Banned Psychoactive Substances Causing Depression, Addictions, and Death.

I’m humbly appealing to the intelligent people on planet earth who consider all the information put before them from a scientific and rational standpoint. An individual who digests the facts and respects truth. If you consider yourself an open and modern thinker, I urge you to read on.

This past weekend I have had the honour of experiencing many profound insights at ‘Breaking Convention’ at Greenwich University in England. Breaking Convention is one of the leading gatherings in the world of multidisciplinary professionals from the psychedelic field. There was the whole gamut of society at this event. From your Woodstock dreadlocked forest pixies, to your straight-cut suit wearing Swiss physicists. The conference contained a fair share of scientific jargon that went over my head, such as the chemical build-up of DMT (Dimethyltryptamine), and content heavy history lessons about drug use in the old testament. However, one message resonated loud and clear to all those attending. The manner in which a large portion of society (outside of the convention) thinks about illicit psychoactive substances is horribly wrong.

I invite you to forget everything you know about the word psychedelic. Forget the hippie counterculture from the 60’s filled with smelly, long-haired yahoos marching the streets to protest the Vietnam war. Forget images of whacked-out teens at trance music festivals convinced they are a dolphin, whilst forming mud angels on the dance floor. Forget everything you think you know about LSD, psychedelic mushrooms, MDMA, or any other banned and highly-stigmatised psychoactive substance.

Now I’m aware that you may feel that the title is slightly misleading. Perhaps you were looking for ammunition to send a link to your teenage son or daughter to drive home your fear of drugs. Or perhaps how smoking pot will causes you to shoot yourself. Or perhaps you’re convinced that a mushroom trip will send you directly to the psych ward. Some drugs can of course be dangerous, if abused. However there is an vital distinction to be made here. What are drugs? Drugs can be anything from caffeine that you can imbibe at your local cafe for £2.50, to hospital grade morphine which is readily available for patients, all the way through to highly-addictive and life-destroying heroine. The many drugs out there sit on a broad spectrum and have a number of functions. So what are these dangerous drugs people are talking about then?

When people say drugs are dangerous, they more often than not mean illegal drugs. You say the illegal drugs are more dangerous because they kill more people? A report by the office of national statistics stated that 8,697 people died in the UK from alcohol related causes in 2014. Additional research by the Office of National Statistics found that almost 80,000 people died from cigarette smoking related diseases in 2014 in the UK. How many people have died from LSD? There have been 12 LSD related deaths in the last 25 years worldwide. The number of people to die from marijuana since the beginning of time, is zero. There is a tremendous error in judgement here. What we have here is it that the most harmful drugs are readily available to society and those drugs with no significant level of danger are considered Class A banned substances. The discrepancy doesn’t make sense.

We have been trained to immediately vilify any illicit substance, but are the first ones to buy a round of whiskys at a bar on the weekend. Just because something is the law, doesn’t mean that it’s right. Interracial marriage was still illegal in Alabama until 2000. In Saudi Arabia, women are still not allowed to drive or use public swimming pools. In Russia it’s illegal to tell children that gay people exist. If we blindly follow laws, we’ll be trapped in the stone age.

Now that we’ve erased all previous beliefs about psychedelics and built a platform of information relating to the falsely presumed truths in law, we can progress. There have been a number of highly-monitored research projects experimenting with psychoactive substances. These studies have focussed on a range of issues such as; Depression, anxiety, trauma, addiction, hospice care, cluster headaches, and chronic pain. In each one of these fields, the use of the psychoactive substances have resulted in a significant positive shift in the subjects’ behaviour, mood, pain scale and all round well-being. The interventions have been reported as nothing short of a miracle from participants. The data and the reports are highly-conclusive and overwhelmingly point modern science, medicine, and therapy in the direction of psychedelic treatments. However the red tape is a mile wide.

Why do we still have a ban on these near miraculous treatments? The people in charge of controlling these substances have it all wrong. Society has been fed a lie and now continues to perpetuate it. . It’s extremely difficult to overturn beliefs that have been ingrained for decades, no matter how false they are. The general public can’t just get their hands on morphine down at the supermarket. So why as a society can we not have the same level of medical control over psychoactive substances that have the potential to dramatically and positively change or even save lives.

What we need is a fundamental shift in how we perceive certain drugs. The war on drugs propaganda from the past 60 years has been some of the best the world has seen. Last year Nixon’s aid stated that drugs were criminalised so the government could target blacks and hippies. It systematically designed a terrifying monster out of certain substances that can help alleviate a vast array of pathologies. Not only are they effective in the medical and therapeutic field, but these same substances can heighten consciousness, creativity, awareness, human connections, and love for the planet. We need to shift our view of these drugs, as well as shift the way we educate future generations about them. All being said, as wonderful as these substances are, they still present a grave danger if not used responsibly. In the same way a car can be a lethal weapon if one is not taught how to drive, so can a psychoactive drug experience. If we mainstream these drugs, we can not only control their distribution, but we can also better inform society and therefore lower the risks associated with consumption.

If we continue in the same way to pretend that drugs are a demonic substance, we will be ignoring those in dire need for psychoactive care. Through psychedelic treatment, terminal cancer patients can lose the fear of their imminent death. Depression cases can be worked through with MDMA therapy. Cluster headaches are documented as the most excruciating affliction that has no known cure, besides ingestion of psilocybin (psychedelic mushrooms). We will also continue to see deaths at music festivals, drug addicts dying under bridges, and dangerous drug wars on our streets.

The general public needs to start thinking about this issue seriously. The stone-age view of psychoactive drugs needs to be broken. The research is overwhelming and the ball is rolling now. It’s time to have more conversations and openness to modern thinking. This isn’t just a movement for the hippies and fringes of society. Not just for the progressive scientists who are leaders in their field. But this is for you, a typical member of society. Someone who has never tried a psychedelic. Someone who fears them. But someone who is willing to have an open mind and look into the potential that lays within your grasp.

So now that we know all of this information, what does one do with it? Follow and read up on different organisations that are trying to spread this truth. Join The Third Wave Facebook group. Their mission is to is to change the way in which mainstream culture perceives psychedelic substances.

Another thing you can do is look up the Beckley Foundation. They are an organisation that researches psychoactive drugs and consciousness, and promote evidence-based, health-oriented drug policy reform. Support their latest research project which involves experimenting with microdosing of LSD. And above all, don’t let the way things are mean that they have to stay this way forever. After all, only a few million years ago we were living in caves. Let’s not go back into them.