Drugs

WATCH: Psychedelics Could Impact the Future of Humanity

The potential for psychedelics to aid humanity's future was a major theme at Psychedelic Science 2017.

Liana Sananda Gillooly of the ArcView Group, speaks at the Psychedelic Science Conference in 2017.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Cinematic Syndicate

In a new mini-documentary (posted below), researchers, artists, therapists, students and other participants in the international Psychedelic Science Conference stepped aside to talk about the larger implications of psychedelics research and the historic conference. I worked with a small team to help create the film for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), aimed at highlighting the larger themes moving through the conference. 

The film's interviewees paint a portrait of hope for the future of humanity, hinging on a paradigm shift in the way our society views mental health, and how we relate to each other and the planet.

“We cannot have peace in this world until we have peace within ourselves,” says Liana Sananda Gillooly, outreach manager for the cannabis industry investment network ArcView Group, near the beginning of the film. She is standing in front of a series of visionary art paintings hanging in the Marriott Hotel in downtown Oakland, Calif., where the conference took place.

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“Sure, you can go and do vipassana meditation and do yoga for years and do these other healing modalities, but right now for the times that we live in, [psychedelics are] providing this avenue, this way in, that is faster and quicker and more immediately effective," Gillooly says.

Various psychedelic-assisted therapy studies, backed up by neuroimaging research, are showing that psychedelics are sometimes capable of safely reversing psychological issues that previously seemed impenetrable. Government-approved studies have been taking place across the globe, looking at MDMA for post-traumatic stress disorder, and LSD for anxiety and psilocybin (the active ingredient in “magic" mushrooms) for addiction, among others. Across the board, studies have been turning over unprecedented results.

A big theme at the conference and in the mini-doc is the question of humanity’s future. Given our mental health crisis, the blatant neglect of our natural environment and the rise of greed-driven world leaders who have lost touch with basic human values, conversations buzzed through the conference about whether psychedelics could help rewire human awareness before it’s too late.  

At the conference’s opening remarks, Czech researcher Stanislav Grof, a founder in the field of transpersonal psychology and a long-time psychedelics researcher, discussed the grave realities facing our species in a talk titled "Psychedelics and the Future of Humanity."

Watch the mini-documentary on the Psychedelic Science Conference 2017 below:

April M. Short is a freelance writer who focuses on health, wellness and social justice. She previously worked as AlterNet's drugs and health editor.