Psychedelic Drugs (aka Psychedelics)

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Psychedelic Drugs (aka Psychedelics)


Throughout human history people have sought experiences that somehow transcend every day life. Some sort of wisdom that might progress their knowledge of self and of the world that they live in. For some reason they believed that the tangible world just could not be all there is to life. Some believed in a greater force that controlled them, some believed of invisible beings that influenced their lives, some of an actual other world that paralleled their own. Many of these people also believed that it was possible to catch a glimpse of these forces, beings, or worlds through a variety of means that propel individuals into altered states of consciousness. These techniques include meditation, hypnosis, sleep deprivation, and (what will be discussed here) psychoactive drugs, more specifically psychedelic drugs.

Although in the modern world such drugs have developed an almost taboo status, it is impossible to ignore the tales of enlightenment reported by ancient cultures and even those rebels that use such drugs illegally today. While the American government has been one of the main influences on today’s society’s negative attitudes towards psychedelic drugs, they have granted some scientist and psychologists permission to experiment with such agents, and despite the controversy and varying results there seem to be many positive uses of psychedelic agents. These positive uses and the research that has been directed toward these uses will be reviewed in the following, as well as a brief history of psychedelic drugs.


Native Americans are probably the people most known for their use of psychedelic drugs. Being a very religious people, their entire society revolved around the spirit world, and some believed that access to this world was possible by eating certain plants that were abundant in their surroundings. In what are now Mexico and the Southwestern United States, tribes familiarized themselves with mescaline, the active ingredient in the peyote cactus. Another drug that was used by tribes in these and many other areas was psilocybin, the active hallucinogenic ingredient of the mushroom Psilocybe mexicana and other psilocybe and conocybe species that grow on the pacific coast of North, South, and Central America. Ritual use of psilocybin and mesca...

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... research the government has allowed scientists and psychologists, there have been amazing discoveries of the capacities of these drugs. It has been proven that they are able to extend psychotherapy’s view of the human mind, they are able to promote massive personality changes, and to enhance the learning and problem solving experience. It has even been suggested that psychedelics are able to enhance any aspect of mental functioning.
One must look beyond the stereotypes that psychedelics have earned in the twentieth century, and also modern science, that presupposes that any thing that cannot be explained within its own contexts either does not exist or is but a fanciful idea. However, the realm of psychedelics is uncharted area, and when dealing with such experimental substances, such as these psychedelic agents, one must proceed with caution, as was mentioned earlier the agents are powerful tools and can be used with skill or reckless abandon, and therefore can yield positive responses or deadly consequences. If used with care psychedelics will allow many psychologists and patients to embark on a perhaps endless journey of self-discovery.
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