- Psychedelic drugs are extremely potent medicines that are currently illegal
- For a multitude of reasons, it is the high degree of safety with these drugs that will be the key to normalizing drug laws
A global Mental Health Crisis is spiraling out of control. Psychedelic drugs (and psychedelic medicine) are literally the only hope in addressing this crisis.
For this important reason, most of the attention on psychedelic drugs has focused on their amazing efficacy in treating a variety of mental health disorders. However, as the Psychedelics Revolution unfolds, it is arguably the safety of these drugs that is primarily powering this Revolution.
50 years of drug Prohibition
In the 1950s and 1960s, research on the medicinal potential of several psychedelic drugs was well underway. Then, in the late 1960s, psychedelics ‘guru’ Timothy Leary issued his infamous exhortation: “tune in, turn on, drop out.”
This was too much for the political Establishment. Led by the United States, psychedelics and other “recreational” drugs were heavily criminalized, in what would become the greatest law-and-order failure in human history – the War on Drugs.
We continue to see the repercussions from this failed War, even as drug-phobic governments reluctantly begin to normalize these drugs.
- A Mental Health Crisis: two billion treatable (but untreated) mental health disorders leading to 8 million preventable deaths per year
- Putting a trillion-dollar-per-year industry in the hands of Organized Crime
- Rampant social problems directly caused by illegal drug use and/or drug-related crime
- Grossly excessive incarceration rates (especially in the U.S.)
- A major component of racial injustice in the United States
Accompanying this deplorable War was a massive anti-drug propaganda campaign. Endless “warnings” by governments on the supposed “dangers” of these recreational drugs were mindlessly parroted by the mainstream media.
We now know there was little truth in most of these “warnings”. Genuinely dangerous recreational drugs such as heroin and cocaine were equated with (safe) psychedelic drugs and cannabis.
A half-century of anti-drug brainwashing has produced powerful phobias toward psychedelics and cannabis; among politicians, among the general public, and even among the medical profession – which was always armed with the science to know better.
The Renaissance in psychedelic drug research
As the Mental Health Crisis has worsened (due to the complete failure of conventional therapies), medical researchers have dusted off the old research on psychedelic drugs from the 50s and 60s, and begun to build on it.
Why? The drugs were (are) still completely illegal. The propaganda-fueled biases against these drugs are still prevalent throughout the medical Establishment. But psychedelics are safe.
With few exceptions, psychedelic drugs are both non-toxic and non-addictive. Drugs such as psilocybin, LSD and MDMA in particular have especially benign safety profiles.
Much safer than the legal recreational drugs (alcohol and nicotine). Much safer than the vast majority of legal pharmaceuticals.
Would medical researchers have still returned to psychedelics research if these drugs were no safer than most of the chemical concoctions produced today by Big Pharma?
Maybe. But the response would have been both slower and more gradual.
Instead, we see a true “renaissance”. An explosion in new psychedelics-based medical research. A stampede by scientists and medical professionals to be a part of this renaissance. A juggernaut of new initiatives, targeting not only mental health disorders but also many other diseases and conditions.
Obviously, it is the efficacy of psychedelic medicine that is fueling this interest. But it’s the safety of psychedelics that has lit the fuse.
The ‘rediscovery’ of psychedelics by the mainstream media
As noted, in previous decades major media outlets have been perfectly content to parrot anti-drug government propaganda – with little interest in doing any independent research to refute that propaganda.
Today, major media outlets are tripping over each to proclaim the exciting potential of psychedelic medicine to treat (in particular) depression. Increasingly, that coverage is spreading to the potential of psychedelics to address other mental health crises as well.
This 180-degree turn in media coverage of psychedelic drugs has been as rapid as it is improbable. Members of the media have their own powerful anti-drug biases toward these substances (from years of drinking their own Koolaid).
Equally, this reversal in attitude by the media and change in reporting from propaganda to science, has exposed the mainstream media’s previous role in the government’s anti-drug propaganda campaign.
Would these large corporations have been willing to implicitly reveal their own previous failures and tunnel-vision toward these substances and embrace the potential of psychedelic medicine if these drugs weren’t completely safe?
In an era where large media corporations are seeking to censor other journalists merely for criticizing some of their previous coverage, this seems unlikely.
It is the safety profiles of these substances that provides the most direct refutation of anti-drug propaganda toward psychedelics (and cannabis).
When confronted with those facts on psychedelics, it became much harder for members of the media to ignore the science behind psychedelic medicine.
Now, the same corporate entities who played a major role in brainwashing the general public against psychedelics are playing an equally large role in re-educating people on these drugs.
The People embrace psychedelics and psychedelic medicine
Even before the mainstream media turned over a new leaf in their coverage of psychedelic drugs, there was already dramatically renewed interest in (and an explosion in illicit use of) these substances. But with a huge difference versus psychedelics “experimentation” of the 1960s.
Twenty-first century illicit use of psychedelic drugs has been driven by three new sources:
- People using psychedelics (often in microdoses) as a health & wellness supplement
- People wanting the life-changing experience of a “psychedelic trip” as a vehicle of personal growth
- People needing to seek medicinal benefits from psychedelics because of the failure of conventional medicine to treat, in particular, mental health disorders and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
Only that third category of illegal use would likely be taking place today even if psychedelic drugs weren’t as safe as they are. Desperation for relief from these chronic health problems is a powerful motivator.
With respect to (1) and (2), clearly far fewer people would have been willing to risk the potential legal consequences of psychedelics use if they were also worried about negative health consequences.
It is the complete absence of fear toward these non-toxic and non-addictive substances that has induced increasingly numbers of people to simply ignore archaic anti-drug laws.
Now that renewed interest has spread to a desire for reform of these idiotic and obsolete laws.
In Canada, a recent poll revealed that 80% of Canadians now want to see psilocybin legalized for medicinal use. Psilocybin has seen the largest volume of medical research and offers perhaps the most near-term solutions to mental health issues.
In the United States, the epicenter of War on Drugs propaganda, much smaller numbers have been convinced to date of the need to legalize psychedelics. However, many of those who have been enlightened are now very active in grassroots movements to decriminalize/legalize psychedelics at the state and local level.
The safety of psychedelics is accelerating the acceptance of psychedelics by the general public – and the rejection of the entire War on Drugs paradigm. Increasingly, this is taking the form of putting pressure on governments to provide legal access to psychedelics, via either public ballots or court challenges.
In either ballots or court challenges, the safety of psychedelic drugs is a powerful tool in opening doors.
Nowhere to hide for the politicians
Our governments (and the political parties behind them) are the architects of the War on Drugs. This also makes them the architects of the global mental health pandemic.
If psychedelic drugs had not been criminalized, psychedelic medicine could have been refined and deployed decades sooner to prevent such a massive crisis. Now these governments are rapidly approaching an Emperor’s New Clothes moment.
- A massive mental health pandemic is spiraling out of control.
- Conventional healthcare (and the governments who operate these healthcare systems) has failed completely in providing even adequate therapies for mental health.
- Safe psychedelic drugs that could be treating these 2 billion mental health disorders and preventing 8 million deaths per year remain illegal.
Even the perennially conservative state government of Texas is climbing on the psychedelics bandwagon. The state is advancing two separate bills to provide U.S. veterans with access to psychedelic medicine – primarily for the treatment of PTSD.
Over the past 20 years, over 115,000 U.S. veterans have committed suicide, overwhelmingly as a result of (inadequately treated) PTSD. Only one-third of veterans receiving treatment for PTSD today from the Department of Veterans Affairs report any benefit from that treatment.
Meanwhile, in a Phase III clinical trial using MDMA-assisted therapy to treat PTSD, ~90% of subjects report some benefit, with roughly two-thirds being effectively cured.
Both the state government in Texas and the U.S. federal government frequently talk the talk when it comes to “supporting the troops”. Now Texas is walking the walk.
Congress? It recently voted 331-91 against even studying psychedelic medicine.
If psychedelic drugs were not completely safe, the Biden administration (and other governments) would at least be able to make the semi-plausible claim that they were continuing to criminalize psychedelic drugs to “protect people”.
Instead, psychedelic drugs are completely safe. Meanwhile, one American is dying every five minutes in the Drug Overdose Epidemic. One American is dying every 10 minutes in the Suicide Epidemic.
Psychedelic drugs are the only answer to both of these epidemics. Criminalizing safe psychedelic drugs is killing people – in ever-increasing numbers.
Nowhere to hide for the politicians.
Psychedelic drugs are Miracle Drugs that will revolutionize not only the treatment of mental health disorders but potentially many other fields of medicine. However, it is the safety of psychedelics that is unlocking the legal box that has contained them.