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Exploring the mind with psychedelic therapy

Life, Death, and Psychedelics: A New Paradigm in Psychiatric Medicine

Just last week RPJ wrote here on the Grail about new clinical trials on the use of psilocybin – the entheogenic chemical in ‘magic mushrooms’ – as a treatment for depression. These trials are just the latest step in the ‘rehabilitation’ of psychedelics as genuine psychiatric tools, as they were in the mid-20th century before the ‘war on drugs’ demonized them and made them illegal.

Some of those previous steps in bringing psychedelic treatment back in from the cold have included trials testing MDMA (the chemical in ‘Ecstasy’) as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the use of psilocybin in palliative care to help patients come to terms with their impending death.

The short film below, “Life, Death, and Psychedelics”, provides a wonderful inside-look at the ways in which people have benefited from these trials.

Psychedelic drugs like MDMA and psilocybin are increasingly being used to treat difficult mental health issues like PTSD, and for palliative care. The field of psychedelic therapy emerged in the U.S in the 1950s, but the drugs were banned in the 1970s by the federal government and set back the exploration of these therapies. More recently, a resurgence in scientific research has renewed interest in the potential of these drugs in controlled treatment settings. Neha speaks with a veteran about how MDMA helped him overcome crippling PTSD and visits a woman whose husband found relief from the anxiety related to his terminal illness after one dose of psilocybin.

To learn more about psychedelic therapies, be sure to visit the website of MAPS (the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies), who have been a driving force behind this psychedelic renaissance – by raising awareness, funding, and other methods of support – for decades.

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