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Debunking All Psychedelic Stigmas

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Debunking Psychedelic Stigmas

Over the last fifty years, psychedelics have been used in medical research in the fight against mental illness. Apart from western medicine, traditional healers have used psychedelics for the human spirits return to peace, and for letting go of the egoic mind. Now psychedelics such as psilocybin, LSD, and mescaline are used for the treatment of anxiety, PTSD, depression, addiction, and the general increase of consciousness. There is a substantial increase in the use of psychedelic therapy globally.

The overwhelming amount of evidence is not new. Psychedelics and plant medicine increase human awareness considerably and create new neural pathways. However, there are still many taboos and negative connotations due to old models of outdated thought. These stigmas root from the prohibition of these substances in many countries, especially for recreational use. But more and more countries are seeing the benefits and opening up. Nations like Brazil, Canada, Israel, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States are leading in psychedelic therapy. 

Since Nixon's war on drugs in the USA, the mainstream media had only portrayed the terrifying side of psychedelics utilizing scare tactics and superstitions. This included stories of people jumping off roofs believing they could fly and a desperate portrayal of America's youth taking too much LSD and going mentally insane. 

As people began protesting against the Vietnam war and raising consciousness through the use of LSD, this awakening was a threat to the system. Propaganda increased heavily and false psychedelic casualties began flowing through newspapers in the sixties.

As Terence McKenna said “Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behaviour and information processing. They open you up to the possibility that everything you know is wrong.”

The social conditioning falls off, the obedience we are programmed and indoctrinated into begins to wash away. There is an inner awakening that can be very strong. 

This is why having a safe and secure container is essential to the process. The truth is, that everything in life is not only what you do but how you do it.

When partaking in psychedelics or plant medicine retreats with guides, therapists, and energetic healers, there is a deep healing that happens when it’s facilitated well. When these medicines are used with intention rather than sheer recreation, they act as an internal alchemizer, an elixir of love, to return us back to joy and lasting gratitude. 

Unfortunately, the current culture is laden with social myths from people who have never done psychedelics or plant medicine and label it as morally wrong because of its prohibition in many countries.

Below we will debunk a few common questions that stem from the social myths and psychedelic stigmas that aren’t grounded in rationality or science. 


Is there a high probability of death? 

No, most likely not, but there is a high possibility you may no longer fear death.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University and New York University have found that “a single dosage of psilocybin—the psychoactive compound in “magic” mushrooms—substantially diminished depression and anxiety in patients with advanced cancer.” 

These were seriously ill patients confronted with the likelihood of death approaching on its hind legs. The patients were able to readjust their perspectives and come to terms with the cycle of nature, life, and the inevitability of death. 

Beforehand, patients were considerably stressed and in panic from their life threatening illness. After taking psychedelics there was an inner management of the healing process. There was a deeper sense of meaning in what was happening to them and a budding of mental peace.

Many compounds such as 5 MeO DMT or Bufo, ease the fear of death and give one a taste of the beyond. Psychotherapist Dr.Dow says that “ You're not thinking about things in a normal, conscious way, because the parts of the brain that are used to thinking that way to save time, or to keep you alive, have gone offline. So now other parts of the brain that are more aligned with the collective unconscious, maybe spirituality, those parts are coming forward.”

Not only do psychedelics not kill you, and ease this existential fear of death, but the change is substantial because it happens neurochemically. According to the Scientific American, “At the NYU Langone Center of Excellence on Addiction, 80 patients with life-threatening cancer in Baltimore and New York City were given laboratory synthesized psilocybin in a carefully monitored setting, and in conjunction with limited psychological counseling. More than three-quarters reported significant relief from depression and anxiety—improvements that remained during a follow-up survey conducted six months after taking the compound.”

Months later there were still mental health improvements. This is not a high or peak experience that happens for a moment and you move on and forget. This alters brain chemistry and creates new pathways. The fear of death lessens, and love enters. No you will not physically die, but your fear of it might. 


Will I become mentally insane?

According to most science, probably not, the risk factor is quite low. Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, states that psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin, have a proactive effect against mental illness, rather than causing it. 

According to the Scientifc American, “Data from population surveys in the United States challenge public fears that psychedelic drugs such as LSD can lead to psychosis and other mental-health conditions and to increased risk of suicide, two studies have found.” There is not a link between worse mental health and using psychedelics. 

Psychedelics affect serotonin receptors, so there is a feeling of goodness and wholesomeness if one can surrender to the enormity of the experience.

From the Journal of Psychopharmacology, research has found that when consuming psilocybin, LSD and mescaline, individuals were “not at increased risk of developing 11 indicators of mental-health problems such as schizophrenia, psychosis, depression, anxiety disorders and suicide attempts.”

However, many times if someone has an extreme mental health disorder beforehand, the correlation of this pre-existing condition can be mistaken as causation. This is why proper screening by a doctor is necessary before committing to psychedelic therapy. Proper retreats will have a professional doctor to assess if a psychedelic journey is right for you. 

Will I get addicted?

The likelihood for abuse and addiction is quite low especially in comparison with alcohol or prescription pharmaceutical drugs. Science challenges this common societal misconception about psychedelics, proving that the rates of harm are considerably low. 

The intensity of psychedelics is quite high, and usage is not partaken in the way alcohol is commonly consumed. It is not for recreational or common place use. Most psychedelic substances are hallucinogenic, making it difficult to do in daily life and consume regularly. 

When used clinically and for healing, it is very unlikely to be abused, the risk factor is extremely low. Alcohol, on the other hand, has a high risk factor and is completely legal. According to Our World In Data, “Globally, 107 million people are estimated to have an alcohol use disorder. 

In a fairly recent study by Journal of Psychopharmacology, from 500 patients during six trials, “For the group of patients taking LSD, 59% showed reduced levels of alcohol misuse compared with 38% in the other group.”

Not only are psychedelics not known to be addictive, they can help to heal addiction from legal substances like alcohol that plague and destroy so many lives. 

Are psychedelics just for hippies and anarchists?

Due to Timothy Leary’s advocacy and social fight for the expansion of consciousness during the sixties and the correlating anti war movement, there seems to be a tie between an increase of awareness & rebellion. 

When doing psychedelics there is a clear seeing the ways that we have given up our power and we see the heaviness of our conditioning. It is true that much of the hippie community used psychedelics as a tool for freeing themselves from mental slavery. 

But apart from the hippie community, many successful intellectuals and artists use psychedelics for personal and professional growth. Anyone can benefit from this medicine, and you do not have to be anti-establishment as Timothy Leary was to do it. You can obtain a high level of success.

Steve Jobs was heavily influenced by the counterculture, and has said that he links his creativity in business to psychedelic consumption. Jobs said that doing LSD was one of the "two or three most important things” he did in his entire life. It restructures the brain and thus the fruits of life grow. 

Doctors, scientists, and researchers advocate for plant medicine and psychedelics due to the low risk factor and huge ability to create new neural pathways, and dropping old negative behavioral patterns. Many doctors, scientists, and professors have taken psychedelics themselves. 

Michael Pollen, a professor at Harvard and novelist, experimented with mushrooms, LSD and other psychedelics while researching his latest book, How to Change Your Mind

He says that “They foster new perspectives on old problems. You know, one of the things our mind does is tell stories about ourselves. And if you're depressed, you're being told a story, perhaps, that you're worthless, that no one, you know, could possibly love you; you're not worthy of love, that life will not get better. And these stories, which are enforced by our egos, really, trap us in these ruminative loops that are very hard to get out of. They're very destructive patterns of thought. What the drugs appear to do is disable, for a period of time, the part of the brain where the self talks to itself.” 

This type of dissolution of the ego, allows for people with mental illness to enter a space beyond their self perceived limitations. Joe Rogan, a famous podcaster says, “It’s a weird experience when you’re just trying to talk openly about how you think psychedelic drugs and [cannabis] are beneficial, or a lot of different drugs, especially plant-based ones, can be beneficial. Ones that have some connection to organic life, I feel like you can learn something from them, from psilocybin mushrooms, from peyote, from marijuana. They can be used as a tool.”


Psychedelics are a tool not a weapon

Psychedelics are a tool for all who want to understand themselves and life on a deeper level. It can be a door into a new plane of existence. 

From creative writers, to businessmen, or even celebrities suffering from mental illness, psychedelics have the ability to help all demographics of people. 

Maybe the stigma about the hippies and anarchists came from the rebelliousness to try what the mainstream said was dangerous and wrong. But now, the mainstream narrative is changing fast. The evidence rooted in science and fact is overwhelming. Yes, psychedelics can heal.


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