5 Mind-Blowing Lessons from Psychedelics Experts
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The Western war on drugs mindset has led most of the mainstream medical world to dismiss psychedelics altogether, but a handful of dedicated researchers have refused to let fear and politics keep them from exploring. These researchers have petitioned the government for permission to conduct research on those highly classified substances, and after decades of scientific drought a few studies have received the go-ahead. Now, the evidence is stacking up to show the enormous potential of psychedelics for treating everything from cancer to PTSD to addiction.
The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a pharmaceutical research and educational nonprofit based in Santa Cruz, Calif. is at the forefront of psychedelic science. It funds researchers around the world to conduct government-approved, placebo-controlled, clinical studies of various psychedelic drugs. Since its founding in the '80s, MAPS has gathered a wealth of insight into the interactions between psychedelics and the human mind. This June it decided to share its insights with the masses by offering its first-ever, open-enrollment online psychedelics course.
The live, 5-session interactive video course, “Psychedelic Science: How to Apply What We’re Learning to Your Life,” co-produced by Evolver Learning Labs, brought together experts in psychedelic science, medicine, art, and spirituality.
Here are five key lessons from the course.
1. Psychedelics could redefine the way we perceive and treat “illness," and could unlock health mysteries like cancer and addiction.
Gabor Matè, a medical doctor, speaker and author from Vancouver, has worked with psychedelic medicine among aboriginal people, as well as in contemporary, non-indigenous healing circles. He contends that therapy assisted by psychedelics--ayahuasca in particular--can untangle complex, unconscious psychological stresses.
As a speaker for the MAPS course, Matè said, “The issue of psychedelic healing goes to the very heart of what it means to have illness in the first place.” According to Mate--and most of the non-Western world--the mind and body are not separate entities, but work in tandem. He believes many illnesses are a result of pent-up psychological and/or spiritual traumas.
“In the Western medical model, illness is something bad that happens to a person usually because of bad behaviors on their part, like smoking cigarettes and getting lung cancer or even having the wrong genes,” he said. “But for the most part we don’t look at the possibility that the illness is not just misfortune but actually represents something about that person’s life. For instance cancer, or rheumatoid arthritis, or depression, or drug addiction, or ADHD, or whatever form your illness takes, may be a representation of what's happened to you in life and how you have coped with life.”