Should Everyone Trip Balls at Least Once in Their Lifetime?: A Scientific Inquiry

published on January 16, 2018 by Ian Lecklitner in Mel Magazine

In recent years, researchers have been hard at work identifying psychedelic drugs — including LSD (acid), MDMA (ecstasy) and psilocybin (magic mushrooms) — as promising therapeutic agents for conditions like alcoholism, PTSD, depression, anxiety and even impending death. Naturally, these learnings lit a fire under hallucinogenic enthusiasts, who have long been preaching the benefits of using psychedelics to enter a higher state of consciousness. Their message is clear: You’re missing out on something that may vastly improve your outlook on lifeby avoiding psychedelics altogether.

But while these substances may very well provide some users with a life-changing experience (for better or worse), is it really one that everyone can (and should) benefit from? We rounded up those closest to psychedelic drugs — from researchers to hippies — to share their thoughts.

Kenneth Tupper, drug education expert and director of implementation and partnerships at the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use: My whole research has been arguing for the educational potential of the circumspect use of these substances — and I’m very careful to use that phrasing. It’s not about taking these substances willy-nilly without preparation, guidance or in the right cultural setting. A more valuable experience is one that’s guided and framed in a way that will maximize potential benefits. (Traditional indigenous practices and clinical uses are good examples of the types of settings that can reduce risk and maximize potential benefits.)

But there are definitely certain settings in which the risks are amplified and the potential benefits not well set out: Dropping acid at a rock concert, or in a place where you don’t have much control over what’s going on and people can get into your face, for example. That’s much more risky.

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