LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, Ayahuasca, Ketamine, MDMA, and Mescaline. Each of these are powerful psychoactive substances and each is drawing attention as potential therapies for everything from depression, to eating disorders, to substance abuse problems.
But, is this trend a good thing? And have we been here before?
Let's start with the latter question first. Yes, we have been here before. For example, Bill Wilson the founder of AA is known to have used LSD on many occasions to treat his chronic depression and ongoing fascination with alcohol. Wilson did die abstinent from alcohol, but his last words were "Please give me a drink!" And his cycles of depression kept occurring, so no cure there either.
Ayahuasca, the substance that started the new trend 2 decades ago was hailed as a miracle drug. Providing profound insight to permanently change the perspective of it's users and make addiction disappear. Only...it doesn't. I have seen many return to addictive behaviors with in weeks to a few months after touting the strength of it's curative properties.
Laying aside for a moment the failures of these substances. Taking hallucinogenic drugs can be extremely dangerous with no reliable method to counteract sudden onset of a bad reaction. And a good reaction simply cannot be guaranteed!
One man I know thought his heart was stopping, he was being possessed by the devil, and more from the use of Psilocybin. For more than 4 hours he experienced these terrifying thoughts and then suffered PTSD like symptoms for months.
Another person found himself 'coming to' in a public park, he had no idea how he got there. The last thing he remembered was being at the clinic where he under went this 'therapy'. Orienting himself he saw his car parked near by, it's doors all open. As he approached he could see that the upholstery of his interior was shredded; the seats, the overhead liner, the door panels all damaged beyond repair, a knife and tire iron sitting in the drivers seat.
Another man ran naked (at full speed) across the street... head first into a neighbors garage door. Stays in two different psychiatric facilities were required to get him stabilized. It was more than six months before he could return to work and a even longer before his family felt safe enough to allow to live in the house again because his young children had been terrorized by his behavior under the influence.
These are very powerful reminders of what hallucinogenic drugs can do when things go wrong. But the real fallacy in psychedelic therapy is this: addiction, depression, over eating etc, are all chronic conditions. And there simply is no such thing as an 'event' solving a life long condition.
Those who seek out instant cures are seeking instant gratification, the very thing that caused the problem in the 1st place. Professionals ought to know better. But the doctors who started the mega-crisis of Opioid addiction that afflicted this nation in the early part of this century should have known better too. They were all too willing to believe what Purdue Pharmacy reps were telling them "Only 3% of people who use prescription Opiates become addicted" It is those same kind of pharmaceutical company representatives selling psychedelics today. How much do YOU like the interior of your car?