#7. The Power of Psychedelic Substances
In recent years, an unusual new player has appeared on the alternative and experimental medicine scene, Psychedelics. Clinical studies have shown that many types of psychedelic substances are surprisingly successful in treating disorders that conventional medicine has struggled with for decades, such as depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and anxiety. Humans have known about and used psychedelics since the dawn of the time. Every shaman or therapist will tell you that they’re a good master but a terrible servant. It’s hard to predict their effect. Various tests for military use were quickly abandoned, as there’s not much point in having a weapon you can’t control.
While psychedelics are still classified among the most dangerous psychoactive substances, along with, say, heroin… the taboos surrounding them are gradually breaking down. Renowned medical institutions now spend considerable sums on experiments with LSD, psychotropic mushrooms, MDMA, mescaline, DMT, ibogaine, and other psychedelics. According to a 2008 clinical study at Johns Hopkins University conducted by Roland Griffiths, 60% of participants underwent what they described as a mystical experience. Therapists who work with psychedelics claim that one psychedelic session with a properly selected substance can often replace years of psychotherapy. Some psychedelics, remarkably, even seem to be able to guide the user on their own. Perhaps the best known of these is the Amazonian hallucinogen ayahuasca(an entheogenic brew). Psychedelics are an irreplaceable tool in investigating the hidden mysteries of the brain, changing the lives of individuals and even whole communities. The question is, are we ready for the challenge?