Mapping it out

I’m here in San Jose at the MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) Scientific Conference. There’s all sorts of great information available, based on good, solid studies that are taking place.

For example, there is a study showing how MDMA (Ecstasy) can be used to facilitate healing in Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Other studies are showing positive results for the use of entheogens (psychedelics) - particularly mushrooms - in patients with advanced cancer and other end-of-life conditions.

Almost a thousand people are here. It depends which way you look... sometimes it appears like any other scientific conference, with MDs and PhDs in slacks and blazers representing universities. But turn your head a bit and it can look like a Grateful Dead concert. All are welcome.

Our optimism is tempered with a bit of reserve, of course. No matter how good the studies are, and no matter how enthusiastic we are that psychedelic research is (slowly) moving forward again after almost 40 years, it’s obvious that we are long way from having these valuable substances accepted in the scientific and mainstream communities.

A plenary session with Dr. Andrew Weil yesterday afternoon brought that message home. Dr. Weil talked about how the source of research is often more important than the content. He pointed out that a general practitioner figured out that aspirin could help prevent heart attacks back in the 1950s, but it took 30 years until that idea was accepted - when more “scientific” researchers came up with the same idea.

More to come on this interesting conference in the days ahead...