At the end of last month we published the first part of a special issue on the beneficial effects of psychedelics in the treatment of addiction of the scientific journal CDAR. Now, the second part has been published with three more articles on this subject.
In the first article, Robin Mackenzie argues that too little attention is paid to how psychedelics might positively influence both one’s life and one’s death. It is her contention that too often, neuroscientific research focuses on remedying diseases or disorders. Instead, she argues for cognitive liberty and posits that neuroscience should illuminate the role psychedelics might play in improving well-being and ‘human flourishing’.
A review by Mitch Liester traces the turbulent history of LSD, from its initial use as a ‘psychotomimetic’ (a substance that mimics psychosis-like states of consciousness) to its employment as a pharmacological aid in helping ‘addicted’ patients and its widespread association with counterculture movements in the 1960s. Liester provides an overview of its pharmacology, neurobiology and a detailed phenomenology of its subjective effects. The author argues that it is time for an unbiased reexamination of LSD’s potential as a pharmacological adjunct in addiction treatment.
Recently, studies at Johns Hopkins University have drawn attention to the significance of transcendental or mystical aspects of the psychedelic experience. These studies suggest a pivotal role for mystical-type experiences in promoting wellbeing, leading to measurable positive changes in the behaviour, attitudes, and values of healthy participants. The rigorous research study conducted by Albert Garcia-Romeu and colleagues at the same university provides further insight in how psilocybin-occasioned mystical experiences translate to the context of heavy tobacco dependence. Their clinical pilot study shows abstinence rates after psilocybin treatment that are significantly higher than that of conventional treatments for tobacco dependence, which motivates an important discussion on the future of addiction treatment.
The articles are open access and can be found here.
We are very proud to be in the position to share these articles with you and would like to extend our gratitude to all the writers and peer reviewers that have helped us in putting this special issue together.
What Can Neuroscience Tell Us About the Potential of Psychedelics in Healthcare? How the Neurophenomenology of Psychedelics Research Could Help us to Flourish Throughout Our Lives, as Well as to Enhance Our Dying