Growing numbers of people recognize the healing powers of psychedelics. We use them to expand our creativity and spiritual lives, to overcome trauma, and to remember our deep connection to the planet and all life. They transform our ways of seeing and our engrained thought patterns, revealing unexpected opportunities that help us navigate an increasingly complex world.
As the COVID-19 crisis changes our society in ways we have yet to fully understand, psychedelics play an important role as agents for healing. There is an increasing appreciation for these substances and their ability to treat trauma, addiction, and anxiety. They also help us to shift our perspective, see the big picture, and connect to what’s most important in life.
Which is why, despite the real risks of legal penalties and social disapproval, generations of courageous underground researchers, healers, and activists laid the groundwork for a re-conceptualization of psychedelics in the public imagination. Driven by a belief that access to these tools is an inherent right to cognitive liberty, many have gone to prison for possessing these substances, and some still do. The war on drugs continues to disproportionately target people of color.
But the tide of public opinion has shifted. CEOs and celebrities now speak openly on podcasts about their shamanic experiences. Forbes and The Wall Street Journal run articles hailing the benefits of microdosing. New research results offer promising data demonstrating the effectiveness of psychedelic-based therapies for treating PTSD, depression, addiction, and other mental health conditions. The FDA has fast tracked possible approval of MDMA and psilocybin for clinical use by therapists. Studies explore possible correlations between mystical psychedelic experiences and improved recovery rates for illness.
The vista ahead is inspiring. This psychedelic emergence comes at a time when we may need it the most. Traditional uses of psychedelic medicines carried forward by indigenous healers are increasingly confirmed by quantitative studies. Psychedelic research offers scientists new ways to understand the relationship between consciousness and physical wellbeing. Brain scans show that psychedelics can lead to positive changes in the brain’s default mode network, the wetware that can propel us into unhealthy behavior patterns. Researchers are investigating psychedelic compounds that have physiological benefits without psychoactive effects. This work is propelled forward by pioneering scientific studies at Johns Hopkins, NYU, Imperial College London, and other universities, supported by mission-driven nonprofits like MAPS, the Heffter Institute, and the Beckley Foundation.
The success of research projects is attracting investors and entrepreneurs. The phrase “psychedelics industry” has entered the business lexicon. Psychedelic investment funds provide the capital, with over $200 million invested in startups to date. Large venture capital funds develop commercial ecosystems to produce psychedelic medicines using pharmaceutical industry business models.
While many in this community debate for profit and nonprofit models of psychedelic drug development, companies are successfully raising tens of millions of dollars in investment capital and planning IPOs. Businesses file patent applications for formulations of psilocybin, while chains of ketamine clinics expand across the country. At the same time, some nonprofit organizations take an alternative path, developing sliding scale pricing and finance models for psychedelic therapies that can reach underserved communities.
This activity is a part of a larger trend in wellness that explores the connection between consciousness and overall wellbeing, including the use of digital technologies that produce experiences akin to psychedelics and meditation. We’re not far from the day when these different avenues for achieving altered states and spiritual insights are woven together into innovative programs that alleviate suffering and support human potential.
We are in the midst of great social changes. New systems for the use and regulation of psychedelics are being created against a backdrop of coronavirus lockdown, economic uncertainty, election season posturing, fake news, and challenges to civil liberties. But we are also on the frontier of important discoveries about the nature of consciousness.
As longtime participants in psychedelic communities, we founded Lucid News to provide balanced, reliable information on psychedelic healing, culture and business. We talk to informed sources, consider multiple perspectives, and fact check claims. Our aim is to raise the bar for reporting and commentary at this pivotal moment
In the face of a global pandemic, we are looking beyond social isolation to a greater collective purpose. We believe that psychedelics make us better people, hopefully kinder and more courageous. They open us to beauty and encourage us to shine light into dark corners. These experiences fostered our appreciation for honesty, ethics, civil discourse, compassion, and our interconnectedness to all living things. We bring this perspective to Lucid News and we welcome you to join us.