Psychedelic science conference highlights therapeutic benefits of mind-altering
Though hippies & psychonauts had their drug-filled run of the 60’s and 70’s, general consensus and harsher laws forced the dazed and confused youth of the time to cut down on their drug intake. Today, however, psychedelics have evolved like any other industry, now being synthesized in facilities and clinically tested for legitimate medical benefits. Psychoactives have long been a hotly researched topic in circles of medical and mental health.
That is why every April 18th to 23rd since 2010 in Oakland, CA, Dr. Rick Doblin and the members of the MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) Psychedelic Science Conference (PSC)gather to discuss with, listen to, and present to each other the latest topics and debates on medical psychoactive use. Among faces found are professors and MD’s from institutions like John Hopkins, UC Berkeley, and Harvard.
Humphrey Osmond of the UK conducted scientific, clinical experiments on LSD usage from early on. He looked at the real medical usage of psychedelics and application of them in hospitals around the world; others followed. We get the term psychedelic from him, which means something akin to manifesting in the mind. MAPS PSC presenters talk about applications of all kinds of psychoactives, such as psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline cacti, ayahuasca, ecstasy, and cannabis, and their presentations create an open atmosphere that allows the true medical and therapeutic power of psychedelic drugs to show itself.
Take psilocybin mushrooms, which MD’s such as Stephen Ross, Charles Grob, and Torsten Passie are planning to delve into thoroughly at Psychedelic Science 2013. A Schedule I drug in the US, defining it as having “no legitimate medical use”, the substance has, in several studies, instead shown an extreme knack for kicking people of their alcohol addictions. In another medical realm, other researchers have shown psilocybin’s use in curbing unmanageable stress and anxiety in incurably dying patients. Doctors and presents at MAPS PSC traditionally refer to clinical studies and hard, scientific evidence like these when discussing psychedelics, and are careful in crafting claims on the effectiveness of different drugs.
Another popular recreational drug, ecstasy (MDMA), was first created in Germany 1912 by Merck for the less “therapeutic” use of making German soldiers less hungry. Since its creation, heavy use in 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s by the drug culture, and late boom in raves and nightclubs, ecstasy is now being heavily investigated for its ability to help patients with mental and emotional trauma. Peter Oehen, Annie Mithoefer, and many others from various nations at MAPS PSC will bring new light to this; many current studies have been aimed at using ecstasy as a weapon against PTSD causing pain in police officers and war veterans.
Among guests, speakers Stan Grof, David Nichols, and Torsten Passie will also illustrate the similar effects of lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, on trauma and PTSD. Famous Dr. Albert Hoffman first synthesized the drug on accident for Sandoz labs in 1938. A Hardvard professor, Timothy Leary, first stirred the pot of medical LSD in his estranged experiments, landing him in over 29 separate prisons around the world. Since then, however, even as a US Schedule I substance, it has gained notoriety in its potential treatment of schizophrenics, trauma sufferers, and various other mental conditions.
Each psychedelic has its own history and life, first starting in a pharmaceutical giant’s laboratories for an off use, making its way to the streets and hard use, and eventually catching the eye of medical researchers such as MAPS and their guests. The misconception that recreational psychoactives are good-for-nothing, brain-degrading, health-destroying chemicals is dead, and more and more often, qualified people from different parts of the globe come together to show the power and effectiveness of medical psychedelics.