In a new series for Netflix, staffers for Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand Goop dove head-first into the increasingly popular practice of “wellness travel.” But this isn’t just your typical day at the spa. Instead, staffers flew eight hours to test out the healing properties of psychedelic mushrooms.
For the first episode of the all-new series “The Goop Lab,” premiering on Netflix on Jan. 24, four Goopers, as the staffers are called, traveled to Jamaica, where the use of psychedelic mushrooms is legal. In the U.S. the possession and cultivation of magic mushrooms are illegal because they contain the chemical compound psilocybin, which is listed in Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act.
The mission, according to Loehnen, was to “explore psychedelics in a therapeutic setting.” The staffers nominated themselves, and all were seeking slightly different outcomes, ranging from self-exploratory to improving mental health. One staffer simply wanted to feel more creative, two Goopers wanted to work on processing some personal trauma and Loehnen, who also went on the retreat, wanted to have a “psycho-spiritual experience.”
Viewers watch several staffers break down in tears at different points after drinking the mushroom tea, talking out loud to the on-site therapists. Meanwhile, Loehnen experiences uncontrollable giggling, saying “I feel like such a cliche.” Yet in the end, several of the staffers note how healing they felt the experience was.
The practice of taking magic mushrooms remains controversial. It’s worth noting, for example, that a 2016 survey fielded by Johns Hopkins researchers and published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that of the people who had bad experiences after taking psilocybin mushrooms, 10% felt their “bad trip” put themselves or others in danger. Yet many who experienced the negative side effects of ’shrooms — which can include hallucinations, dizziness, drowsiness, vomiting, and paranoia — still said the experience was “meaningful” and “worthwhile.”
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