Psychedelics—The New Psychiatric Craze

39
4542

Psychedelics are an increasingly fashionable medical treatment, but are they anything other than a powerful form of snake oil, or a recreational experience? Do they have any objective health benefits? Can we be confident they are safe? These questions need answering urgently as the number of people being enticed or persuaded to have these drugs is increasing. Here I draw attention to some of the issues raised by the current popularity of these drugs.

The original psychedelics include psilocybin, the active ingredient of ‘magic mushrooms’ and lysergic acid diethylamide, popularly known as LSD. The recreational drugs MDMA (ecstasy) and ketamine have some psychedelic-like effects, in that there is a ‘trip-like’ quality to the altered state they produce.

Photograph of man's lower face with a pill on his tongue

Psychedelics are now being recommended to treat an ever-lengthening list of problems, including depression, anxiety, addiction, PTSD, chronic pain and distress associated with having a terminal illness. Books about them have become best-sellers, and various foundations are promoting and funding research into psychedelics, presumably in the hope that they will soon be licensed for medical use.

Ketamine, usually delivered intravenously, is already on offer through numerous private clinics in the US, and several have opened in the UK, including at least one provided by the NHS (although the treatment has to be paid for privately). This is possible because ketamine is licensed as an anaesthetic and can therefore be re-purposed ‘off-licence’ for other medical uses. Esketamine, an isomer of ketamine taken as a nasal spray, has been licensed for the treatment of treatment resistant depression in the US, UK and Europe.

The rationale behind this trend is confusing and contradictory. On the one hand, psychedelics are promoted as assisting the process of psychotherapy through the insights that the ‘trip’ or drug-induced experience can generate – on the other they are claimed to represent a targeted medical treatment for various disorders, through correcting underlying brain deficiencies.

In an interview published in Nature, psychopharmacologist and psychedelic researcher, David Nutt, suggests that psychedelics ‘turn off parts of the brain that relate to depression’ and ‘reset the brain’s thinking processes’ via their actions on cortical 5-HT2A receptors. Others assert they enhance brain ‘connectivity’. The John Hopkins University website alleges they offer the promise of ‘precision medicine treatments tailored to the specific needs of individual patients’. All these claims are pure speculation.

Some promoters refer to psychedelics as ‘antibiotics of the mind,’ arguing that psychedelic treatment is ‘curative’, requiring only one or two ‘dosed sessions’, compared to the long-term treatment needed with antidepressants or psychotherapy. This is an important sales pitch for what is an expensive therapy. In reality, psychedelics do not produce the miracle cures people are led to expect, as experience with ketamine confirms. Some people may feel a little better after a treatment, and then the effect wears off and they come for another one and another one, and get established on long-term treatment just as people do on antidepressants.

Esketamine, the ketamine isomer delivered in a nasal spray, has been launched by Janssen and is clearly intended as a long-term treatment, with randomised trials testing and proclaiming its ‘relapse prevention’ effects (for a critique of this and other research on esketamine, see a previous blog).  The concept of microdosing with LSD or other psychedelics follows the same principle, promoting the idea that small doses of the drugs, taken on a daily basis, enhance people’s mood, creativity and productivity. This practice appears to be increasingly common, with one recent survey finding that 17% of respondents, with an average age of 33, had engaged in it on a regular basis at some point. It seems once unleashed, drugs tend towards a pattern of long-term use, with all the physical and psychological complications that that entails.

So are the effects of psychedelics likely to be beneficial? The psychedelic-induced experience or ‘trip’ has long been advocated as a means of expanding one’s consciousness, of seeing the world in a different way that can lead to new insights and inspiration. MDMA produces intense feelings of warmth and connectedness and ketamine leads to a trance like state. All these drugs can make people ‘high’ or euphoric, but, despite this, not everyone likes the feelings they induce, and some of them, particularly those with the most intense psychedelic effects, can produce experiences that are frightening and distressing- the ‘bad trip’.

Some people might learn important things about themselves through experiencing the effects of psychedelic drugs. Author and psychotherapist Gary Greenberg describes taking ecstasy in his book, Manufacturing Depression, and how the emotion he felt while under the influence of the drug made him realise the depth of his feelings for his girlfriend, which he had not been aware of before.

Personal development through drugs does not have to be limited to psychedelics, however. One patient I knew commented that the effects of alcohol had shown him how to overcome his shyness or social anxiety, such that he then learnt to socialise without it (of course, sometimes, alcohol used in this way can become a problem in its own right). Another patient described how her experience of taking stimulant-type drugs for Parkinson’s disease (which she subsequently had to stop) taught her to loosen up and do things for herself instead of focusing solely on her family’s needs.

But these benefits are not medical or health effects. They are akin to the personal development that people achieve through other sorts of activities and life experiences like singing, dancing, being in nature, sports and many more things. And although the concept of drug-assisted psychotherapy acknowledges that it is the way the psychoactive effects of the drugs are used to promote a process of personal learning that is relevant, why not employ other, safer and cheaper methods? Why not nature-assisted psychotherapy (a walk in the park), for example?

Moreover, as described above, increasingly the use of these drugs is portrayed in other ways, as if they work by targeting underling dysfunctional brain processes. When, and if, psychedelics get a medical license, the psychotherapy is likely to be dropped or minimised. As with ketamine, the tendency of all psychedelic treatment will be towards the provision of the drug in the cheapest possible way, which means the minimum of supervision and therapy.

As usual, official research over-plays the actual beneficial effects of the drugs. In a small, randomised trial comparing psilocybin assisted psychotherapy to a regular antidepressant and psychotherapy, there was no difference on the primary outcome. The trial was still published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. Secondary outcomes that found small differences were highlighted with no consideration of the ‘placebo’ effects of having a recognisable drug-induced experience, and the participants recruited were not typical of those with depression, consisting mainly of well-educated men, almost a third of whom had tried psychedelics before (which means they certainly knew whether they received the active psilocybin or the placebo, and were likely disappointed if they received the placebo).

Most psychedelic research pays no attention to the way the immediate psychoactive effects of the drugs inevitably impact on people’s feelings and behaviour, in a way that will influence mood symptom ratings and may produce the impression of improvement. In its report on ketamine treatment, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) state that there is ‘compelling evidence’ that ‘the antidepressant effects of ketamine infusion are rapid and robust’. Despite admitting they are also ‘transient’, the APA do not explain how these so-called ‘antidepressant effects’ can be distinguished from the euphoria and other mental alterations associated with acute ketamine intoxication. If ketamine’s effects are ‘antidepressant’ then so are the effects of all the other drugs that produce short-term euphoria including alcohol, cocaine, heroin, amphetamines, etc.

Along with pharmacologically-induced alterations, any powerful mind-altering drug is likely to have ‘placebo’ effects; in other words, the drug-induced experience will lead people to expect that they will improve, and this expectancy may, in turn, cause them to improve, or at least to think they have improved. To determine whether psychedelic effects are specifically associated with insights that help people recover from depression or other conditions requires a comparison between psychedelics and other psychoactive drugs such as amphetamines, benzodiazepines or opiates, for example. Similar effects might also be obtained by other methods for inducing trance-like states such as meditation or strenuous exercise.

Research on psychedelics also neglects the profound placebo effect that is likely to be produced by the hours of medical supervision and professional attention associated with psychedelic treatment, whether this constitutes formal psychotherapy or not. Some of the esketamine trials, for example, found that people taking the placebo spray had a huge reduction in their depression rating scale scores. In these trials, participants, who had ‘treatment resistant depression’, had twice weekly administration of the drug or placebo spray followed by up to 4 hours of medical observation on each occasion—that’s 8 hours of professional attention every week! We know that clinical contact improves people’s outcomes in depression, and it seems this high level of contact in the esketamine trials exerted a powerful effect even in people with severe and persistent symptoms.

The current craze for psychedelics also means the adverse effects are being minimised or overlooked. The ‘bad trip’ is a well-recognised phenomenon, and may not be that uncommon. Psychiatrist Rick Strassman, author of DMT: the Spirit Molecule, described how half of the 60 volunteers he injected with the powerful hallucinogen, DMT (N,N-dimethyltryptamine), experienced terrifying hallucinations and anxiety, and he discontinued his research, in part because of these effects. Science journalist John Horgan describes months of depression and flashbacks following a ‘bad trip’, and also reminds us that Albert Hofmann, who first synthesised LSD, also had doubts about it, calling his 1981 memoir LSD: My problem child.

Advocates point out that context helps determine the nature of the drug-induced experience, so providing staff to support people while they are under the influence of the drug, and to process their thoughts and feelings afterwards, should prevent bad trips. On the other hand, a clinical situation might be a highly alienating experience and might even induce a bad trip for some people. In any case, psychedelic experiences are by their nature unpredictable.

There is something fascinating about psychedelic drugs—the fact that certain chemicals can distort sensory perception and produce vivid hallucinations calls into question our normal experience of the everyday world. Some people find their effects enlightening, some do not. This depends as much on how the drug-induced experience is interpreted. ‘How we imagine these substances as “plant medicines,” “drugs,” or as “a doorway to the divine” is just as important as their neurochemical effects,’ as Shariq Khan points out.

Nevertheless, they can be frightening or unsettling at times, and evidence that they produce consistent benefits for people’s wellbeing or mental health is lacking. While one or two doses of most drugs is unlikely to do much harm, the tendency is for long-term use, and repeated use of psychedelics as of other drugs is unlikely to be completely harmless.

As with so many other medical treatments, they have become popular through the potent mixture of financial interests and desperation. If the occasional benefit of psychedelics is to promote personal development through an unusual experience, then there are many safer routes to this goal.

***

Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.

39 COMMENTS

  1. Joanna Moncrieff performs another public service by submitting the modern, sanitized, “public health” craze about psychedelics to skeptical evaluation. Benefits gained from occasional psychedelic trips are not health effects unless that concept is stretched silly. Supervised short-term use recommended by authorities steeped into the dogma of mental illness and psychopharmacology is likely to become long-term use with inevitable complications. As disillusionment with 70 years of usual prescription psychotropics sets in, people looking for alternatives may too easily fall for claims (old and worn that they are) that, finally, *these* drugs, recommended by *these* experts, and taken *these* ways, are the solution. Buyer beware.

  2. Those who claim that psychadelic use assists them in maintaining spiritual enlightenment/ health or emotional/ mental health or helps them in any way are only lying and deceiving themselves. Psychadelics cause brain damage just as psychiatric drugs do. They just seem “pretty” maybe partly because they have been outside the traditional arenas or because they seem to be a “radical rebellion” or their association with new age and other alternative philosophies. But, buyer beware; these drugs are dangerous. If you need to feel better, as awful as “junk food” is or can be; it is better than psychadelics or even psychiatric drugs. And, if you want to have a spiritual experience, take a walk, do art, write, try exercise, call or email a friend, go to your local church, synagogue or temple, or just be still and pray. Actually, this list is good if you want to avoid psychiatric drugs or psychiatric therapy. Any one of these is less damaging than psychadelics, psychiatric drugs, or even therapy. Thank you.

  3. Did any of these acolytes study the work of Hoffer and Osmond, who ran an LSD based program for alcoholics in Saskatchewan back in the 1960’s?
    It appears not, as the acolytes still don’t know how to screen their patients perioerly, a process that eventually took the Canadians less than an hour, and which I’ve learned to do by myself. I even have an HOD test, which I’ve used for that purpose.

  4. Thank you Dr Joanna, this is a very worthwhile article.

    I suppose the psychedelic promoters would be using their professional medical standing to pass these drugs off as very useful. If the NHS and the other National Health bodies and Insurers are prepared to fund these drugs then lots of people will probably start taking them.

    If anything goes wrong with the psychedelics at a later date, the professionals would still be able to use their ‘double talk’ to get themselves off the hook. They do this with ‘present day’ psychiatric drugs all the time – and get away with it.

    Major Tranquilizers (aka ‘Antipsychotics’) have been on the market for the past 60 years and it’s only recently that their characteristics are being documented – and only by people like you.

  5. Why let illegal drug dealers make all the money? The pharmaceutical industry wants in on the riches too. Big Pharma will be aided by psychiatrists along with the FDA and medical journals, which will minimize the deleterious effects and ignore the misrepresentations.

    • Sadly, in that scenario, the misrepresentations will only get worse and continue. Psychiatric drugs themselves are clear examples and the extensive prescribing of these drugs is evidence. Psychadelic drugs are just another version of mind-altering drugs like the psychiatric drugs that cause brain damage and damage to other body parts, too. Psychiatric drugs have been called “pills for personality.” Psychadelic drugs could be called the same. But, the concept of changing the personality through drugs, as we well know is nothing but dangerous. Except for probably asteroids like the dinosaurs or the fear of nuclear war, only psychiatric drugs and their sibling psychadelic drugs have the capacity to put the human race in danger of extinction. Thank you.

  6. It is good to see this contrary opinion on this subject!

    I have exposed myself to hours of glowing interviews about psychedelic experiences, so I know that the marketing efforts for these drugs have reached a high level of sophistication.

    The target audience is more or less obviously New Agers. These are, normally, moneyed individuals with a fervent, if flawed, understanding of the spiritual. They are ready to grow spiritually, yet have that characteristic reluctance to devote the time and resources required to get it right, and, like most of us, hope for a pill or ritual that will help things along.

    Any drug in the hands of the mental health system has resulted in some sort of disaster. So that side of the argument is very clear.

    The societal impact of decriminalization, legalization, and normalization of these drugs is more difficult to assess. It is unprecedented in my lifetime that so many have striven for the barriers to the use of a whole family of extremely psychoactive drugs to be lowered or removed. It’s not that criminalization of these drugs have served society that well. But that doesn’t mean that decriminalization will be better!

    We know that the normalization of the use of drugs in the mental health system has led to widespread off-prescription use of these drugs. We can assume the same pattern will continue.

    I am anti-drug in my basic approach to life. Others still want to see modern drugs as some sort of triumph of science. I am not so sure. They were developed in the absence of a full understanding of life and human beings, and so suffer from that ignorance. I sometimes wish we could start the whole process over again, this time with all the doctors at least as well trained concerning the spiritual side of life as I have been. When reformers advocate for a fundamental shift or change in approach, they are not kidding. The current approach really does not work. And now we want to legalize a whole new class of very potent drugs for general use in society? I don’t see that going well.

    • There are lots of people that use “street drugs” in the UK anyway that would be happy to get psychedelics on a Nhs prescription.

      Theres also a big market of people that would potentially use the drugs if they could.

      If the psychedelic operation is effectively organised it could be very “successful”.

    • I think I mostly agree with you. I would prefer that in most cases people would choose a “non-drug” way; but, especially anything involving what we call “psychiatric cases.” I think we have a “drug culture” in our society that is eating away at us in so many ways and may be our downfall. There seems to be absolutely no justification to use “psychadelics” for either spiritual or emotional distress. Like psychiatric drugs, they do more harm than good and to think that if you went to a psychiatrist to get a prescription for these drugs, etc. and life would be improved; you are only decieving and betraying yourself. Yes, I think they do appeal to “New Agers” Many in the “New Age” movement have written about these drugs speaking of them in a “positive” light such as Timothy Leary. However, it seems if you would stick to “New Age” precepts, you should not need them. But, then, the “New Age” is really just another branch of psychiatry. It is a deception, a lie and a betrayal. The “New Age” pretends to have a more spiritual link to it; while psychiatry pretends to have a more scientific/medical link to it. Both are highly fraudalent. Both promise a life where you need work for nothing and all is “magical.” Both feed off each other. This is because when that “New Age” bubble burst, you go crying to psychiatry for help and answers. You get neither; just like the “New Age.” There maybe some good psychology out there somewhere; but absolutely not in Psychiatry or in the “New Age.” Thank you.

    • “I am anti-drug in my basic approach to life.”

      No caffeine. No aspartame or other synthetic sweeteners. No white sugar or processed sugars. No alcohol. No nicotine. And if you are true to your ethic, then almost all food will be denied by you too, as it is psychoactive. Wow. Ascetics are hard to come by these days so I type in sincere awe.

      How do you approach the fact that your brain and body are constantly producing drugs, many of which are prohibited narcotics when produced outside the body? How do you approach the fact that you are fundamentally a drug-induced being?

      Is your anti-drug approach to life, anti-life?

      Asking for a friend…

      • Tell your friend that the internal controls built into the body are a whole different subject than attempts by others to control the internal functions of the body. On top of that, most bodies must be fed to stay alive.

        Having an “anti-drug” approach is basically a rejection of the “take a pill to make you feel better” message of modern societies.

        And though I consider that I make wiser food choices, it is unlikely that I avoid all external chemicals, as they are so ubiquitous now.

        I don’t consider myself fundamentally a “drug-induced being.” I consider myself an immortal spiritual being who, in choosing to be associated with a biological body, must learn to contend with the body’s various chemical vagaries.

        • I mostly agree with you again. I have read of those who consider food a drug. I know food can be very helpful in combatting various physical issues. For me, personally, eating tuna seems to help ward off knee pain and such. And that’s better than a dangerous, expensive drug. I do need to watch out for the mercury at times and sometimes I call a “tuna holiday or days.” if needed. The problem with most drugs, including psychadelic is that they are synthetically made of human made ingredients. That adds to their danger and to the very very high probability like psychiatric drugs of causing brain damage. For some vulnerable people, even meditation can cause brain damage. We do many times forget how individually we have been created. So, therefore, many alleged scientific studies do not always catch that fact and truth. The other point that is easily forgotten is the bias of the experimenter. Therefore, if I would do an experiment, how I think the result should be can determine how the result turns out. That is why anecdotal evidence can be so important, as the stories many have presented here as to how psychiatric drugs and even therapies, have damaged them, especially their brains. Any drug, synthetic or otherwise that is meant to change any aspect of the brain always has the potential to do damage. Sadly, I did not realize that when I was having those prescriptions for the psych drugs filled. Now, as I know this, I would not even think of taking a psychadelic drug in any form, including marijuana. And, I would advocate or advise anyone to do that. still, we are adults and we can make our own decisions. But, we must consider legal ramifications or the millions of other ramifications, we must deal with as contributing members of society. The world needs us, even if we have been damaged. We do not need to damage ourselves more with psychadelic drugs, too. Thank you.

        • The word ‘Whisky’ comes from ‘Uisce Beatha’ which means “Water of Life”. But if you treat ‘Whisky’ as the ‘Water of Life’ you mightn’t live long.

          It’s only in the last 50 or 60 years that people have ‘come to believe’ that drugs can change things for the better MENTALLY in the Long Term. The Gimmick is to PRETEND the MH Drugs are Medicine. It’s a Confidence Trick.

  7. Rebel – I think you are wrong when you assert that psychedelics cause brain damage just as psychiatric drugs do. I have not found any evidence of this in over 50 years following the research. If you have some evidence please point me to it.

    Joanna makes the remark “When, and if, psychedelics get a medical license, the psychotherapy is likely to be dropped or minimised.” And I think that is the crux of the matter. The CBS documentary that cwyandot posted above, that was done on the Spring Grove treatments that were offered in the 1960s, makes much the same conclusion. Those folk with the key to the medicine cabinet must assume a far more humble position, much as anaesthetists do in surgery, and give leadership to the therapists (the surgeons of the mind).

    Microdosing is being popularised in Nicole Kidman’s new TV series ‘Nine perfect strangers’ (based on Lianne Moriaty’s book).

    good wishes

    Nick Drury

  8. There are people who have been so damaged by some of the mainstays of mainstream psychiatric drugging that they can no longer experience the fullness of human joy or sorrow, the fullness of human laughter or remorse, the fullness of human love or hate.

    They are permanently numbed. Permanently mediocre in their emotional and experiential range

    Many too have been physically damaged by the mainstays of psychiatric drugging and so it is, in many instances, another cruelty to recommend they go find their healing in a gym, a wood, or by involving themselves in extreme sports.

    Allowing sensible prescriptions of psychedelics is to allow an olive branch to people who would otherwise live the remainder of their life in drug-damage-induced mundanity, never again to know euphoric joy, euphoric connection, euphoric release.

    Why should the manics and the manics alone have all the fun?

    On that level, I condone the entrance of these drugs into the psychiatric armamentorium, if only as a form of compensation to those millions permanently nullified by SSRIs, neuroleptics, benzos and so on.

    Some people deserve a high after all they’ve been through. Also, for this to happen without all the claptrap of the New Age, is very welcome too. Sometimes pseudoscientific speculations are a refreshing break from the spiritual bullshitters.

    Bad trips are quite rare, so no need to overstate them or play mock-horrified at the thought of people suffering them. Most people that see or feel bad things simply need to be encouraged to change their focus. Low doses of these hallucinogens aren’t going to send anyone to the moon.

    A pleasant trip from time to time is perfectly healthy and will definitely help people stuck in a rut. These natural agents have been under our noses for a long time and it’s good to see people finally overcoming their phobias and biases and recognising that sensible doses of hallucinogens can form part of some peoples’ health maintenance routines.

  9. Perhaps, it is my, but I am dumbfounded by all those who advocate in one way or another for the use of psychadelic drugs. I am even more dumbfounded to those who suggest that those who have been harmed by psychiatric drugs would benefit by using psychadelic drugs even minimally. I also think there is a lot of “hair-splitting” by what is a drug and what is not a drug. There is absolutely no thing as a “good trip.” This is a lie and is the last thing we need to tell ourselves or the generations growing up now or anytime. This is not healthy. Even caffeine or sugar as much bad press as it gets is healthier. I don’t get it. I have seen nothing from either the 1960s or 1970s that is good about these drugs. And, I was a child raised in those years. Please stop spreading these lies about these drugs. It is imperative we have a culture that no longer worships drugs. It is imperative to our existence as a human species; so we don’t go the way of the dinosaurs—-extinct! Thank you.

    • Again Rebel I think you are mistaken when you say there is no such thing as a “good trip” – I have had nothing but good trips since I first ingested a psychedelic in the 1960s. As I said previously, I think the crux of the matter is Dr Moncrieff’s remark “When, and if, psychedelics get a medical license, the psychotherapy is likely to be dropped or minimised.” I’ve guided many people on “good trips” – and they have thanked me for years after. A good guide is essential and the release of these drugs without the safeguard of good guides is a recipe for disaster.

      • If you say had a “good trip” and have had many “good trips” since the 1960s, who am I to disagree? When I was prescribed psychiatric drugs, I had “good trips”, too. They made me “loopy” and other things until they put me into a comatose state and I nearly died. I had “guides” too. They call them psychiatrists and therapists. I understand completely if you and others who advocate for psychadelics want to distance yourself from these psychiatrists and therapists; but many consider themselves “guides” too; some even make reference to Persephone’s trip into the Underworld and consider themselves as modern day Persephones. So, yes, I can see how you say you have had many “good trips.” But, I am concerned by the fact that so many times we do deceive ourselves about what really happened. I am also concerned what these “good trips” you report could have on the most vulnerable—the young and others, too. We must think what we do. Except for a few things, we must consider if I had children or grandchildren, would I do this in their presence or if they were nearby, if the answer is no, I would say it should not be done. I made this mistake with the psychiatric drugs. I would rationalize taking them by saying that I had no children in my care. This is the worst rationalization ever; because even if I have no children in my care or I rarely see children; they are still affected by what I say and do. In truth, what you say I do not dispute, but I am saddened by it. Are all these “good trips” worth the risk? You might say yes today, but one never knows when the brain/body will rebel; one never knows…Thank you.

  10. So The JHU asserts “precision and tailored” treatments from the aegis of a research lab-in its nascent stage, no less, and then viz psychedelic’s? Impressive! At least Michael Pollan was wise and ethical enough to first experience psychedelics before writing about them-or asserting claims of precision; which bodes the question, how many flight hours will the corporate-MD-shaman administering them have? Well.. this should, if sufficiently undertaken, help expand the DSM V, perhaps to a new and separate sub-species? First as tragedy then as farce… then as interdependent hallucinators?

  11. And later, if ever these people are given SSRIs for depression, they are risking LSD flashback syndrome, and chances are the doctor giving them the SSRIs will have no clue what is happening to them. It happened to me (many years ago), and thankfully I made the connection and stopped taking the SSRIs, and got far away from the drug pushing doctor who I was going to at the time. But never in my life have I ever heard anyone talk about this.

    • Thank you for telling us about your experience. I am sorry that it happened to you. I thought psychadelics only gave “good trips” no “flashbacks.” It just seems to reaffirm the truth that drugs that target the brain and thus the mind are the most dangerous of all. To experiment with them either with alleged “professionals” or “non-professionals” who think they know all about any of these drugs; psychadelics or psychiatric drugs is basically like traveling a blind, dark alley to nowhere. This is not only dangerous, but very possibly deadly. Yes, we do have a “drug culture” and we need to do our best to work towards ending it. Thank you.

  12. I respectfully disagree on this one. Psychiatry is FINALLY trying to embrace something that DOES improve wellbeing. It’s a good thing! Undoubtedly they will find a way to ruin the jouissance of psychedelics, to make it all about kaplan-Meier SICKCARE, but here you are categorically denying the very mentality that this brilliant site is all about: the validity of human experience.

    So it’s trendy. So some people use adjective you don’t agree with, spiritual, religious, whatever. So some people will make money. Who cares. Let them have their pseudo-religious experience. The real issue here is finding a way to escape the tyranny of SSRIs. If one or two doses of shrooms is ‘non-inferior’ to lexapro, then that is a major win we should be happy with.

      • I agree. You can substitute one drug (SSRIs) in this instance for another drug (a psychadelic.) This seems very dangerous to me. As far as enlightenment versus mental health, I will say this—You will find neither either in the “new age” way of thinking or in its sibling, psychiatry, etc. And, you will never ever find it in any drug whether naturallly occurring or synthetic. That famous little mushroom should be of the non-poisonous and belongs on a pizza or as a side to a good grilled steak; it does not belong as a unsanitary trip to who knows where in the mind/brain. Thank you.

      • I don’t know about that. Putting any and all drug use on the same plane is a slippery slope that seems to intentionally lack nuance, and would seem to only accept unconditional victory as progress in the desired direction. Can you really expect to make the leap all at once? Granted, imagining a situation where someone walks into the shrinks office, says they’re depressed, and psychedelics are strongly encouraged in a way that is not so consensual… this is by no means desirable.

        But clarify one point for me. Whats better, two doses of psilocybin or a 20 years on an SSRI? I don’t believe you can convincingly categorically equate the two.

        • I am not speaking about the effects of drug use per se. I am speaking about the “mindset” and lack of awareness that has allowed so many new chemicals into our bodies, to say nothing of the traditional ones. The mindset is way too mechanistic. There are many higher healing forces that need to be brought to bear on the human situation. Psychedelics are just another distraction along that path.

LEAVE A REPLY