Will Doctors Ever Prescribe Psychedelics?

Last week on Reddit’s genius Ask Me Anything series, Rick Doblin, founder of the Multidisplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) took readers’ questions.

MAPS has been around since the late 80s and has done some intriguing work on intersections of health, society and trippy drugs, or in their words, they’re “a membership-based, IRS-approved non-profit research and educational organization working to develop psychedelics and marijuana into legal prescription drugs.”

Among the 2298 responses to Doblin’s invitation (as of this writing) was this question:

Do you believe that spiritual drug experiences (such as shamanistic rituals involved with ayahuasca) will ever have a place in modern medicine?

Doblin’s answer:

MAPS recently sponsored a study of ayahuasca in the treatment of addiction in British Columbia. Bill W., the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, took LSD in the 1950s and felt it could play a major role in the treatment of addiction. The spiritual experience help people to accept themselves, and give people strength. So spiritual experiences will have a place in modern medicine, such as research into LSD for people with anxiety associated with the end of life. Earlier LSD research in the 1960s for cancer patients showed that spiritual experiences were correlated with therapeutic outcomes. Spiritual experiences can occur in a hospital setting as well as in a shamanistic ritual. I think modern psychiatric medicine will increasingly combine psychotherapeutic and spiritual experiences.

Food for thought, especially in relation to today’s shifting religious demographics. Spiritual-not-religious? On your way to med school? Keep us posted…

 

 

 

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Evan Derkacz and Lisa Webster have been co-editing Religion Dispatches since the site launched in 2008. They are still speaking to each other.