Using Psychedelics to treat mental health is here…again. This isn’t a new idea and many cultures have utilized this alternative method for centuries. This article will discuss more about psychedelics including the 4 (ish) types, its history and where I think it’s headed.
There’s more than one type of psychedelic. The first we’ll talk about consist of “synthetic human made chemicals” like LSD and MDMA (ecstasy or molly). The second is mind altering plants – plant life boiled into a brew is called ayahuasca and the third fall into the mushrooms (fungi) category with the psychoactive component is called “psilocybin”. Oh – and there’s a fourth which is “ketamine” but this works a little differently than the others.
For the record, marijuana is not a psychedelic. At this point, a “psychedelic” is categorized by which molecules bind with which receptors in the brain. Actual psychedelics drugs bind with specific serotonin receptors (specifically the 5-HT2A) and pot binds with CB1 and CB2. Although there are some studies where it does bind with 5-HT2A but those cases also experienced significant and permanent memory loss so lets just say that, for now, Mary Jane does not get a psychedelic pass.
Psilocybin and LSD were banned by the federal government in 1970. MDMA (ecstasy) was banned in 1985. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, a few scientists were allowed to re-open their studies on the effects of these banned substances. I say “re-open” because there were a lot of studies done from the 40’s all the way up to the late 60’s and at one point there were up to 40,000 people being given psychedelic medicine by professionals. Unfortunately there were cases being reported where the effects of a bad “trip” were irreversible mental breaks.
Current warnings give this method of healing or self-discovery a high risk rating and should only be for those with life-debilitating mental health issues (like extreme depression or PTSD). Also, if there is a family history of schizophrenia or bi-polar mood disorder, it’s recommended to steer clear completely.
For my clients asking about this alternative method of healing, I give the “your brain is a huge mansion” analogy. The largest mansion you’ve ever even dreamed of and naturally, there are many doors in this mansion that you can open up – however, those doors might be locked for a reason and you might not actually want them opened.
Although we’ve made a LOT of progress of understanding how the brain works, we still are incredibly clueless and I imagine that in a hundred years, scientists will be wagging a shameful finger at all of us who thought we new anything at all about the organ.
See? I bet many of you thought the brain was a muscle. Just goes to show…
OK – back to the matter. Psychedelics are illegal still. Well, they’re all illegal accept for Ketamine and that’s a whole different video.
MDMA and Magic Shrooms are still not legal! Which is why your licensed therapist could not have given you MDMA in your couples session – which was a video with the comedian Taylor Tomlinson that got a little traction on youtube. Giving a couple MDMA to help in their marriage would be like giving cocaine to a client that lacked motivation.
Back in my hey-day, we called MDMA “the love drug”. Why? Because people on ecstasy “loved” everyone! MDMA is a synthetic (meaning man-made) chemical that mimics the serotonin neurotransmitter. NOTE: it’s a man made chemical that fits into the serotonin receptor and when that happens, all sorts of chemicals are released INCLUDING oxytocin which is the “love chemical” used to bond.
The real problem with this fake sense of wellness is that it wears off in 4-6 hours. Change in mood and behavior needs to last longer than the influence of the drug in order for me to take it seriously.
Not to say that Psychedelics are a lost cause for mental health – they are definitely not a lost cause. Per the research “psilocybins” have been most effective with depression. Even the man-made drug MDMA (Molly, Ecstasy) has helped a lot of people work through PTSD and MDMA is probably going to be the next psychedelic drug legalized (Ketamine being the first). There’s even rumors that mushrooms may contain the cure for PERSONALITY DISORDERS…whoa, that would be huge.
With all of the new technological advances being made in many different areas, I wouldn’t be surprised if all mental health was figured out by 2050. My fingers are crossed.
Thanks for watching or reading and if you like this, share this! Lastly, you can find more emotional intelligence goodness on the website www.meaningtolive.com and until next time…
Jed Thorpe, CMHC.
Leave a Reply.