The history of psychedelics, and mind and mood altering substances in the United States is a complicated one, rife with bizarre turns and at least a dash of bigotry.
Though psychedelics have been intertwined with hippie culture and, to some degree, perceived to be largely focused on recreational uses, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies aims to set the science of these substances firmly in the medical arena.
Rick Doblin, who founded the nonprofit organization back in 1986, perceived opportunities around these substances for therapeutic use and spiritual growth. And while psychedelics — psilocybin, an active ingredient in “magic mushrooms,” and MDMA, a substance used in ecstasy, specifically — have been touted as treatments for depression and other mental-health ailments, FDA trials seemingly still are a few years away from completion.
That leaves a lot of questions to be answered in the interim: Is access going to be equitable?; who benefits from the commodification of these substances?; and what does the coexistence of the medical and underground marketplace look like?
Ismail Ali, the director of policy and advocacy for MAPS, joins The Best of Our Knowledge to explain the legal and regulatory framework that psychedelic research is working within, and how that applies not just to the medical profession, but to people seeking care.