The importance of psychedelic research

The importance of psychedelic research is evident. All one has to do is look at the therapeutic and health benefits. The results speak for themselves.

Most people associate psychedelics with the hippie movement of the 1960s, and this is where psychedelics begin and end in contemporary western, particularly American society. But necessary psychedelic research is making a comeback. The dark ages of illegality are over, for the most part. While some governments still take a zero-tolerance approach, many open up the field to scientific study. And that is where we discover the importance of psychedelic research.

Psychedelics are in the early stages of a scientific renaissance. Notably in neuroscience, the study of the nervous system and in the study of the brain. Not since the 1950s and 60s have these substances garnered so much interest.

The beginning of the end of the drug war means rediscovering psychedelic research. And so, we’re discovering a treatment for a range of mental health disorders, from depression to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The promise of solving (or at least alleviating) these health issues in our lifetime highlights the importance of this research.

So what kind of research is taking place? With the psychedelic floodgates opening, there’s no shortage of researchers. The problem stems from funding the studies. Even so, there is progress on this front. Several schools and organizations are testing the waters with psychedelic research.

John Hopkins’s Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research


Johns Hopkins Medicine is perhaps the most famous. Donors gave $17 million to construct their psychedelic research center. The Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research is one of the largest in the world.

In 2006, they published psilocybin research that has been the benchmark study ever since. The researchers demonstrated the safety and efficacy of a single dose of psilocybin on personal wellbeing. Eight years later, they showed how (alongside cognitive behaviour therapy) a psilocybin experience can end a cigarette smoking habit. And not just in new smokers but long-term ones who have attempted everything else.

The John Hopkins Center also saw promising results from a study looking at people suffering from cancer-related anxiety or depression. They found that a single large dose of psilocybin mushrooms has a positive benefit on their mental health for up to six months. This double-blind study prompted researchers to suggest that psilocybin be re-categorized from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule IV drug. That is, from one with no known medical potential to one with obvious potential.

So magic mushrooms are good for the brain? Yes, and that is the importance of psychedelic research in a nutshell. It dispels old myths and drug war propaganda. The image of hippies dancing in the mud at a rock festival is in the past. The future of psychedelics consists of scientists working in laboratories and patients overcoming their mental health problems.

LSD Derivates

Speaking of laboratories, researchers are producing compounds similar to LSD but structurally different enough to be studied legally. Like 1P-LSD or LSZ. Or 1V-LSD, famously known as “Valerie.” Many derivates are available for research purposes. That is until they’re not.

hammer of the law

Governments like to play wack-a-mole with LSD derivates. Germany recently banned 1-cP-LSD, one of the most popular LSD-based research chemicals. But why?

Psychedelic research shows that substances like LSD, AL-LAD, or LSA can help people overcome alcoholism. If that doesn’t highlight the importance of psychedelic research, what does?

Alcohol use disorder has plagued societies for centuries. Countless numbers of families are destroyed every year by alcohol abuse. Only recently have we begun to recognize the behaviour as a disease. And now, we may have discovered a natural and risk-free way of alleviating people of it.

Even the US federal government, an institution not entirely known for its liberal take on drugs, approved a nasal spray by Johnson & Johnson. This spray (called Sparvato) is an antidepressant derived from ketamine.

The Importance of Psychedelic Research in Alleviating Suffering

According to the World Health Organization, over 264 million people worldwide suffer from depression. One can imagine the number of depressed people has increased, given the COVID pandemic.

According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, at least 8 million American adults have PTSD. Our World in Data says 792 million people worldwide suffer from a mental health disorder. The importance of psychedelic research is in reducing this suffering.

But are psychedelics safe? Given their mind-altering properties, indeed, one should proceed with caution. But research shows psychedelics are safe in a physiological sense. They are non-addictive, and adverse side effects are rare.

In a safe and controlled environment, psychedelics can produce a positive experience. Suppose you’re suffering from anxiety, depression, PTSD, or another mental health disorder. In that case, it’s highly recommended that you seek the advice of your doctor or mental health care professional.

One can also microdose psychedelics for similar cognitive benefits. Microdosing consists of taking smaller amounts of psychedelics. There is no noticeable high or “trip,” but people report subtle effects that increase mood, focus, productivity and wellbeing.

It truly is remarkable that the power of psychedelics can heal people who suffer from mental health disorders. Many drugs on the market target the synaptic levels in the brain to varying degrees of success. The importance of psychedelic research is what it tells us about this approach.

People are healed, not necessarily through chemical interactions in the brain, but from profound and genuine insights from seeing the world, and themselves, differently.

As Albert Hofmann, the man who invented LSD, once said: “LSD wanted to tell me something. It gave me an inner joy, an open-mindedness, a gratefulness, open eyes and an internal sensitivity for the miracles of creation.”

Albert Hofmann
Credit: Britannica

The importance of psychedelic research cannot be understated. We’re coming out of the dark ages of psychedelic research. Suppose people had known in the 1960s that the use of psilocybin or LSD could treat alcoholism or depression.

In that case, there might have been more significant pushback against eliminating those substances from research facilities. But there’s no use worrying about what can’t be changed. The future is now. And the potential in psychedelic research is endless.


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