Saturday, August 01, 2015

egodeath has value, but mapping the contours of the subconscious would be priceless...,


vox |  I have a profound fear of death. It's not bad enough to cause serious depression or anxiety. But it is bad enough to make me avoid thinking about the possibility of dying — to avoid a mini existential crisis in my mind.

But it turns out there may be a better cure for this fear than simply not thinking about it. It's not yoga, a new therapy program, or a medicine currently on the (legal) market. It's psychedelic drugs — LSD, ibogaine, and psilocybin, which is found in magic mushrooms.

This is the case for legalizing hallucinogens. Although the drugs have gotten some media attention in recent years for helping cancer patients deal with their fear of death and helping people quit smoking, there's also a similar potential boon for the nonmedical, even recreational psychedelic user. As hallucinogens get a renewed look by researchers, they're finding that the substances may improve almost anyone's mood and quality of life — as long as they're taken in the right setting, typically a controlled environment.

This isn't something that even drug policy reformers are comfortable calling for yet. "There's not any political momentum for that right now," Jag Davies, who focuses on hallucinogen research at the Drug Policy Alliance, said, citing the general public's views of psychedelics as extremely dangerous — close to drugs like crack cocaine, heroin, and meth.

But it's an idea that experts and researchers are taking more seriously. And while the studies are new and ongoing, and a national regulatory model for legal hallucinogens is practically nonexistent, the available research is very promising — enough to reconsider the demonization and prohibition of these potentially amazing drugs.