Therapeutic and Health Benefits of Psychedelics

Modern doctors and psychologists are rediscovering what native cultures have understood for millennia- that psychedelics have incredible healing capabilities when used with the proper intention.

“One of the ways psychedelics work is by reducing our psychological defenses. They allow the person to become aware of uncomfortable feelings and thoughts so they can come to the surface and be therapeutically processed. Nobody knows exactly how these things work, but there may be some kind of hard rewiring that goes on in the brain. They may increase neuroplasticity — make the neurons more susceptible to forming new connections.” – Dr. David Presti, UC Berkeley

Psychedelics have been intimately involved with human healing practices since the dawn of time. Before the appearance of medical doctors, psychotherapy, and prescription drugs, people in ancient cultures learned how to care for members of their society physically, mentally, and spiritually with the means at their disposal. In many cultures across the globe, initiation rites, healing ceremonies, and purification rituals evolved that featured psychedelic plants as the central catalyst. Far from being drugs that were abused or used lightheartedly, these plants were revered, treated with the deepest respect, and only used for special occasions.

At long last, this wisdom of the healing power of psychedelic medicines is reemerging in the modern age through science and popular culture, and we are learning to embrace psychedelics as a therapeutic tool in a similar way to our ancestors, with appreciation and care.

Therapeutic Value of Non-Ordinary States

The heart of the healing function within psychedelics is the peak experience- a non ordinary state that transcends the normal egoic functioning of the mind and instead offers an experience of egoless oneness, interconnection, and wonder. These rare moments heal the core of a person, which has beneficial reverberations throughout the psyche. Traumas can be released, behaviors can be reformed, and one’s sense of identity and purpose can be refined. The benefits of this transcendent experience that psychedelics catalyze can apply to almost any psychological ailment, especially when directed via intentional setting and treatment design by facilitators. This is why we are seeing more and more applications for psychedelics every year- psychoactives represent a unique tool and we are only just beginning to learn and re-learn all the ways they can be applied for healing purposes. These applications include but are not limited to:

– Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
– Drug Addiction / Substance Abuse
– Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
– Social Anxiety
– Depression
– End of Life Anxiety

The Challenge

One of the biggest challenges for psychedelic research is the stigma associated with psychoactive substances. In countries like the US, many of these substances are classified in the same category as heroin, crystal meth, and crack cocaine, and as a culture we are still recovering from the backlash of the 60’s experimentation and the war on drugs. But public opinion continues to shift more and more towards an appreciation for the benefits of medicinal psychedelics. This can be seen in the recent wave of marijuana legalization and FDA-approved studies of psychoactive substances, many of which have been promoted or funded by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).

A second challenge comes from the billion dollar industry that makes its money by selling drugs. As Dr. David Presti says:

“…there is a lot of resistance to this from the pharmaceutical industry. The last thing it wants to see is a substance people only use once or twice. They want us to use something every day for the rest of our life. That’s how they make money.”1

But while this industry continues to lobby for their own self-interest, the tide is turning and people are demanding more scientific research, less disinformation, and better access to therapeutic and medicinal psychedelics.

 

Psychotherapists and other experts are harnessing the transcendent power of psychedelics to treat mood disorders, substance addiction, and much more. The staff at Psychedelic Times is here to provide guidance and support through the processes of psychedelic integration and recovery coaching. To stay informed on the latest news and research, join our mailing list, and visit our Psychedelic Coaching and Consulting page to learn more about our services.