Mainstreaming psychedelics. Are we there yet?

In its efforts to mainstream psychedelics, the biomedical model runs the risk of proclaiming and defending particular dogmas and orthodoxies. These raise the risk of stifling inquiry into the full psychedelic experience: its mechanisms, meaning, and optimal applications. In this week’s post, I discuss the state of this mainstreaming effort, and suggest how to prevent its successes from prematurely closing the psychedelic mind. The biomedical research model has been extraordinarily successful in re-introducing psychedelic drugs to the larger scientific community Read More …

Why Won’t DMT Go Away?

“Myth,” “arguably bullshit,” and “deserving a decent burial.” These are some of the published statements by reputable scientists reacting to various claims made about DMT. Usually, these words are used to attack “pseudoscience,” the kiss of death for scientific theories that lack merit, are patently false, and objectively falsifiable. Several theories about DMT have aroused these strong reactions. In this week’s post, I suggest that some of these reactions are appropriate whereas others are not. The psychedelic theory of schizophrenia’s Read More …

Mainstreaming “Psychedelic Medicine”

Creating a field of psychedelic medicine opens the window to potential benefits and risks by increasing their accessibility. Rescheduling psychedelics out of the highly restrictive Schedule I is necessary for this to occur. Additional issues of public health policy must be determined, and who takes the lead in shaping these policies requires careful attention. Momentum is building to carry outside of the ivory tower biomedical research’s positive and measured, yet preliminary, findings of psychedelics’ benefit for a number of conditions. Read More …

Misguided Mainstreaming of Psychedelic Drugs: Challenging Experiences

Backlash against the wider biomedical availability of psychedelic drugs is likely at some point. However, we may take steps that minimize causes of a potential backlash. One of these steps is to avoid overreaching. Any failure to maintain intellectual rigor and honesty in such a highly controversial field will not serve the research community well when media coverage turns negative for any reason. The worst thing we can hear is: “You were not honest in portraying benefit and risk.” I Read More …

Mainstreaming Psychedelics: Secularizing spirituality with the aid of Eastern religion

Clinical spirituality research is an area where psychedelics’ placebo-enhancing effects play a very prominent role. This research’s guidelines for set, setting, and suggestion have been rigorously standardized, resulting in the marshaling of psychedelics’ placebo-enhancing effects toward a particular end. These guidelines are an outgrowth of those developed by the original University of Maryland research group in Spring Grove during the 1960s. At that time, the Spring Grove group demonstrated a relationship between a particular experience—the “peak-psychedelic” effect—and psychotherapeutic benefits in Read More …

Psychedelic Drug Doses: From Mega to Micro

Understanding psychedelics as amplifiers of the placebo response helps explain their ever-widening scope of applications—from accelerating one’s spiritual growth to reducing tobacco use. Manageable doses of these drugs may thus be conceptualized as optimizing placebo’s contribution to their observed benefits. The biological correlates of successful outcomes may therefore relate as much to indirect psychedelic-effected changes in the placebo response as to direct effects of the drugs. A “mystical/peak experience” is now believed to be the common denominator underlying the benefits Read More …

The Political Correction of Psychedelics. Part 4. Manageable Doses

In last week’s post, I promised to discuss high-dose psychedelic work. However, as I began writing this week’s post, I saw that it would be beneficial to first discuss not-high-doses. These are what I refer to as manageable doses. Modern clinical research with psychedelics is generating uniformly and markedly beneficial results, both practical and heuristic. Researchers are deliberately administering modest doses of drugs, in combination with rigorously structured set and setting. In this context, modest doses maximize sessions’ effects toward Read More …

The Political Correction of Psychedelics. Part 3. Psychedelics as Super-Placebos

The three pillars of the psychedelic drug experience—set, setting, and dose—are the topics for this and the next blog post. They are inextricably intertwined. Channeling the set and setting toward well-defined goals acceptable by the mainstream requires staying within “manageable” doses of drug. By carefully regulating dose, set, and setting, we are now witnessing the publication of a remarkable series of beneficial and heuristically useful outcomes to psychedelic drug projects. In addition, such studies report a very low incidence of Read More …

The Political Correction of Psychedelics. Part 2: Mainstreaming through the Media and Objectivity

How do the current presentation and reception of psychedelic drugs reflect lessons learned from the backlash against these drugs in the 1960s? And what does this say about their future? In this week’s blog I describe some ways in which psychedelics and their effects are being mainstreamed and attaining political correctness through their biomedicalization. However, by this process, I see a potential risk in limiting our understanding and application of the full range their effects. The media In the current Read More …

The Political Correction of Psychedelics. Part 1. Are We Closing the Psychedelic Mind?

September 12, 2017 “At the very least, we must enlarge the discussion about psychedelics.” Dr. Willis Harman, one of the pioneers of research into the effects of psychedelics on creativity, made this declaration to me while I was in the early stages of performing my DMT studies. We were walking along the central California coast during a break in an invitational conference on psychedelics at Esalen Institute. I was nervously prattling on about God knows what, and he cut right Read More …