2020-05-29
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How and why psychedelic drugs may help treat mental illness

Photo of Psilocybin (magic) mushrooms

Psychedelic drugs will soon become available as a long-term treatment for a variety of mental health and physical problems.

Small doses of psychedelics are now being studied as an alternative to traditional anti-depression and anti-anxiety medication.

These small doses are called micro-doses and have no psychedelic effects like hallucinations or bodily sensations.

James Fadiman is a psychedelic researcher who has spent years dedicated to researching these drugs.

“When people are micro-dosing their positive emotions go up and their negative emotions decline,” he said at the Science and Non-Duality Conference in 2019.

He explained that commonly used medications like anti-anxiety drugs tend to numb patients while making them better able to tolerate being unhappy.

“Micro-doses work differently. They make you more able to be happy,” he added.

Self-given reasons for micro-dosing in the general population

Psychedelics were once the center piece of mental health research.

The 1950s were a booming era of new discoveries and potential cures to common problems like depression and anxiety.

However, former U.S. President Richard Nixon signed the Controlled Substance Act in 1970, which made drugs like cannabis and psychedelics illegal.

This caused all research into psychedelic drugs like LSD, psilocybin, and cannabis to come to a stop overnight.

In the years since, it has emerged that President Nixon blamed various “liberal” and minority groups for the rise of youth drug use.

Even though research was hard to conduct, it wasn’t impossible. Small scale research was conducted on occasion.

Groups like the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies have conducted research on drugs like MDMA, more commonly known as ecstasy for treatment of P.T.S.D. beginning in the mid-1980s

High-dose psychedelic assisted therapy session led by trained professionals

Since then, psychedelic research has grown as evidence shows that they are a viable long-term treatment for mental health disorders.

Mushroomdispensary.com, a group based in Vancouver, takes it a step further by selling micro-doses of psychedelic mushrooms meant for medical use.

You do not need a doctor’s note to buy from the website. However, to buy any psychdelics you would need to provide them with proof that you suffer from a condition that is listed on their website. This reflects how the first medical cannabis dispensaries operated in the 1990’s.

Activists are trying to educate the public on new medicine, while also trying to pave the way for future use of medicinal psychedelics.

Eric Meloche
Written by
Eric Meloche

Eric Meloche is a journalism student with interests in all things science and tech. Outside of school Eric is an amateur mycologist.

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1 comment
  • Microdosing has definitely changed the way I think, a great example of this is this thought experiment –

    I ask you to draw a square with three straight lines.

    There are at least two solutions to this simple problem. If you have already found both solutions right away you might not need microdosing to improve your creativity. If you haven’t, there might be some learned boundaries that hold you back from creating solutions.

    Solution #1 : “with” vs. “by”

    The exercise asked for a square WITH three straight lines. Not BY using three lines. Just as in “I go to the coffee shop with Lindsey”. Me and Lindsey go together. I do not use Lindsey to get to the coffee shop. When you have been asked similar things in the past it was implied that “with” means “by” in that certain case. Your brain did what it does best. It created a pattern. It induced a general rule from this specific case. But while these general rules might be true in 90% of cases in this specific case it was not true. A pattern that made life easier 90% of the time was holding you back in just this case.

    Solution #2 : No one said “only”

    No one said “only”. You can use as many lines as you want. Four is probably the weapon of choice to draw a square. Same thing here. You assumed that the exercise meant “only” three straight lines. Your brain is great at assuming. Learned patterns of assumption help us most of the time but hold us back in these instances where creativity is necessary, microdosing is a great way to break out of these patterns

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