Psychedelic enthusiasm must be more honest about the reality of the risks.

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Psychedelic enthusiasm must be more honest about the reality of the risks.

Joe Welker

Quote:But if psychedelics are a frontier, we need to deal with this fact: frontiers are dangerous.

A frontier is dangerous, in part, because it is intrinsically a step into the unknown. The frontier, beyond the edges of society and known terrain, has little in the way of support systems, legality, or accountability. As such, it has rogues looking to take advantage of the ignorant and vulnerable in pursuit of a gold rush. Journalist Shayla Love recently wrote an excellent piece on the downsides of psychedelics, which if you have not read, I recommend pausing and digesting first before continuing on.

Just like the Oregon Trail, the psychedelic field has snake-oil salespeople selling dreams that do not align with reality. Even after good trips, once the waves of excitement and euphoria die down, it can be unclear whether the promised land is any better than the one left behind; I imagine some people who made it alive to Oregon wish they had just stayed in Missouri. I assure you that many of their loved ones agree.

Frontier stories also suffer from survivorship bias. I have seen too many psychedelic communities break down through psychological unwellness...
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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(2022-03-19, 08:08 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Psychedelic enthusiasm must be more honest about the reality of the risks.

Joe Welker

Personally, I have done nothing more but experiment three or four times with oral marijuana (I have never smoked).

I always feel the whole abolition of drugs issue has been horribly badly handled over the decades. I mean, the war on drugs has left society in a real mess. Officially all such drugs (entheogens and other types of drugs) are illegal, and yet clearly there is massive drug use, which in turn feeds a huge amount of crime. Cannabis is frequently grown in intense artificial light, which tends to produce the more potent forms of the drug. There has also been a growth in invented chemical drugs (to temporarily evade the drug laws or evade drug testing) that are probably more toxic than the natural compounds. In other words, the war on drugs has actually intensified risks.

Therefore I think it is crazy to discuss this problem in terms of agonising over decriminalising this or that drug. I hope that thought is not too political for folk here!

Lot's of other things are dangerous, but people can read about the risks and decide for themselves whether to take those risks - scuba diving, skiing (particularly off-piste), climbing high mountains, etc, however society finds other ways to manage the risks.

David
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(2022-03-20, 12:04 PM)David001 Wrote: Personally, I have done nothing more but experiment three or four times with oral marijuana (I have never smoked).

I always feel the whole abolition of drugs issue has been horribly badly handled over the decades. I mean, the war on drugs has left society in a real mess. Officially all such drugs (entheogens and other types of drugs) are illegal, and yet clearly there is massive drug use, which in turn feeds a huge amount of crime. Cannabis is frequently grown in intense artificial light, which tends to produce the more potent forms of the drug. There has also been a growth in invented chemical drugs (to temporarily evade the drug laws or evade drug testing) that are probably more toxic than the natural compounds. In other words, the war on drugs has actually intensified risks.

Therefore I think it is crazy to discuss this problem in terms of agonising over decriminalising this or that drug. I hope that thought is not too political for folk here!

Lot's of other things are dangerous, but people can read about the risks and decide for themselves whether to take those risks - scuba diving, skiing (particularly off-piste), climbing high mountains, etc, however society finds other ways to manage the risks.

David

The author isn't saying there should be a legal ban on psychedelics, unless I missed something they're a Christian who has used psychedelics.

The point that I got out of the essay is that while potential is there for positive experiences we shouldn't pretend psychedelics are definitely a full-proof solution to any kind of enlightened state of mind. Their usage, in fact, can carry great risks that are not yet fully understood.

(If one believes in some kind of spiritual world, opening the door may let in some guests who you don't want rummaging around in your mind.)
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2022-03-20, 06:37 PM by Sciborg_S_Patel. Edited 1 time in total.)
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(2022-03-20, 06:36 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: The author isn't saying there should be a legal ban on psychedelics, unless I missed something they're a Christian who has used psychedelics.
Of course, there is one already!
Quote:The point that I got out of the essay is that while potential is there for positive experiences we shouldn't pretend psychedelics are definitely a full-proof solution to any kind of enlightened state of mind. Their usage, in fact, can carry great risks that are not yet fully understood.

(If one believes in some kind of spiritual world, opening the door may let in some guests who you don't want rummaging around in your mind.)

I agree, but I think equating use of these drugs to other dangerous activities makes for a more rational discussion. I mean a tremendous number of people took LSD in the Timothy Leary era, and were the hospitals (or the morgues) full of casualties?

Since banning these drugs didn't stop them from being used, I think it should be clear by now that they are relatively safe.

Have there been cases of multiple personality disorder triggered by LSD (your last suggestion).

David
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(2022-03-20, 10:07 PM)David001 Wrote: Have there been cases of multiple personality disorder triggered by LSD (your last suggestion).

David

That isn't what I meant, think more like the way certain personality issues like drunkenness alcoholism have arguably been caused by spirit influence.

But it doesn't need to be that direct, it can also just be that whatever realities are out there exposure to them may not be positive to everyone.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2022-03-21, 03:19 AM by Sciborg_S_Patel. Edited 1 time in total.)
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(2022-03-20, 11:58 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote:  personality issues like drunkenness alcoholism have arguably been caused by spirit influence.

That's an unfortunate accidental pun LOL
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The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Four Corners programme last night was all about psychedelic therapy:

Psyched Up

The related news article is:

Meaghan thought psychedelic therapy could help her PTSD. Instead it was the start of a nightmare

You can gather from that headline that neither the article nor the show are exactly filled with glowing praise.

(A free ABC iView account is necessary to watch the video, but you don't have to use your real email address - it accepts throwaway free Mailinator addresses).
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Hard to tease out in there what in the nightmare experience was caused by the MDMA and what was caused by the therapists' very questionable behaviour.

This makes no sense to me:

Quote:In the first, her therapists – a married couple – then begin stroking her and cuddling her, they climb into bed with her.

By the second session she is asked to spread her legs. She shies away from the male therapist. She is later pinned down as she struggles against them.
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(2022-07-26, 02:46 PM)Ninshub Wrote: Hard to tease out in there what in the nightmare experience was caused by the MDMA and what was caused by the therapists' very questionable behaviour.

Fair call. Thinking back on the show/article, I can't remember any explicit evidentiary claim that any (psychedelic) drug caused problems in and of itself, but, as you say, it's hard to tease out, and, my additional sentiment is that there probably very well are implicit claims to that effect in the material.

My personal experience with these sort of substances is very negative, so I am predisposed to a critical view on their supposed therapeutic benefits.

(2022-07-26, 02:46 PM)Ninshub Wrote: This makes no sense to me:

Quote:In the first, her therapists – a married couple – then begin stroking her and cuddling her, they climb into bed with her.

By the second session she is asked to spread her legs. She shies away from the male therapist. She is later pinned down as she struggles against them.

Right. This is some messed up behaviour which makes no sense - but as to how the MDMA itself factors in, it's not entirely clear. It does, though, seem plausible to me that the MDMA led her into a state in which she was more vulnerable and more amenable to exploitation by these so-called "therapists".
(This post was last modified: 2022-07-29, 04:00 AM by Laird. Edited 2 times in total.)
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Set and setting are extremely important as stated by Timothy Leary and others and with a history going back to ancient cultures.  During a trip, the client must feel absolutely comfortable.  This web page downplays the horrors of a bad trip (I know - I've had a few) but does mention the possibility of worsening a mental issue.


Quote:However, if psychedelics are truly non-specific amplifiers, and negative and anxious states of mind are common to many mental health conditions, can’t tripping make these conditions worse? In some instances, it may.

In studies on using psilocybin therapy for depression, patients with histories of psychotic disorder, a serious suicide attempt, or hospitalization may be excluded. This is based on minimizing the risk of worsening people’s mental health.

https://healingmaps.com/set-and-setting-...s-meaning/
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