Decriminalizing Shrooms; Psychedelic Therapy; Pyschedelics vs Capitalism
May 15, 2019 6:55 PM   Subscribe

The Dramatic Story of How Denver Decriminalized Magic Mushrooms. "With a little help from Joe Rogan and the youth vote, the almost unthinkable happened—and set the stage for reform nationwide." On May 7th Denver voters voted to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms, but right now many people seem to be confused about what that actually means. Meanwhile, activists in California are also hoping to decriminalize shrooms in 2020.

Here's more on decriminalization:

Why Decriminalizing Magic Mushrooms in Denver Matters to the Rest of the Country: Some advocates are hopeful the city could become a focus for psilocybin education and activities, like Amsterdam

Michael Pollan: Not So Fast on Psychedelic Mushrooms. Psilocybin has a lot of potential as medicine, but we don’t know enough about it yet to legalize it.

Denver Psilocybin Decriminalization Activist Pushes Back Against Michael Pollan’s Criticism

Here are some recent pieces on the therapeutic potential of psilocybin and other psychedelics:

Inside the Push to Legalize Magic Mushrooms for Depression and PTSD
Indeed, magic mushrooms are having a therapeutic moment. In North America, at least four organizations, each with unique strategies, are working to expand access to psilocybin for anyone with mental health issues, dying or not. These groups hope to undo decades of psilocybin prohibition by removing criminal penalties for possession or cultivation, or by providing access to psilocybin in a therapist’s offices, or both.

They cite a small but growing body of research suggesting psychedelic drugs can, in fact, be medically beneficial with low potential for addiction or abuse. Some small studies suggest that psilocybin can alleviate obsessive-compulsive disorder, treatment-resistant depression, end-of-life anxiety, addiction, cluster headaches, and, yes, relieve pain. There’s also growing evidence that ingesting the drug can promote optimism and prosocial and mystical worldviews, and nurture well-being.
Video: Psychedelic Psychotherapy: Using LSD, MDMA and Psilocybin to Treat Mental Health
While psychedelic drugs such as LSD, psilocybin, and DMT are most commonly associated with recreational highs and headtrips, a groundswell of academic opinion suggests that the substances could be utilised to serve a raft of therapeutic benefits as well. In Australia, official trials of medicinal psychedelics are only just starting to get off the ground. But a small community of experimental psychotherapists—along with self-medicating users—have been using acid and mushrooms to treat mental health conditions for years, with promising results. We speak to some of the people who are at the coalface of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy in Australia—and hear their views on how mind-expanding drugs could be the next frontier in mental health treatment.
One Mystical Psychedelic Trip Can Trigger Lifelong Benefits: New research corroborates how taking psilocybin once forever changed my outlook.
"Experiences that people describe as encounters with God or a representative of God have been reported for thousands of years, and they likely form the basis of many of the world's religions," lead researcher Roland Griffiths, who is a professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a statement. "And although modern Western medicine doesn't typically consider 'spiritual' or 'religious' experiences as one of the tools in the arsenal against sickness, our findings suggest that these encounters often lead to improvements in mental health."

Here are some pieces on the broader political and social issues related to the psychedelic renaissance:

The Psychedelic Renaissance Will Not be Contained: As psychedelics gain influence, an arms race sets off to control use
From various media shamans and mainstream psychonauts, we are taught that under the “trip” we will, for a little while, know and experience the shattering of ego and existence within the universal whole. But, Burning Man aside, any employed experimenter knows that such blabbering is incompatible with the sober demands of corporate culture. It will be impossible, if the drugs are used on a mass scale, to limit the experiences to simple blips of immense pleasure for the weekend, forgotten on Sunday, so we can show up to work with the right attitude Monday. Private re-calibration may work for successful boomers like Pollan or Waldman, who are simply looking for a little zest in their golden years. For the rest, psychedelics will support the next wave of rebellion and a new Timothy Leary to censor and excommunicate.
Combining Psychedelics with Capitalism May Cause Unintended Side Effects
Some proponents of psychedelics are excited about their medicinal uses, some are excited about their potential to change culture, but most seem to be excited about both possibilities. However, for all the exciting research showing clinical benefits, it seems assumed that a better world will result as almost a side effect of the reemergence of psychedelics. I argue that this is naïve, and that social and environmental justice will never be a side effect of any other effort, but can only be achieved through sustained, intentional, and collective action.


Some psychedelic leaders have applauded these developments, revealing their lack of an adequate sociopolitical critique of capitalism or understanding of the systemic nature of injustice and oppression. We regularly hear that capitalism is the best or only “realistic” way to bring psychedelics to the masses. Yet, even a cursory comparison of socialist healthcare models versus for-profit healthcare models makes it obvious that only socialist models are capable of providing universal healthcare, based on need rather than ability to pay. Still, many seem convinced that capitalism is a necessary evil or that it can even be a Trojan horse to gain mainstream acceptance. These are dangerous assumptions.


There are many questions to consider. What is the revolutionary potential of psychedelics? How are they different when used for collectivist intentions? Can they help us to overcome our prejudices, dismantle systems of oppression, and recover from systemic traumas? Can they unite us and help us break through the illusion of the self-contained individual? Can they break our addictions to materialism and consumption? Can they help us to resist hierarchies, redistribute power, and democratize knowledge? Can they help us recapture our imaginations and develop sustainable ways of living? Any movement needs to work hard to act in ways consistent with its intended vision for the future (sometimes called “prefigurative politics”). The clock is ticking, and psychedelics may be our best tools to facilitate the social transformation (and personal adaptation to that transformation) so urgently needed to save our planet and create a just world. As for those who have been assuring the mainstream that there is nothing to fear from medicalized psychedelics, I’m afraid that if we follow their apolitical approach, we’ll find out that they’re right. The revolution will not be an unintended side effect.
Video (including the author of the above piece): Capitalism’s Systemic Issues: Will They Emerge in Psychedelic Medicine and Practices?

Make America Trip Again: Are psychedelics a solution to our political turmoil, a dangerous unknown, or something else entirely?
The left focuses (correctly) on the real interests motivating the actions of those who wield power. Capitalists who control the mineral rights to a trillion dollars worth of fossil fuels oppose action on climate change for obvious reasons. We don’t need a complicated theory of political economy to understand why so many billionaires oppose higher taxes on their income. People respond to incentives, and we need to change the incentives. But different people respond to the same incentives in different ways. A turned-on world won’t automatically become a just one- there are no shortcuts to justice. But power is ultimately rooted in the minds of people. Changing minds changes power.

But psychedelics will not usher in the revolution. They are no substitute for political education and organizing. The insights brought on by the experience are not guaranteed to be true or useful. There are no shortcuts to justice or good politics. But psychedelics have unprecedented potential to make people’s lives better. And if the left should be for anything, it should be for making people’s lives better.

We are facing down the greatest challenges to the continued existence of our species in the short history of civilization. The provincial politics of the 20th century won’t allow us to survive into the 22nd. Runaway climate change, nuclear proliferation, synthetic biology, artificial intelligence, and risks we’re unaware of could put an end to the human experiment. These are problems that will require global coordination, concern for future generations, and a universal outlook to solve—problems that require us to step out of our normal frames of reference. And there is no better tool for changing your frame of reference than a psychedelic.

Related previous posts:

FDA grants breakthrough therapy designation to psilocybin

Underground psychedelic therapy
posted by homunculus (43 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
Here are a couple of recent pieces on microdosing:

'It makes me enjoy playing with the kids': is microdosing mushrooms going mainstream? Before the school run, or commuting to work, increasing numbers are taking tiny doses of psychedelic drugs in the UK. Why?
It’s a trend that first emerged in San Francisco less than a decade ago. Unlike the hippies who flocked to the city in the 60s, these new evangelists of psychedelic drugs were not seeking oblivion. Quite the opposite. While a “full” tripping dose of LSD is about 100 micrograms, online forums began to buzz with ambitious tech workers from Silicon Valley eulogising the effect of taking 10 to 20 micrograms every few days. Others used magic mushrooms. While both drugs are illegal in the US and the UK, increasing numbers claimed that tiny amounts were making them more focused, creative and productive.
Is microdosing LSD a solution to the 'crisis of meaning' in modern life? No visions, no wavering lights, no breathing wood. It’s less about being at one with all forms of life and more about just getting through the day
It was one of the largest formal studies of its kind. The participants — 909 of them, recruited online from 29 countries — included teachers and people who worked in advertising, and ranged in age from their late teens to their late 70s. By gathering responses to an online questionnaire and challenging them to a task to measure their creativity, two University of Toronto PhD students completed one of the first psychological profiles of the growing microdosing community.

“Microdosing” is the regular consumption of small, non-trippy amounts of psychedelic substances such as LSD and “magic mushrooms.” The study found the microdosers scored lower overall on neuroticism and “dysfunctional” attitudes, and higher on a brief “wisdom” scale that measures beliefs like, “I am in touch with my feelings,” or, “I have a good sense of humour about myself.” They seemed more open-minded, more curious and more creative, coming up with more unique and unusual uses for a brick, and a knife. In other words, their mental health seemed to be flourishing.
posted by homunculus at 6:58 PM on May 15, 2019 [4 favorites]

Unlike the hippies who flocked to the city in the 60s, these new evangelists of psychedelic drugs were not seeking oblivion.

referring to taking psychoactive doses of psychedelics as "seeking oblivion" shows a complete misunderstanding of both "oblivion" and "psychedelic".

also i am a VERY BIASED former acidhead but i feel like many of the folks in Silicon Valley that are interested in microdosing LSD are primarily looking at it as a powerful stimulant that doesn't have the stigma of amphetamines attached to it.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:16 PM on May 15, 2019 [28 favorites]

I could stream of consciousness about hallucinogens and trips and all kinds of things here for 3000 words.

I'll just say, I'm pro psychedelic - I think they bring light into human consciousness and we could use more of that in the world. I also think they always need a tour guide, someone who can read a situation with the person tripping and change the situation so steer them out of a potential ego spiral / bad trip. I don't think this needs to necessarily be in a professional setting.

Anyway, I have Opinions. I don't know how this Denver thing will turn out. Interesting idea though. Also, tourism!
posted by hippybear at 8:01 PM on May 15, 2019 [4 favorites]

I was excited about the decriminalization of weed in many states over the past decade, not because I am interested in weed — though I know many people enjoy and benefit from it — but because it hopefully presages the broad decriminalization of psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin.

I also have strong opinions about this.
posted by darkstar at 8:04 PM on May 15, 2019 [5 favorites]

referring to taking psychoactive doses of psychedelics as "seeking oblivion" shows a complete misunderstanding of both "oblivion" and "psychedelic"

...which is really no more than one can reasonably expect from those whose conceptual references for the effects of drugs are based mostly on what it feels like to get drunk, with perhaps a little abuse of the occasional prescription opiate thrown in. Most people just don't have much experience with psychoactives.
posted by flabdablet at 8:10 PM on May 15, 2019 [9 favorites]

Oh boy, do I have strong feelings about this. It’s regrettable that I had to create a sockpuppet account to talk about it, because it’s been so positive for me—sensitive to meds and very risk-averse—and I wish I could evangelize about it.

I’m a suburban lady with a corporate job and kids to take care of, and also general anxiety/depression, and microdosing psilocybin a few times a week has given me more benefit than anything else I’ve tried. The feeling of reacting to anxiety triggers as a “normal” person would is slightly stronger than what I experienced on SSRIs, and there are none of the negative side effects I saw with SSRIs. It’s also—due to my geographic location, spore-identifying resources, and support network—nearly free of cost, also unlike SSRIs. I have more energy, both physically and interpersonally; I am more cheerful; I feel like I have, in general, a deeper reservoir of goodwill and resilience for whatever may come along.

It’s easier to get into a “flow” with work/creative tasks, and I appreciate little moments more. Like, in addition to treating my mental health symptoms, I find that I also just enjoy life in a more vivid and immediate way. At the risk of sounding like a stereotypical stoner or the Double Rainbow Guy, it really is like that sometimes: a peony blooming and wilting, a rabbit in the yard, a nice dapple of sunlight on our suburban street? They are all more noticeable and accessible to me now as sources of joy, even when the rest of life is full of stressful noise.

It would be truly wonderful if more people could benefit from this, and without having to win a jackpot of circumstance in order to do so.
posted by youth caterpillar at 8:27 PM on May 15, 2019 [36 favorites]

So, uh, when people talk about "microdosing" on 'shrooms, what are they talking about? Like what's a microdose compared to a regular / recreational dose? Is it so little that it's not consciously noticeable?

My only experience with such things was extremely intense. In retrospect, too much. No long-lasting ill effects or anything, but damn flabdablet is right in saying that extrapolating forward from alcohol or even cannabis and Rx opiates, doesn't really give you a good idea of what to expect.

Hopefully people are careful, because I think culturally people get cannabis at this point; there's enough cultural references to it that people basically have an idea of what the effect is going to be even if they haven't ever tried it before. I'm not sure that's true with psilocybin. There's going to have to be a lot of education involved, or it's potentially going to be pretty messy.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:02 PM on May 15, 2019 [5 favorites]

I've done light doses of shrooms before, and it was a light and easy experience. It can be done, just like weed edibles can be a light experience, now that we know how to talk about them (and dose them and test them).

A big part of legalizing is we can start to develop the community knowledge base of things like: What is a normal dose? What is a microdose? How do we test for this? What is the difference between cubensis and mexicana? How should mushrooms be consumed? etc etc etc.
posted by weed donkey at 9:30 PM on May 15, 2019 [4 favorites]

How should mushrooms be consumed?

1-1.5 g in a big giant most chocolate you can imagine milkshake blended to beyond creamy smooth. Let sit for 5 minutes to avoid the dreaded ice cream headache. Drink as quickly as your cold tolerance will allow.
posted by hippybear at 9:32 PM on May 15, 2019 [6 favorites]

MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD may have benefits beyond reductions in clinical symptoms
New research suggests that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder is associated with several beneficial side effects. In addition to reductions in PTSD symptoms, the treatment may be associated with lasting personal benefits and enhanced quality of life, according to research published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.
posted by homunculus at 9:45 PM on May 15, 2019

Oh dear god, in my current PTSD world, if I could get to a nice recreational high and dance for about 8 hours and then collapse and then wake up, I might be entirely cured.

I used to do LSD on the solar holidays as a CTRL-ALT-DEL reset for my soul. Worked wonders for my mental and physical and spiritual health. That was a long time ago. Dammit.
posted by hippybear at 9:52 PM on May 15, 2019 [8 favorites]

Here's another good piece on capitalism and psychedelics by Erik Davis (@erik_davis) which references the presentations in the YouTube video ("Capitalism’s Systemic Issues") in the OP:

Capitalism on Psychedelics: The Mainstreaming of an Underground
This is not a comfortable stance for those of us who believe that, as Nickles later put it, today’s dominant culture is not a reality to be accommodated, but an existential threat to be resisted. Along these lines, Geoff Bathje followed up Doblin’s presentation by repeating arguments against capitalism familiar to anyone who has been paying wide-screen attention to the political landscape in recent years. His strongest points concerned the way that psychedelic therapy, applied as “solutions” to individual psychological problems rather than broader social conditions, risks simply feeding into the self-improvement logic that increasingly underscores capitalist subjectivity, and that has already shown a remarkable capacity to absorb, defang, and redirect potentially transformative practices like yoga and mindfulness meditation. In this way, psychedelics may—and already are—contributing to the cancer that Bathje calls “elite perfectibility.”
posted by homunculus at 9:57 PM on May 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

posted by growabrain at 10:15 PM on May 15, 2019

i feel like many of the folks in Silicon Valley that are interested in microdosing LSD are primarily looking at it as a powerful stimulant that doesn't have the stigma of amphetamines attached to it.

I don't think that's true - I think ultimately there really isn't a huge amount of stigma attached to work-related use of Ritalin or Adderall and they're already legal and not difficult to obtain. There's a different mystique in Silicon Valley around LSD, probably in annoyingly large part because Steve Jobs spoke so positively about his experiences with it. Lots of Valley types fancy themselves to be secret creative visionaries if they could only unlock that potential - but they're also pretty conservative about what they're willing to do to their minds. Microdosing seems to walk the line nicely between "Yeah I use acid just like Steve Jobs did, what of it" and "but I can still make it to work and CRUSH IT." Any stimulant effects are just a bonus.
posted by potrzebie at 10:18 PM on May 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

Sadly, the education of the youth of amerika is declining in more than one way. The other day I was at the grocery store and the checker was unable to identify a Psilocybe azurescens mushroom. And no, she wasn't new...and to make matters worse the checker next to her didn't know either.
posted by peeedro at 10:24 PM on May 15, 2019 [17 favorites]

I knew I forgot something: I'd meant to include this piece in the OP, but I spaced it. Oops. Oh well, here it is now:

The extraordinary therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs, explained: I spent months talking to psychedelic guides and researchers. Here’s what I learned.
In October, the Food and Drug Administration took the extraordinary step of granting psilocybin therapy for depression a “breakthrough therapy” designation. That means the treatment has demonstrated such potential that the FDA has decided to expedite its development and review process. It’s a sign of how far the research and the public perception of psychedelics have come.

It’s because of this progress that we have to think seriously about what comes next and how we would integrate psychedelics into the broader culture. I’ve spent the past three months talking with guides, researchers, and therapists who are training clinicians to do psychedelic-assisted therapy. I’ve participated in underground ceremonies, and I’ve spoken to people who claim to have conquered their drug addictions after a single psychedelic experience.

Our current laws sanction various poisons, including booze and cigarettes. These are drugs that destroy lives and feed addictions. And yet one of the most striking things about the recent (limited) psychedelic research is that the drugs do not appear to be addictive or have adverse effects when a guide is involved. Many researchers believe these drugs, when used under the supervision of trained professionals, could revolutionize mental health care.
posted by homunculus at 10:38 PM on May 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

What, have they cut funding for mycology classes?
posted by flabdablet at 10:38 PM on May 15, 2019

There's a different mystique in Silicon Valley around LSD

If you really want to understand this, let me recommend the book What The Dormouse Said. (If there were logs of certain conferences on The WELL from about 30 years ago, those would be a better place to look.) The counterculture mythology persisted a long time. Even those who have come long after and have no connection to the Old Hackers have a kind of superstitious reverence for their culture; remember the FPP a week or so ago, written by a woman working for an unremarkable San Francisco startup, in which the company had one guy on staff who had a CS degree from Stanford and used the word grok and was therefore treated with a respectful reverence by the tech-bros.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 10:42 PM on May 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

It’s a sign of how far the research and the public perception of psychedelics have come... Many researchers believe these drugs, when used under the supervision of trained professionals, could revolutionize mental health care.

An ancient pouch reveals the hallucinogen stash of an Andes shaman - "South American shamans in the Andes Mountains carried mind-altering ingredients 1,000 years ago, a study finds... One artifact in the radiocarbon-dated bag, a pouch stitched out of three fox snouts, contains chemical traces of five mind-altering substances obtained from at least three plants, say bioarchaeologist Melanie Miller of the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand and her colleagues." (via)
posted by kliuless at 11:01 PM on May 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Here's another quote from the above piece ("The extraordinary therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs, explained") by Sean Illing (@seanilling):
The best metaphor I’ve heard to describe what psychedelics does to the human mind comes from Robin Carhart-Harris, a psychedelic researcher at Imperial College in London. He said we should think of the mind as a ski slope. Every ski slope develops grooves as more and more people make their way down the hill. As those grooves deepen over time, it becomes harder to ski around them.

Like a ski slope, Carhart-Harris argues, our minds develop patterns as we navigate the world. These patterns harden as you get older. After a while, you stop realizing how conditioned you’ve become — you’re just responding to stimuli in predictable ways. Eventually, your brain becomes what Michael Pollan has aptly called an “uncertainty-reducing machine,” obsessed with securing the ego and locked in uncontrollable loops that reinforce self-destructive habits.

Taking psychedelics is like shaking the snow globe, Carhart-Harris said. It disrupts these patterns and explodes cognitive barriers. It also interacts with what’s called the default mode network (DMN), the part of the brain associated with mental chatter, self-absorption, memories, and emotions. Anytime you’re anxious about the future or fretting over the past, or engaged in compulsive self-reflection, this part of the brain lights up. When researchers looked at images of brains on psychedelics, they discovered that the DMN shuts down almost entirely.

Think of it this way: You spend your whole life in this body, and because you’re always at the center of your experience, you become trapped in your own drama, your own narrative. But if you pay close attention, say, in a deep meditation practice, you’ll discover that the experience of self is an illusion. Yet the sensation that there’s a “you” separate and apart from the world is very hard to shake; it’s as though we’re wired to see the world this way.

The only time I’ve ever been able to cut through this ego structure is under the influence of psychedelics (in my case, ayahuasca). I was able to see myself from outside my self, to see the world from the perspective of nowhere and everywhere all at once, and suddenly this horror show of self-regard stopped. And I believe I learned something about the world that I could not have learned any other way, something that altered how I think about, well, everything.
posted by homunculus at 11:15 PM on May 15, 2019 [13 favorites]

All I want to share is this picture I took last week of some P. mexicana, originally known as teonanacatl, in my bathroom greenhouse.
posted by Dr. Curare at 11:19 PM on May 15, 2019 [6 favorites]

I read (actually had it read to me by the author, Audible)
A Really Good Day
How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life
By: Ayelet Waldman

It is a great read (listen), I really trust Waldman, she's not a loose cannon, she's not some barefooted mope wearing tie-dyed shirts and ratty jeans, she's a citizen, and she microdosed for a month and wrote about it. I do believe it helped her and has helped many others and will help many, many more. The biggest problem with it right now is that you can't tell if you're getting the correct dose, and the reason for that is that the drugs in question are still illegal. Because we have to have A War On Drugs, you see. Because that gives the state much, much more room to infringe upon our rights. But I'll not go down *that* road, because I'd almost certainly get all preachy, and all finger-wavey, gesticulating wildly, etc.


Bill Hick's take on psilocybin. Really fun.


Myself, I had *terrible* experiences with LSD. There are some ppl who should not be even in the same zip code as LSD, and I am one of them. It was Not Fun.

But I had really great experiences on psilocybin, it was a much gentler run. I didn't do it too much, I was too spooked by my experience(s) with LSD. But the few times I took psilocybin, I was able to maintain. Anymore, I know that It Is Not A Good Idea for me to take *any* drugs that don't come out of a bottle that has my name printed on it because Reasons. But if those Reasons were to magically disappear, and if I could find a way to make certain that it is indeed an accurate microdose, I'd be one of the first in line.


It's great that this door is opening. Aldous Huxley would be proud of us. And now that the door is cracked, it's going to open all around the country, same as has happened with marijuana.

Great news. Great post.
posted by dancestoblue at 12:25 AM on May 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

Sadly, the education of the youth of amerika is declining in more than one way. The other day I was at the grocery store and the checker was unable to identify a Psilocybe azurescens mushroom. And no, she wasn't new...and to make matters worse the checker next to her didn't know either.
I blame the ubiquitous produce stickers. In my day, the checkers had to memorize. “Bananas! 4467! Vidalia onions! 0601! Shrooms! 11351!”
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 6:34 AM on May 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Im here for this
posted by nikaspark at 6:39 AM on May 16, 2019

I was at the grocery store and the checker was unable to identify a Psilocybe azurescens mushroom.

I ate a Psilocybe azurescens once and it sang Charlie Daniels to me.

In my day, the checkers had to memorize. “Bananas! 4467! Vidalia onions! 0601! Shrooms! 11351!

"I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel?"
posted by octobersurprise at 7:19 AM on May 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

John Andrew (@mapsofthemind): Psychedelics & Meditation – How They’ve Informed Each Other On My Path
Psychedelics and meditation have both had a strong influence on my life and are somehow inextricably intertwined. I first got interested in meditation in the aftermath of primary experiences with LSD, and now meditation, in some way or another, informs every psychedelic session I take.

There is dispute in the Buddhist community about the value of psychedelics ‘on the path’ and if you’re interested in the intersection of Buddhism and psychedelics, I highly recommend the book Zig Zag Zen. There are plenty of other articles on this topic, but today I’m just gonna and share a bit of my story, and how these two things have weaved their way into my life.
posted by homunculus at 9:55 AM on May 16, 2019

Rae Nieves (@raeniev): How My First LSD Trip Led Me to Accept My Sexuality
I’ve tried many different drugs, including LSD on other occasions, but these experiences have had nowhere near as lasting an impact as my first trip. I’ve returned to a high level of skepticism regarding the universe’s intentions toward me, if it has any, but I still haven’t lost the certainty that no matter what happens, I’m going to be okay. I no longer crave death.

I can’t say that I never would have realized I was gay if I hadn’t dropped that tab, but the trip accelerated a journey toward self-acceptance that could have taken years.


The effects of the drug wore off, but the epiphany was indelible. I’d never felt anything like that for my boyfriend, or any man, and knew I never would. And in the warm glow of the acid, that feeling seemed so pure that it could never hurt anyone, so visceral that I would be a fool to deny it or run from it. After that moment, I was incapable of ever again lying to myself about who I was.
posted by homunculus at 10:02 AM on May 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

> It's great that this door is opening. Aldous Huxley would be proud of us.

Speaking of Huxley: The politics of transcendence and the war on drugs
posted by homunculus at 10:30 AM on May 16, 2019

More by Sean Illing: The brutal mirror: What the psychedelic drug ayahuasca showed me about my life.

I have mixed feelings about a few things in that piece, but his experience isn't too dissimilar from the worst (best?) acid trip I ever had. And I think it yielded some insights, but they were insights that I was entirely incapable of absorbing or applying at the time and which, in fact, I think I largely misinterpreted for many, many years. Which leads me to believe that it's one thing to have these insights, another thing to actually work through them in productive ways.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:07 AM on May 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

> His strongest points concerned the way that psychedelic therapy, applied as “solutions” to individual psychological problems rather than broader social conditions, risks simply feeding into the self-improvement logic that increasingly underscores capitalist subjectivity, and that has already shown a remarkable capacity to absorb, defang, and redirect potentially transformative practices like yoga and mindfulness meditation. In this way, psychedelics may—and already are—contributing to the cancer that Bathje calls “elite perfectibility.”

Here's more on this topic by David Forbes: How capitalism captured the mindfulness industry: The secular technique and its relativist lack of a moral foundation has opened itself up to a host of dubious uses, called out by its critics as McMindfulness
The technical, neutral definition of mindfulness and its relativist lack of a moral foundation has opened up secular mindfulness to a host of dubious uses, now called out by its critics as McMindfulness. McMindfulness occurs when mindfulness is used, with intention or unwittingly, for self-serving and ego-enhancing purposes that run counter to both Buddhist and Abrahamic prophetic teachings to let go of ego-attachment and enact skillful compassion for everyone.

McMindfulness aims to reduce the stress of the private individual and does not admit to any interest in the social causes of stress

Instead of letting go of the ego, McMindfulness promotes self-aggrandizement; its therapeutic function is to comfort, numb, adjust and accommodate the self within a neoliberal, corporatized, militarized, individualistic society based on private gain.
And here's an uinterview with Sean Illing: Mindfulness meditation in America has a capitalism problem: Can the mindfulness movement resist becoming a tool of self-absorption?
posted by homunculus at 11:38 AM on May 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

Politically best to wait on this until after national weed decriminalization. Let that sink in as workable.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:03 PM on May 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

My hope is that it comes to pass (heh) by the time I retire.

I’ve determined to forego psychedelic experiences until after I retire, for the same reason that I’ll keep mum about my past experiences until after I retire.

You have twelve years, America. Get cracking.
posted by darkstar at 9:25 PM on May 16, 2019

I used to do LSD

I want you to know that Acid loves you. It has always loved you. It will always love you. You are special, and Acid knows that. It is important you know that, because Acid knows. It wants you to know.
posted by aramaic at 10:52 PM on May 16, 2019

if I could get to a nice recreational high and dance for about 8 hours and then collapse and then wake up, I might be entirely cured.

'Part of the collective unconscious': the utopian return of breakbeats : a new generation of queer producers and DJs are using the beats that fired 90s rave culture to herald a ‘post-cynicism’ age
posted by octobersurprise at 7:20 AM on May 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

Losing Religion and Finding Ecstasy in Houston - "Christianity formed my deepest instincts, and I have been walking away from it for half my life."
The first time I did mushrooms, the summer after my freshman year of college, I felt vulnerable and rescued, as if someone had just told me that I was going to Heaven. I walked down a beach and everything coalesced with the cheesy, psychotic logic of “Footprints in the Sand.” The first time I did acid, I saw God again—the trees and clouds around me blazing with presence, like Moses’ burning bush. Completely out of my mind, I wrote on a napkin, “I can process nothing right now that does not terminate in God’s presence—this revelation I seem ready to have forever in degraded forms.”

A couple of years later, I did acid in the desert, in a house at the top of a hill in a canyon where the sun and the wind were white hot and merciless. I left the house and walked down into the valley, and felt the drugs kick in when I was wandering in the scrub. The dry bushes became brilliant—greener—and a hummingbird torpedoed past me so quickly that I froze. I experienced, for the first time, Weil’s precise fantasy of disappearance. I wanted to see the landscape as it was when I wasn’t there. Everything was rippling. For hours, I watched the blinding swirl of light and cloud move west, and I repented. At sunset, the sky billowed into mile-wide peonies, hardly an arm’s length above me, and it felt like a visitation, as if God were replacing the breath in my lungs. I sobbed, battered by a love I knew would fall away from me, ashamed for all the ways I had tried to bring myself to this, humiliated by the grace of encountering it now. I finally dragged myself inside and looked in the mirror. My eyes were smeared with black makeup, my face was red from crying, my lips were swollen; a thick, whitish substance clung stubbornly around my mouth. I looked like a junkie. I found a piece of paper, and, after noting that the ink seemed to be breathing, I wrote, “The situations in my life when I have been sympathetic to desperation are the situations when I have felt sure I was encountering God.”

I don’t know if I’m after truth or hanging on to its dwindling half-life. I might only be hoping to remember that my ecstatic disposition is the source of the good in me—spontaneity, devotion, sweetness—and the worst things, too: heedlessness, blankness, equivocation. Sunday in church isn’t the same as Sunday on the radio.
Smoking Psychedelic Toad Milk May Help Depression - "A single inhalation of vapor from dried toad secretion containing 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) in a naturalistic setting is related to sustained enhancement of satisfaction with life, mindfulness-related capacities, and a decrement of psychopathological symptoms." (via)
posted by kliuless at 7:47 PM on May 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

Can someone please send mushrooms to all the men’s rights activists out there? Roosh V has been ‘God-pilled’:
The internet’s most infamous pickup artist and rape-apologist recently announced that he “received a message while on mushrooms” and has found God. Daryush Valizadeh, who goes by the name Roosh V, will no longer allow any discussion of casual sex on the online forum he runs, and is asking users to discuss topics like “sexual activity while married” instead.
He's still an awful person, still very alt-right fighting against modern culture, but now less rapey.
posted by peeedro at 9:07 AM on May 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

Second U.S. City Decriminalizes Magic Mushrooms, Other Psychedelics - "The Oakland City Council unanimously approved a city ordinance decriminalizing 'entheogenic plants.'"
posted by kliuless at 10:04 AM on June 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

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