This article by Michael Pollan posted on TheNewYorker.com dives into how research into psychedelics, shut down for decades, is now yielding exciting results.
“Many researchers I spoke with described their findings with excitement, some using words like ‘mind-blowing.’ Bossis said, “People don’t realize how few tools we have in psychiatry to address existential distress. Xanax isn’t the answer. So how can we not explore this, if it can recalibrate how we die?’
Herbert D. Kleber, a psychiatrist and the director of the substance-abuse division at the Columbia University–N.Y. State Psychiatric Institute, who is one of the nation’s leading experts on drug abuse, struck a cautionary note. ‘The whole area of research is fascinating,’ he said. ‘But it’s important to remember that the sample sizes are small.’ He also stressed the risk of adverse effects and the importance of “having guides in the room, since you can have a good experience or a frightful one.’ But he added, referring to the N.Y.U. and Johns Hopkins research, ‘These studies are being carried out by very well trained and dedicated therapists who know what they’re doing. The question is, is it ready for prime time?'”