Beneath the surface of mainstream American culture during the 1960s was a counterculture movement designed to roil the hegemony. The youth (yes, "the youth”) were adopting eastern philosophy, donning a free-love attitude, revolting against the draft, and experimenting with psychedelics, a word that translates to "mind manifesting" from ancient Greek. LSD may the most familiar psychedelic, but by no means is it the only – psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, mescaline, DMT, and even 5-MeO DMT, which is derived from the venom of the Bufo Alvarius toad, are included in this class substances.
Although psychedelics surged in popularity amongst clinicians and researchers due to their undeniable therapeutic potential, all legal manufacture and research came to an abrupt end by 1970. But there's been a renaissance. From psilocybin based interventions for terminally-ill patients to MDMA guided therapy sessions for those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psychedelics may be redeemed. In fact, the FDA has granted psilocybin and MDMA “breakthrough therapy” status, permitting their expedited review.
Though lest we forget, psychedelics have endured a troubled past in America and in order to shed its old skin, supporters must tread carefully. Ready to expand your consciousness with me? Let's explore the history, neuroscience, and the real-life contexts these substances are being used for today.