May 7, 2011

"Psilocybin is an entirely different mechanism. It has the potential to facilitate what’s been called a psycho-spiritual epiphany."

"The response rates among people with terminal cancer to conventional medications that target symptoms of anxiety and depression are not that impressive."

Oh, here it comes: the argument for medical psilocybin. This annoys me. If there is a "psycho-spiritual epiphany" of importance to be had, let us all have it.

Imagine if religion were restricted to people who were dying.

56 comments:

rhhardin said...

Prof. Paul Schmidt said that the proven difference between true religious experience and a drug-induced one is that the drug-induced one has a hangover.

Crimso said...

"Imagine if religion were restricted to people who were dying."

One might write an interesting short story based on such a premise. The writer would need to explain how such a restriction could be put in place, but if you can get past that there are all sorts of places you could go with it (not the least of which would be the rationale for such a restriction).

Joan said...

"Imagine if religion were restricted to people who were dying."

It often is, as in foxhole conversions.

traditionalguy said...

This is just another grade B "Opiate of The People" accusation against religion. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God, and not by losing your mind to spiritual experiences while under a witch doctor's drugs. Sorry, that age old practice cannot be dressed up as a Medical treatment. It is what it is.

dbp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dbp said...

The side-effects of drugs are less of a concern for people who are already dying.

Joan said...

I once saw God on mushrooms. "Clapton is God."

Fred4Pres said...

There is really no reason this should be illegal.

HT said...

Grob distinguished between psilocybin and standard issue antidepressants, which he said tend to dampen or suppress psychological problems without necessarily curing them.

Good that this has been pointed out.

Experiments’ involving the administration of MDMA to relieve psychological stress or trauma are not necessarily hard to understand, especially considering that MDMA affects serotonin receptors in the brain much like common antidepressants do.

Or this?

especially considering that common depressants affect serotonin receptors in the brain much like MDMA does.

It's always interesting to me, how many people miss the fact that these psychotropics are just as addicting and difficult to withdraw from as so-called street drugs. Many cannot ever get off Effexor. Ever.

Joan said...

I once saw God on mushrooms. The dude was layin' down some righteous rhymes. I would of lost it on what he took. Super high tolerance on that cat.

Carol_Herman said...

So the argument is to end the wasteful war on drugs, huh?

Can the drug company make enough "Psilocybin" to satisfy customer demand?

Maybe, we can pull our troops out of irak and afghanistan, first?

Let's watch and see what happens without us? Not that Iran wouldn't "try" to get into Basra.

But down there they'd explode themselves to keep Iran away. Besides, the Chinese are by now fully installed. (This actually makes it easier for Trump. He can take the money straight out of the Chinese pockets.)

It's like a road with hairpin turns. Some on the left will simply fly off the cliff.

Carol_Herman said...

... And, then at Woodstock, the famous expression was "Don't eat the Brown Acid." Some people were there for the music. Others were there for the drugs.

The rains messed up everything. Mud was everywhere. And, the Port-A-Toilets were unusable!

Hey, back in those days people didn't have cell phones. AT&T installed a big bank of coin-operated telephones. The lines for them were even longer than the lines to the Port-A-Toilets.

The Crack Emcee said...

Joan said...
"Imagine if religion were restricted to people who were dying."

It often is, as in foxhole conversions.


One of the defining memories of my life is of my friend Robert's death, with his mother screaming, "Pray, Robert, pray!" and Robert insisting, "Momma, I don't know how!"

I've seen a lot of deaths, but I've never seen a conversion at the end. Bad people call out to God, but they believed already. Many said Christopher Hitchens would convert once he got cancer - hasn't happened. I think the story is one more silly belief the religious tell themselves to feel secure in their belief.

Either you fall for the mindfuck or you don't, it's as simple as that.

kurt mueller said...

Hey Crack -- My religious beliefs are similar to yours. But I wonder why you, and may others I know, feel the need to belittle religious folks?

Michael said...

I like the idea of legalizing it for the dying. After all, most arguments against drug use are along the lines of: wasted potential, damage your health, you become a danger to others . . .

People who are dying have no economic potential, their health is effed, and they're not going to get out of the hospital bed and go on a killing spree. There's no danger to themselves or others. Let's start with that--and see what happens.

edutcher said...

Why do I get the feeling we've just been introduced to the boutique drugs of the '10s?

EnigmatiCore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ray_g said...

kurt mueller
I'm sure Crack Emcee can defend himself - but my response would be that this atheist is usually very respectful of other's beliefs, but when one of them pulls out the old foxhole or deathbed conversion canard, they have as much as said "atheists aren't really atheists" or "atheists are cowards" -- so I feel they have fired the first shot and are now fair game.

caplight said...

I saw Jesus when I was on oxycodone after surgery once. He was standing at the foot of my bed. It was kind of neat actually.

Oxycodal evangelism could be the wave of the future.

G Joubert said...

Atheism is just another religious belief, and like all beliefs, its followers fall all along continuum between tolerance and intolerance of other beliefs.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Imagine if religion were restricted to people who were dying.

That seems to be when people really "find" religion even though religion has been available all their lives.

Personally, I think that everyone should take acid once or twice in their lifetime. Repeated use is not (imo) a very good thing, but to use the cliche....you need to be experienced at least once.

Anga2010 said...

You are missing a great opportunity to wrap things up for the day at Insa... Find a story about Gay Muslim Robots!

HT said...

I took acid when I was in college. Once. It was fun. I was up all nights and drank A LOT of pure grain alcohol. Hallucinations were cool. This article of course is not talking about acid. I've never tried mushrooms, which I hear are milder. Anyway, back to acid - a roommate was having a bad trip. She thought her coat which she was not wearing even though it was cold, but rather had folded over her arm was a tiger. That could be scary.

Joan said...

Euphoria and hallucinations are side effects? Yea, like crashes at NASCAR.

Johanna Lapp said...

Religion is restricted to people who are dying.

The immortal tend to sell religion, not buy it.

Ann Althouse said...

"She thought her coat which she was not wearing even though it was cold, but rather had folded over her arm was a tiger. That could be scary."

The other night, I dreamed a mouse was running around the bed. I tried to scream for help, but I couldn't.

Methadras said...

Oh you can't have psilocybin unless you are about to die because only near death people should be allowed to have medically induced epiphanies.

traditionalguy said...

Professor....Maybe you dreamed of Mickey Kaus running around your head. He does that to many folks. Next time that happens, try hitting the delete comment key.

Penny said...

We can talk about religion, but given the state of our economy, I'd prefer to talk about the "psycho-spiritual epiphany" of capitalism.

America has the finest healthcare in the World. That's why the ridiculously rich come here when they have serious and life-threatening problems.

Isn't it about time our nation treats our singular expertise on this front as an "opportunity for" instead of a "drain on" our economic future?

This ain't no "psily" idea, folks. Instead, a call for some minds to "POP".

Joan said...

Having an epiphany when your dying is like discovering the unique vales of capitalism after getting yourself 14 trillion upside down, or buying condoms in the 3rd trimester.

Penny said...

"The other night, I dreamed a mouse was running around the bed. I tried to scream for help, but I couldn't."

Of course you couldn't scream. The cat that got your tongue is in cahoots with that mouse.

Give it a little time, Althouse. The true nature of your dreams are bound to become even MORE animated.

As for now. Wouldn't this make a cool "New Yorker" cartoon?

Penny said...

Joan, with all due respect. Your mind isn't "POPPING AMERICAN" as yet.

Some of us Americans like a little "POP" on our death beds. ;)

Penny said...

Of course, some DO prefer something along the lines of hospice.

Trooper York said...

Mickey Kaus is in fact Mickey Mouse's dirty old uncle who used to touch him in his secret places.

Just sayn'

Trooper York said...

And thank you for the link on Instapundit. That was very, very generous of you and I really appreciate it.

PETER V. BELLA said...

Next they will be touting heroin, coke, and crack as the next medical breakthroughs.

Bill said...

Honestly, I'm much more in support of medical mushrooms than I am medical marijuana. Check this study from The Lancet last year:

http://media.economist.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/original-size/20101106_WOC504_0.gif

Marijuana is, in most cases, smoked and can cause damage to the lungs, and arguably can cause lung cancer.

Mushrooms to my knowledge carry *no* known medical risks, short of eating something like 20lbs.

Marijuana is psychologically addicting, with many habitual users having a difficult time sleeping if they stop using.

Mushroom trips are not an inherently pleasant experience, and there is an immediate tolerance buildup which makes repeated use unrewarding.

Marijuana users often become unmotivated and become less ambitious. Mushrooms lead to introspection, empathy and thinking outside the box.

Treating psilocybin as a Schedule 1 drug is ridiculous.

HT said...

I guess we're all beyond just getting high on life? Just a little Blue Sky while I'm cleaning can do it for me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEC5s3nzVzo

(love that album art, very appropriate)

caplight said...

@Crack: "I've seen a lot of deaths, but I've never seen a conversion at the end."

Crack, you would be enough to scare the faith out of anyone so no wonder you've never seen a DBC.

Anyway, I was converted on my death bed and it was quite peaceful when I died.

Just the Noose said...

“And it’s important to emphasize that psilocybin may only need to be administered once within the context of ongoing psychotherapy, whereas conventional medications are generally used daily for weeks, months, even years.”

Exactly right. I did mushrooms once and the experience was incredible. Saw Peter Gabriel in 1982 while 'under the influence' and it was a transformation of sorts, not in the permanent sense but in terms of what was possible under certain conditions. The memories of that are vivid; the focus on the performance was intense. Only thing missing was the Shaman.

caplight said...

Please don't squeeze the Shaman!

Alex said...

People who are dying have no economic potential, their health is effed, and they're not going to get out of the hospital bed and go on a killing spree. There's no danger to themselves or others. Let's start with that--and see what happens.

You don't understand. To the drug-war people, they can't allow even one inch. Giving psychotropics to the terminal cases = handing out MDMA to the kids. It's all about the PURE morality of it man.

Alex said...

Next they will be touting heroin, coke, and crack as the next medical breakthroughs.

This is the mentality of the drug war holy rollers. Make the terminal cancer patients suffer exquisite pain in the name of some abstract morality.

Penny said...

"Please don't squeeze the Shaman!"

Shakespeare told me you protest too fuckin' much!

How bout I start off with a hug, you little shit? :P

TITS, comin' atcha!

John Burgess said...

I don't know about the religious angle, but the psilocybin part is just great!

Henry said...

Hardly surprising. Prohibition always births medical alternatives.

Henry said...

Personally, I think that everyone should take acid once or twice in their lifetime.

See me on my deathbed, then. That's the theme.

As my whimsy leads me.. said...

There may be some benefit for psilocybin, and it is worth exploring, but the justification that we can't treat anxiety and depression in dying patients is not true. There are many options that are beneficial--some specific to the dying process. For example, is the anxiety due to shortness of breath, terminal restlessness, or poorly managed pain? Different situations call for different approaches, and hospice and palliative care professionals have several good tools.

Althouse, we are normally paralyzed during dreaming (REM-rapid eye movement) sleep, and that is why you couldn't scream. There is a condition--REM sleep behavior disorder--in which people act out their dreams, and can sometimes hurt themselves or partners. Those movie scenes where someone is having a dream and thrashing around (Rhett! Rhett!) are done for dramatic effect, but are not realistic.

Toy

Penny said...

"See me on my deathbed, then. That's the theme."

This is Althouse. The "theme" is what you make of it.

OK, so she isn't Disney, who did in fact go to his deathbed,... most likely because he allowed that mouse to run around his clock during REM sleep. But hey, merely supposition on my part.

I'm waiting to hear more from Walt before I place a wager.

Phil 3:14 said...

Imagine if religion were restricted to people who were dying.

We're ALL dying.

Penny said...

"We're ALL dying."

Spoken like a rep for Miss Clairol, Phil!

I assure you, I'm not dying.

Course, only my hairdresser knows for sure.

ET1492 said...

Someone please give me a simple, coherent and ethical argument for why marijuana and psilocybin should be illegal to possess or use

I'd also like to hear a good argument for legalizing pot and/or psilocybin, but not other "harder" drugs.

I find it hard to discuss this topic because all the arguments I've heard on either side don't make much sense.

Is it a personal flaw that I find most peoples' philosophies to be incoherent? I'm starting to think something's wrong with me...

Pogo said...

Is it a personal flaw that I find...

Go ask Alice.
I think she'll know.

Fernandinande said...

But I wonder why you, and may others I know, feel the need to belittle religious folks?

Because it's fun. And what better way to deal with people who have creepy, oppressive, irrational ideas?

Make the terminal cancer patients suffer exquisite pain in the name of some abstract morality.

Scratch beneath the surface and it's obvious that the drug warriors are just Junior Nazis in training; and speaking of creepy, oppressive, irrational ideas, I bet they're more religious than average, too.

Pogo said...

Fernandinande,
Atheism was the animating non-belief behind 100 million murders of civilians in the 20th century.

It doesn't have the greatest track record, so don't be patting yourself on the back too much, and spare me the Sunday sermon.

Michael said...

Fernandinande: You made my day!! I am off to church firm in my beliefs and happy in my life and convinced, again, that the ever so smart lefties like you are faux smart and deeply unhappy.

Thanks again