Monday, April 12, 2010

Tuning in once again

The New York Times' John Tierney reports that medical researchers are once again beginning to explore the use of psychedelics (or entheogens) in clinical settings - with good results:

Researchers are reporting preliminary success in using psilocybin to ease the anxiety of patients with terminal illnesses. Dr. Charles S. Grob, a psychiatrist who is involved in an experiment at U.C.L.A., describes it as “existential medicine” that helps dying people overcome fear, panic and depression.

“Under the influences of hallucinogens,” Dr. Grob writes, “individuals transcend their primary identification with their bodies and experience ego-free states before the time of their actual physical demise, and return with a new perspective and profound acceptance of the life constant: change.”

Nice term, "existential medicine." Needless to say, research in this area didn't exactly flourish during the repressive Bush/Cheney era.

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