What's the difference between psychedelics and anti depressants? Psychedelics have a religious component-- no, not the dogmatic, institutionalized sort you find in the likes of the roman catholic church; rather, the kind of spiritual experiences that help you come to terms with your existence, and your demise. More akin to a shaman than a pope.
While I think the world could use 'psychedelic churches' in a manner of speaking, I struggle to reconcile that with anything possesing a profit motive. lofty ideals alone will not lead to enlightenment.
Although research is quite limited due to regulatory constraints, John Hopkins has particularly interesting research on the subject (https://hopkinspsychedelic.org), with ongoing trials.
I think you're right about the shamanic ideal - at its current state, this doesn't seem to be the kind of treatment you can scale through the form of a pill.
There is also Soul Quest Ayahuasca Church in Orlando which seems to operate in the public.
It certainly feels like there's a lot of demand for alternative (i.e. non SSRI/CBT) treatments for depression. At the same time, there are countless anecdotes of psilocybin/LSD having a profound success on people with these types of mental health conditions.
My prediction is that psychedelics will replicate the success of the marijuana industry, albeit in a much more restricted/regulated environment.
As it stands it's not uncommon to pay around $200/night for Ayahuasca retreats (plus $75/night lodging), and 5-MEO DMT, $200 on the low end and $1K+ in places like Los Angeles, for a 10-20 minute experience beyond experience. I've met more than one shaman/business owner absolutely raking it in, booked solid, turning people away due to overwhelming demand.
Needless to say it's a lucrative market, not out of the realm of possibility to see big pharma getting in on the action if legalization moves beyond marijuana.
"Psychedelic" is mind-manifesting and I see freedom of self expression, freedom of speech as a roadmap into the future, not only the narrow medical/therapeutic context. Healing is important but it excludes people that would self-assess themselves as healthy - so, most people.
While flying up to space to see Earth rotating under could be therapeutic and heal your depression, awaken a completely different borderless understanding of Earth as one whole - becoming an astronaut is not an adequate medical practice at this point, it involves a number of risks, depending where every person is to begin with.
Statistical prevalence of schizophrenia is 1.2% and it's often not diagnosed - so every 1 out of 100 people is a very high risk case that even best, most experienced professionals sometimes can't handle (check out what went on with Olivia Arevalo).
Like diving, rock climbing, base jumping, surfing - most safe psychedelic sessions will rely on other people who are more experienced and can help beginners in person. There is no app that could replace a PADI instructor 10m below water surface.
I think all business models of the future should factor high risk in and model scuba diving or rock climbing - our consciousness is very fragile and psychedelic trauma is real.
In the studies at Johns Hopkins and other places, the protocol always includes a number of therapy sessions before the trip, and an often smaller of sessions number afterward to foster integration of the experience. In addition, there are two therapists present during the trip itself to monitor and assist the patient as needed.
That therapy plays a big role in the positive outcomes. I think these substances should be legalized for recreational use, but it’s important to decide why you want to take one of them and frame the experience properly. I can imagine an iteration of the story where psychedelics are fully legal, with the result being that those competing businesses seeking cash cows don’t make as much sense. In that world, psychedelic therapy is just another form of therapy, and doesn’t also serve as the gatekeeper of an otherwise-unavailable controlled substance.
That's false. Many people report constantly seeing low-key visuals after LSD, and I myself sometimes see the familiar geometric patterns when I meditate with my eyes open. Still consider LSD a very positive and life enhancing experience for me, but this seems very ill-informed and badly researched. Despite my positive experience, I would be very catious about advising LSD to others, especially to people who haven't gone through extensive therapy first.
That's not the classical 'flashback' though, which is generally described as suddenly being back in the middle of it in an overwhelming way. It's more like a low-level HPPD (which is something of an oxymoron as HPPD is defined by being high-level enough to interfere in life).
I'm optimistic. Things work in cycles. I think I know what would happen next. First, the human touch component would move out of the commodified middle class model to high-cost gentrified models and to low/no cost homebrew models.
Second, the middle class psychedelic exposure would result in hundreds of thousands more psychedelically adept humans, inspired to create meaningful, connected change. More than a cure for disease, it would catalyze cultural adaptation.
As psychedelic chemicals commercialise and normalize, new mystical rituals would develop, secular but profound. Classical civilization will continue, integrating science and spirit, commerce and consciousness. As it was, as it will be.
Capitalism does this. It moves in cycles, growing and corrupting, growing and corrupting. But in the end, with gratitude, we appear to live in a good world that offers us a beautiful future.
I've seen this sort of utopian thinking any number of times. If only everyone could just take a trip man, we would all live in love and harmony!
Except it's either just vague pipedreams and semi-mystical aspiration, or it's something more solid like communal living that in general disintegrates in the cold light of day.
In a very practical manner, this has made my interactions with everyone around me much..."better" doesn't feel like the right word but I'll use it here anyway. This is very simple - I'm "happier" (again, not the right word, but it'll do for now), I end up treating others better, which in turn has positive impacts on their lives and hopefully the lives of others that they engage with.
And secondly, well that's not exactly a societal change. Has it made you ready to ditch capitalism?
(edit -- I'm sure your change in mindset is a positive thing, I'm not disputing that. I'm also not disputing that psychedelics can have a profound effect on individuals. But as someone who has used a fairly wide variety of psychedelics over a number of years, I've also experienced and observed that they can induce a false sense of the deeply profound. They do also seem to leave people with this idea they could change the world, but they never really seem to know how)
It's hard to fully capture the damage that is done by debilitating depression or anxiety, for example. I think the statistics are that 20% of the entire population will experience at least one episode during their lifetime. And that number has been increasing.
You can oversell them like SSRI are as well, that would be bad and easy to do.
Study then first and use them, but be careful about the consequences.
That sounds quite entitled. Sure, if you are a well-off individual in one of western democracies, or one of very few riding the success wave elsewhere. For the rest, the world is changing for sure, some things get better, many things (environment, true freedom) are getting worse.
The sentiment you describe was common for hippies too, world-reshaping change just around the corner. But then reality happened. Don't hold your breath
Of course that's cold comfort to the people in places that are still going downhill, or who are "getting better" but still pretty shit. And environmental catastrophe is an existential threat. So it's not all sunshine and lollipops. But I don't think it's reasonable to say we're sliding straight into the abyss, either.
Pessimism has consequences -- and reality is what we make of it.
Psychedelic simply means expansion of the mind and is independent of any particular practice or substance.
Mindfulness seems to be another, or even, “the,” new culmination word for “safe” psychedelia in the west (as contrast with the “unsafe” roll-your-own a.la burning man). We can tell it’s the current culmination word because it’s polarized, the one word with a significant amount of scientific research, but then at the same time oddly clinical and paradoxically overall too LuLu lemon & vitamin water. It just doesn’t seem to have that same oomph as eating acid and stealing fire in the desert, but it’s receiving medical approvals that pave the way for economics to benefit people at scale. Mindfulness seems to encourage passivity, but then it’s practiced by navy seals. At the core, it’s all wrong by placing too much focus on the mind, just like we’ve always done in Latin-based languages.
Whatever the word is, developing a perspective that we individually believe is worth cultivating is the root of a connection between well-being and performance.
It doesn’t sound like a SASS app because it isn’t. It doesn’t seem like a good business idea because business is a dirty word, like mindfulness, people think there’s a way to do it.
Two quotes stood out to me:
“But what we really need are psychedelic models for business - business that defines new standards for integrity, equity and ethics; business reimagined with a technicolor glow.”
“What would I have done if I had known that this would happen?”
The second seems like exactly the right question. If you have an answer I’d love to chat, even just for fun.
Absolutely I think the next interesting discussions could either be about the word, or what to do.
Again, thanks to the author for properly choosing A New Brand, with existing baggage which perfectly typifies where discussions like this tend to go, see comments below.
I should not be listened to when it comes to the words.