Psychedelics and new laws pertaining to them

Parnia Ayoubi, Staff Writer

Psychedelics are associated with the counterculture movement of the 1960s but have had a complicated history in the U.S. Psychedelics are a hallucinogenic class of psychoactive drugs. These drugs cause psychological, visual and auditory changes. Among the many stereotypes that are often associated with these drugs, the main one labels psychedelics as harmful drugs that can damage your brain. Most people have negative perspectives towards psychedelics, but they might not have been exposed to any legitimate information regarding it. Throughout the years, there has been a lot of research on various psychedelics. Some of the most well known hallucinatory drugs include Psilocybin mushrooms (shrooms), Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), mescaline, salvia divinorum and more. According to Dr. Ben Sessa at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the psychoactive effects of LSD had been discovered by a scientist named Dr. Albert Hoffman. After him and his team of scientists conducted many different trials, they began providing LSD to psychiatrists who voiced interest in them. In the 1950s, a year after the discovery of LSD, it was used frequently. Many doctors took note of how helpful it was for patients with traumatic memories. It was mainly used for psychotherapy, though it was originally intended to be a psychotomimetic drug which produces an effect on the mind similar to a psychotic state.

Scientists have been continuously learning more about the different types of hallucinatory drugs and the impacts they have on humans. The National Center for Biotechnology information states that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was restricting the use and study of psychedelic drugs until the Controlled substance act of 1970. This act was released for the purpose of improving manufactorally distribution and more. For scientists who have been attempting to research this drug, it can be quite challenging due to the legal obstacles, as the DEA had obstructed the efforts of these scientists. There have been limitations with the amount of research due to America’s Government regulations. Project MK-Ultra was a code name given to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) program that was experimenting with psychedelics from the 1950s to 1960s due to the belief that it could be used as a psychological weapon in the Cold War. According to the official CIA website, there are many documented reports of incidents that have occurred during this “project.” One document that was approved for release on Jan.12, 2006 says: “Dr. Cameron never told his patients they were being used as guinea pigs” and “The CIA does not deny that the experiments took place.” 

Many innocent patients that needed professional help suffered the effects of the experiment and were traumatized. The doctors relentlessly prescribed dosages to 130 people out of curiosity. Another operation within the MK-Ultra project is operation Midnight Climax; where the government employed prostitutes who unsuspectingly lured men to these “safe houses” where the CIA would use them to experiment with psychedelic drugs. These events happened to take place in Marin County and San Francisco, California. Around 1977, about 20,000 documents in relation to project MK-Ultra were uncovered, which led to some of the information being declassified. The government has not completely been truthful with the use of psychedelic drugs and since then, these drugs have been criminalized throughout the U.S. 

Oregon recently passed a new law in the 2020 election decriminalizing the use of various drugs such as psilocybin mushrooms, marijuana, oxycodone, heroin, LSD, methamphetamine and other hard drugs. The Oregon Criminal Justice system stated that decriminalization of these various drugs would reduce the number of felonies and misdemeanor convictions state-wide. California is not as lenient as Oregon, as California still prohibits the usage of psychedelic mushrooms and other natural hallucinogens. A recorded experiment was conducted in the Imperial College Clinic Research Facility in London by psychologist and neuroscientist Chris Timmermann. The patient took Dimethyltryptaminein the form of a bitter brown liquid which is created from two plants- the ayahuasca and a shrub called chacruna. These herbs have been raised naturally by Amazonian tribes for centuries. There are a lot of different ways to absorb this substance into your body: snorting it, smoking it, drinking it mixed with ayahuasca and through injection. After the patient’s experience, they claimed to have distorted vision, hallucinations and an out of body experience. DMT is known as the spirit molecule and is a very intense and powerful substance. The drug can be extracted from various species of toad/frogs, fish and sea animals. The general experience of DMT is similar to ¨dying¨ and being reborn. 

Joe Roegan was a well known boxer for the Ultimate Fighting Championship and overtime, he then began to experiment with different psychedelics; his favorite is DMT because he thinks everyone would benefit from it. He has a podcast where he discusses a lot of different topics and talks to various people about their perspectives on them on his YouTube channel. He is a very free spirited guy and talks to various people about their perspectives on different topics. 

Overall, psychedelics have a complicated history in this country but they have provided insight and have transformed perceptions of some people after taking it. So they clearly have positive aspects too. There are a lot of different ways people can benefit from connecting with themselves and other living beings around them. It is very essential to be grounded on Earth because it is really easy to get distracted and lose a sense of reality. There is still so much for people to learn when it comes to these drugs. Becoming educated of the different aspects of psychedelics instead of just the different stereotypes surrounding them is key. Some psychedelic drugs are known as: Psilocybin mushrooms (shrooms), Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), mescaline, salvia divinorum.