Hope for a Psychedelic Renaissance

By DANIEL VELASCO

Drugs are always controversial. Any substance that has any effect on the brain has been often been scrutinized through a controlling eye.

In the book “Peyote: the Divine Cactus,” Edward F. Anderson describes psychedelics as “a horror to the Catholic mind.” He claims that “Spanish Conquistadores saw mind-altering drugs of the Aztecs as “pestiferous and wicked.”

In another book, “Shamans Through Time” by Jeremy Narby and Francis Huxley, it is claimed that the Spanish navigator and natural historian Fernandez de Oveido called indigenous tobacco use “devil worship.”

Because of this stigma, ancient knowledge that was once held sacred has since been looked down upon. Because of this, the world as we know it today is both stunted by its perception of psychedelics, and distant from the potential benefits that they yield. It’s time for us as a society to drop the stigma surrounding psychedelics.

Due to new ground-breaking research surrounding psychedelics, people now are starting to realize their potential and benefits. MAPS or the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies is a key player in the battle for psychedelics.

Recently, researchers have been taking a closer look at the potential uses of MDMA to treat PTSD. As of now, they are in Phase 3 clinical trials with the FDA for potential prescription.

MAPS doesn’t stop there. MAPS also has conducted two observational studies on ibogaine in both Mexico and New Zealand. In the Mexico study, MAPS found that patients who were given the drug to treat opiate withdrawal “observed significantly reduced physiological symptoms of withdrawal after using ibogaine.”

In MAPS’ Psilocybin study with John Hopkins University, it was found that “a single dose of psilocybin produced substantial and enduring decreases in depressed mood and anxiety while increasing an overall quality of life in patients with a life-threatening cancer diagnosis.”

Furthermore, in a study done with the Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia, University of Victoria, Canada, found that in an observational study that “ayahuasca-assisted therapy appears to be associated with statistically significant improvements in several factors related to problematic substance use among a rural aboriginal population.”

MAPS also has both supported and conducted research into ayahuasca, ibogaine, psilocybin and even LSD.

With these findings, it’s clear to see the importance of psychedelics in medicine. By removing the stigma surrounding psychedelics, not only can we push the boundaries of research, but we can also open new doors in the realm of science.

 

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