Want to travel to another continent, but dread spending an entire day jammed into a tiny airplane seat? While your body may still have to be stuck there, hallucinogens and psychedelic drugs may set your mind free … someday. While the idea may seem as far-fetched as driving from California to Hawaii, doctors and scientists have recently begun seriously researching medical uses of drugs like psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient found in certain mushrooms.
The New York Times had a cover story on Monday about studies of psilocybin and other psychedelics for treating depression in cancer patients, obsessive-compulsive disorder, end-of-life anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction to drugs or alcohol. The studies have so far been positive, but are all only in the preliminary stages so far.
While tests of psychedelic drugs on passengers stuck in coach won’t be happening any time soon, the largest conference on psychedelic science in the U.S. in forty years starts Thursday in San Jose, CA. Organized by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, MAPS 2010: Psychedelic Science in the 21st Century will go through Sunday and bring together international experts presenting on psychedelic research and psychedelic psychotherapy topics. The conference is open to physicians, healthcare professionals, and the general public; however, regular registrations and day passes are already sold out.
A non-profit corporation chartered in 1986, MAPS has a threefold mission:
- to treat conditions for which conventional medicines provide limited relief—such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), pain, drug dependence, anxiety and depression associated with end-of-life issues—by developing psychedelics and marijuana into prescription medicines
- to cure many thousands of people by building a network of clinics where treatments can be provided
- to educate the public honestly about the risks and benefits of psychedelics and marijuana
[image credit: Pyschedelic Adventure]