding of my ego as well as the interconnectedness of all life and how individuals affect each other. There are issues I had with my father that I was able to (mostly) lay to rest after my ceremonies.
In my second ceremony, and for what felt like hours, Aya sent animals to me . . . . a snake, a jaguar, a monkey, and a bird. Each animal circled around me and it was as though they wanted me to think negative thoughts about myself and my life and to be fearful of them. I had a profound intuition that I could not “give into them” and I absolutely, at all costs, had to remain positive in my thinking.
The last animal to visit was the snake. While researching prior to my ceremonies, I had read that some people felt that snakes were present during their journeys. This is not an uncommon occurrence, and it’s exactly what I DID NOT want to happen during my ceremony. I was extremely uncomfortable the entire time the snake was with me, and I felt as though I might purge. My Shaman recognized my discomfort and immediately came and sang me a beautiful icaro. I maintained focus on his song and continued to force myself to think positive thoughts. Right when my Shaman finished the icaro I felt a wave of pure bliss and the snake told me that I “passed the test.” It said that Aya wanted me to see how powerful my mind is and that it is completely and totally within my control to always be a positive and joyful person. This is something most of us generally know but Aya helped me gain a much deeper understanding of this and gave me an immense awareness of the power of mind.”
Psilocybin is more commonly known as Magic Mushrooms. Despite the general terminology, there are a variety of different cultivars, much like cannabis, that yield different effects for different users. Psilocybin can be eaten or soaked in tea. The addition of citrus fruits (specifically lemons) is said to enhance the sensations greatly due to the fact the acid converts the psilocybin into psilocin (a complementary psychedelic molecule). The hallucinogenic effects of psilocybin usually occur within 30 minutes of ingestion and last between 4 and 6 hours.
Yuky, 37, New Jersey
“After my daughter’s passing, I was trying to repress a lot of anger which was causing my anxiety to go up. I was even unable to leave the house because I was afraid of what I would do, fueled with all this anger. I went hiking with some spiritual brothers and a sister. We set up a ceremonial altar and put our intentions into a mixture of 3 grams of psilocybin and lemon juice; this is called a Lemon Tek.
Lemon Tek is known to make the journey stronger and faster. As we hiked deeper into the woods and by a river, my journey began, and I could see the vibration of the clouds. I could see the pulse of the sky. We sat by the river and put our feet in the water. I thought about how beautiful everything was, the feel of the water at my feet, the wind hitting my face, the warm sun on my skin. And then I thought about how much I missed my daughter. I was hit with a rushing emotion of loss and sadness, and I cried, but as the warm tears hit my cheeks, I felt comforted by the pulse of the clouds. I felt comforted by her.
We sat for a while and meditated, then we began our hike back to the car. We came across a clearing where the ground was brown and looked charred, in a circle. I felt a pull to walk into the center. I asked my friends to give me a minute. One of my brothers was playing a ceremonial drum. I could feel the pulse of the mountains around us, and the trees began to sway as I began to dance. I felt joy, and then I began to get a burning in my womb. I felt a scream come up from my sacral chakra area. As I screamed, I saw a yellow light leave me and spread through the area. I then dropped to the ground exhausted, crying and needing to feel the earth.
I put my hands into the ground and dug my fingers into the earth. As I swayed with the trees, I could feel Pachamama connecting to me. I could no longer sit it up, overwhelmed by love. I lay down and found myself in a white room with my daughter lying next to me, holding my hand. She told me it would all be okay and I believed her. I found peace after all the em”
Jade Sancho-Duser has been a Licensed Massage Therapist, Energy Worker, and Holistic Health Advocate of over 15 years. Her brand, RXMaryJade provides access to holistic resources for the modern individual to live a complete and fulfilling life. Her goal is to empower the cannabis/plant based holistic wellness community with her writing and educational event services.