Psychedelic, psychoactive, hallucinogenic… whatever you want to call them, we seem to have a hardwired impulse to seek out plants and substances that alter our perception in some way. With such a large number of plants out there that can have this effect, it shouldn’t be too surprising that there are some psychedelic plants you can grow and are actually legal!
In some cases, that legality might be because the plant isn’t thought to be significant enough to warrant an inclusion in the law, but in other cases it might simply be that a law change hasn’t occurred yet. Whatever the reason, these plants (and probably more that didn’t make the list) are legal to grow.
However, that doesn’t mean you can eat them.
In many cases, it is legal to grow the plant, but it is still illegal to consume it or to extract the psychedelic components. In other cases, consuming the plant might be technically legal, but generally isn’t a good idea, often for health reasons.
It’s also important to check local and federal laws before growing any of these plants yourself. After all, laws differ throughout the country. They also change regularly and can be complicated. Remember too that some practices are illegal at the federal level, regardless of how individual states approach the topic (that issue is particularly clear with moonshine).
Psychedelic Plants You Can Grow
13. Hawaiian Baby Woodrose
This is a climbing vine that has heart shaped leaves and produces flowers that are white and in the shape of trumpets.
The psychoactive component of the plant is in the furry seeds that grow inside seed pods. These seeds contain the compound LSA, which is a close analog to LSD. In the United States, it is illegal to extract compounds from the seeds, although chewing the seeds is sometimes considered to give you a legal high (again, it’s important to check local laws and look for formal legal advice).
The plant itself isn’t controlled. You can easily find seeds or live plants for sale and grow them safely in your own garden. The main exception is selling the plants or seeds specifically for human consumption.
Ayahuasca is a little bit confusing, because the name refers to the species and to a psychoactive brew that is produced from the ayahuasca vine and some other plant ingredients. Many reports suggest that ayahuasca is illegal in a variety of countries, including the United States, due to the active ingredient DMT. DMT is classified as a Class I drug, so there are heavy restrictions around its use.
However, most of the legislation focuses on DMT or on the psychoactive ayahuasca tea, rather than the plant itself. The plant isn’t specifically regulated in the United States, suggesting that growing it could be legal. Also, like peyote, there are exceptions for religious use.
That said, the law is very murky. Legal repercussions from growing ayahuasca are still very possible. And, if you do grow the plant, using it in a psychedelic manner is inadvisable.
11. Mexican Dream Herb
This species is also sometimes known as bitter grass or dog grass. It naturally grows in some parts of Costa Rica and in the Mexican highlands. The herb has been traditionally used by Chontal Indians in the region for its psychoactive properties, although this effect is more subtle than many other herbs.
The plant is not controlled at the national level in the United States. Louisiana has a law that makes it illegal to grow Mexican dream herb for consumption, although you can still grow it ornamentally. Yhe plant tends to be legal in other states.
There are even a few places that sell tea made from the Mexican dream herb (like a store in San Francisco). Still, it’s important to be wise and keep an eye out for any changes to local laws.
10. Heavenly Blue’ Morning Glory
This plant is particularly appealing for its ornamental properties, as the flowers are eye catching and quite beautiful. It is a vine plant that grows fast and produces a large number of flowers.
The appearance of the plant is such that most people are probably unaware of its psychedelic impacts. With this species, it is the seeds that are psychoactive and the effect can be similar to LSD. However, achieving that effect involves taking a large number of seeds, often in the hundreds – and consuming the seeds this way is illegal.
Commercially available seeds are typically treated with some form of pesticide, which makes consuming them particularly unsafe. So, you can’t just buy a bag of seeds and use them to get high.
The plant is also considered an invasive species in some states, which can limit where you’re able to grow it. Local nurseries will be able to tell you about the status in your area.
Wormwood is a common ornamental plant in the north of the United States and in Canada. The plant is actually used as an ingredient in absinthe (a spirit) and also is used as a flavoring in some wines and spirits.
In fact, the presence of wormwood is partly why absinthe was once banned in the United States, as there were concerns about the hallucinogenic properties from the plant.
The plant is also thought to offer medicinal benefits and is sometimes used in that way. The psychoactive component of the plant comes from the chemical thujone and people sometimes choose to smoke the leaves in an attempt to get a high. However, the impact tends to be relatively mild.
It’s also important to be cautious with wormwood, as thujone can be toxic if you consume too much.
Kava is a relatively good looking ornamental plant, but its fame largely comes from the properties of its roots. Specifically, kava roots are used in many Pacific cultures to produce a drink that has both anesthetic and sedative properties.
As such, it acts as a relaxant and may play a role in helping to ease anxiety. At high doses, the plant roots are associated with psychedelic effects, although there is also the potential for health risks with higher doses of the roots.
The kava plant isn’t regulated at the federal level. You’ll even find kava in supplements sold for personal use. However, it’s still important to be cautious, as there are potential side effects, plus interactions with some medications and with alcohol.
7. Salvia AKA Diviner’s Sage AKA Seer’s Sage
This member of the sage family has been associated with visions and hallucinatory experiences, often very strong ones. In fact, this plant is a good reminder that natural and legal highs aren’t necessarily safe. It’s still important to be very cautious.
The plant tends to have large leaves and produces relatively few flowers. It doesn’t stand out from other plants, so it’s easy to miss.
Interestingly, Salvia divinorum isn’t controlled at the federal level in the United States, although such control has been proposed. The plant is legislated at the state level instead, where a variety of states have prohibited the use of the plant and possibly even the act of growing it.
There’s a decent amount of interest in salvia and concerns about its effects, so the amount of legislation is likely to increase as time goes on.
6. Peruvian Torch Cactus
This species of cactus is native to Peru and is a fast growing plant. The plant is sometimes ornamentally and is sometimes confused with the San Pedro cactus, which has a similar appearance.
The Peruvian torch cactus contains a number of psychoactive alkaloids, with the most common being mescaline. The laws surrounding this species in the United States are not clear, however, the compound mescaline is controlled.
5. Fly Agaric Mushroom
The fly agaric mushroom has a pretty distinctive appearance and is widely recognized. The mushroom is officially classified as poisonous, although the number of deaths from the species have been relatively few. The species has also been associated with a hallucinogenic effect, as the result of the compound muscimol.
The mushroom is legal throughout the United States, except in Louisiana. Here, the mushroom is only legal to grow ornamentally. Growing or possessing it for any other reason is illegal and comes with considerable penalties.
Also, as with many plants on this list, you’re not guaranteed to have a good trip with fly agaric mushrooms. Some people do, while others have horrible experiences.
Peyote is a particularly well-known psychoactive plant and this effect is largely the result of the compound mescaline. It’s also an interesting case, as the cactus has strong cultural significance for Native Americans and is sometimes used for its psychoactive properties and sometimes for potential curative properties.
What’s more, peyote features in important Native American ceremonies. Because of this, peyote can be legally grown and used in legitimate religious ceremonies that meet certain criteria. The exact rules vary from state to state, with some being much more flexible than others.
Of course, things are different if you want to grow peyote for your own personal use. Unless you’re directly connected with a religious ceremony conducted by the Native American Church, growing the cactus is probably illegal and could easily land you in hot water. This is because growing, possessing, and using the cactus is broadly illegal under federal law, with exceptions made for Native American ceremonies.
Interestingly, peyote tends to be excluded under state-based decriminalization laws, such as those passed in Colorado. This exclusion helps to keep peyote limited to Native American ceremonies, rather than allowing for more general use.
The drug opium is produced from dried latex that comes from the opium poppy. Because of this, poppies are frequently grown specifically for the production of opium, often in large fields.
Opium is heavily regulated and is often used as a precursor to other modern drugs. However, the flowers of the species are pretty and popular, which makes them common choices for gardens. That said, only some varieties of poppies contain enough latex to make opium anyway.
Not surprisingly, cultivating poppies to make opium or another narcotic is still highly illegal. So, if you grow an excessive number of them, the authorities in your area might start to get curious and could even investigate you.
2. San Pedro Cactus
The San Pedro cactus is a close relative of the Peruvian torch cactus, so much so that the two are often confused with one another. Here too, the cactus contains a variety of interesting compounds, including mescaline.
While mescaline itself is heavily regulated in the United States, the San Pedro cactus doesn’t appear to be. This means that you can grow it ornamentally. But, growing for the purposes of consumption remains illegal. That’s true for most of the plants on this list.
Finally, we have Datura wrightii, which sometimes goes by the name sacred datura. This is a poisonous species that also has psychoactive properties.
Datura can indeed get you high, sometimes intensely. However, it also comes with some rough side effects and can be dangerous if you consume too much. Despite these issues, the datura plant remains legal to grow in the United States. It’s even legal to buy and distribute.
One reason for the legality may be that datura provides a very unpleasant high. You’re not likely to rely on it too much, even if you really want to get high.
Recent law changes mean that you can grow marijuana in some states. Sometimes this is only for medicinal use, while other times personal use is allowed as well. This makes marijuana a little different than the other items on this list.
However, there are very specific rules surrounding growing marijuana and its use, so it’s important to read up on the all the details for your state, before making any decisions. Be particularly careful about the amount of marijuana you grow and whether you give/sell it to others.
Bonus! Himalayan Giant Honey Bees Making Psychedelic Honey
Not even joking. It’s also called “magic honey” or “mad honey”. Its properties come from the fact that bees pollinate psychoactive flowers. Check out the video to learn more about the people and how they collect/use the honey.
Should Psychedelic Plants Be Legal?
A huge amount of debate surrounds psychedelic plants (which is obvious from the comments section of this post alone). Many people feel that growing and even consuming these plants should be legal. After all, they’re just plants.
Sure, there’s some element of risk, but shouldn’t we be able to make that decision ourselves? There are plenty of more dangerous activities and foods out there anyway. Why arbitrarily limit psychedelic plants?
Plus, many psychedelic plants only have mild effects. This makes them much safer than hard drugs. Some might even be safer than alcohol.
Of course, things are more complicated than that. The illegality of growing many psychedelic plants has a strong historical basis that’s hard to get back from. There are also plenty of different perspectives about whether the plants should be illegal and, if so, which ones?
Thankfully, laws are changing in some parts of the United States. Interest in psychedelics for therapy and other positive health effects has led to local government reforms and changes in legislation within states. Other times there hasn’t been a policy change, but governments have gradually decreased the priority of law enforcement.