- Lewis Smart
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I would like to see talks on the many new studies of psychedelic medicine taking place right now.
In the middle of the last century, researchers and medical / psychiatric practitioners had very promising results studying what is known as the psychedelic family of drugs - LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, etc.
As we all know, things got a little out of hand (in the eyes of government at least) when these substances began to gain popularity amongst people who were using them recreationally and for other personal reasons. This resulted in prohibition.
What is sad is that the prohibition was so thorough that access to these substances became so difficult, even for scientists and doctors, that all that promising research dropped off to almost nothing.
Things are finally changing. Certain studies recently broke the ice, and now there are a range of new and interesting efforts to explore the psychedelic (or entheogenic) substances, and results so far are overwhelmingly positive.
A John Hopkins study found that magic mushrooms provide long term improvements in quality of life and personality. A study associated with an organisation called MAPS found that MDMA is a very potent tool for combating PTSD. A UCLA study indicated that magic mushrooms have potential to relieve anxiety in terminally ill patients. There are many more, completed, ongoing, and in planning.
Sadly, funding for this promising field is still scarce. These drugs are still portrayed as dangerous 'psycho-mimetic' chemicals in much seemingly authoritative literature, notably anything related to drug enforcement agencies, and this continues to cause problems for researches who wish to gain access to the materials and funding necessary.
I suspect that if our society opens up to the possibility of integrating the experiences these substances provide into medicinal, and eventually cultural practise, then we will see many and diverse positive benefits from that.
TED could make a huge dent in the stigma by hosting a researcher, doctor, artist or writer from the psychedelic community.