“Psychedelics, used responsibly and with proper caution, would be for psychiatry what the microscope is to the study of biology.”
“The War on Drugs,” Dennis McKenna said yesterday to a room full of psychonauts and turned-on Czech students, “has always been a war on consciousness.
“There’s vested interest,” he went on, “in making sure you don’t think for yourself.”
Fortunately, this war is coming to a close.
All over the world, to the dismay of those who benefit from the mass suffering caused by the War on Drugs, this is one war that’s running out of steam.
Public sentiment is shifting in favor of a more rational and compassionate approach to drug use. Take, for example, what’s happening in the United States with the Southeast Asian plant, kratom.
Last month, we reported on the DEA’s plans to classify kratom as a Schedule I drug by the end of September. Turns out, though, public opposition has been so savage that the DEA has decided to delay the ban until further notice.
“Resistance from federal lawmakers and kratom advocates,” Stephen Adams of KCEN News reports, “has delayed the Drug Enforcement Administration’s plan to ban two active ingredients in the herbal alternative drug, which would prevent its use in the United States.
“The DEA could have banned kratom on Sept. 30, but letters and petitions have temporarily suspended any action on the part of regulators. More than 140,000 opponents signed a White House petition to block the ban, which would have made kratom a Schedule I substance — the most restrictive drug classification category the DEA uses.”
This mass opposition to the War on Drugs is only the beginning. Psychedelic drugs, we predict, will be the final frontier of this battle — and definitely the most important one we wage.
Yesterday, we visited the Právnická fakulta Univerzity Karlovy for the Future of Psychedelics event.
The keynote speakers from Beyond Psychedelics traveled to a local Czech university to speak in an open forum about, you guessed it, the future of psychedelics.
The venue was an eclectic mix — drenched with Czech students and psychonauts from Beyond Psychedelics.
From the panel, we saw Teri Krebs, co-founder of EmmaSofia, an organization focused on protecting the rights of those who use psychedelics. Krebs studied neuroscience at Boston University and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. She’s served as an Associate in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical. And she has a bachelor’s in Mathematics from Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, CA.
Currently, she’s living in Norway to study MDMA and psychedelics, with funding courtesy the country’s Research Council.
To Teri’s left is Amanda Feilding, founder of the UK’s psychedelic research hub, Beckley Foundation. Beckley promotes a rational, evidence-based approach to drug policy.
To Amanda’s left is Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Griffith’s focus has been on the behavioral and subjective effects of psychedelics, and, moreover, how they can be used to create spiritually meaningful, personally transformative experiences.
To Griffith’s left is, Dennis McKenna, brother of the late, great, Terence McKenna. Dennis is an ethnopharmacologist who has researched, studied, talked and written about plant hallucinogens for over forty years.
Dennis is also the CEO and founder of Symbio Life Sciences, a company that, says the company website, “connects conscious investors with innovative life science ventures that can elevate and positively impact humanity.”
And last but not least, there’s Rick Doblin, founder of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).
“Founded in 1986,” the MAPS website reads, “the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana.”
Psychedelics represent a paradigm shift — one that humanity desperately needs if it is to maintain its spot on this flying rock.
Especially in terms of the way we treat mental health. Our current ‘healthcare’ system is reactionary and operates under the assumption that helping means masking symptoms of dis-ease. Moreover, it has no concept of transcending stuck patterns, behaviors and destructive ways of life.
“Man,” said Amanda Feilding, “is an incredibly clever animal, but there is also something seriously wrong with us.”
Psychedelics not only help to rip off the masks we unwittingly wear throughout our daily lives, they also give us the tools to hack at the root of wherever our mental ills reside. As shown yesterday, with the suppression of the brain’s Default Mode Network, psychedelics flatten out the hierarchies of the brain, allowing us to regain control over our own behaviors and hit the “reset” button, if need be.
First and foremost, though, we must shed ourselves of this silly stigma surrounding psychedelics.
The stigma is borne of fear and was exacerbated by mass propaganda. America, hopelessly unprepared for the countercultural movement of the ‘60s, readily accepted that psychedelic drugs had no place in polite, civilized existence.
The truth, though, is that responsible and intentional use of psychedelics has the potential to create profound and transformative experiences. Nothing else in this world can create such dramatic and positive change in such a short amount of time.
So why the stigma?
We passively accept Big Pharma’s supremacy in our lives while prescription drugs kill more people than all street drugs combined, yet many of us reflexively reject that psychedelic drugs (which have directly killed very few) could have any benefit for those chewed up and spit out by the Corporatocratic War Machine.
Fortunately, according to a study released by Teri Krebs and her colleagues at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, psychedelics are just as popular in the United States today as they were in the 1960s.
“Overall,” the researchers reported, “rates of lifetime psychedelic use are roughly the same among the ‘baby boomers’ and younger adults.”
Meaning, despite governments all over the world making psychedelics the most illegal drugs on Earth, they persist. Stigma and arbitrary laws be damned.
Beyond just their countercultural use, as psychonauts all over the world already realize, psychedelics have the potential to give individuals the power to heal themselves. They give them the tools necessary to take power over their own psyches.
Of course, psychedelic use isn’t without risk.
“No mind-affecting drug is absolutely safe,” Roland Griffiths has said. “But the risks of the hallucinogens can be managed in appropriate research settings. Unlike drugs of abuse such as alcohol and cocaine, the classic hallucinogens are not known to be physically toxic and they are virtually non-addictive, so those are not concerns.”
Risks aside, looking to the future, psychedelics can change the way we view ourselves and our place in the world as individuals and as a human race.
“I think that these substances,” McKenna said, “are the single most promising tool that we have to understand our place in nature and who we are. Western culture has done much to make sure that this genie doesn’t get out of the bottle.
“Well, folks, it’s out of the bottle. Now we have to know how to use them in a way that’s compassionate and wise.”
Managing editor, Laissez Faire Today