How Psychedelics Can Save Us From the Pandemic Blues
Have you been obsessively cleaning obscure surfaces in your home over and over? How about pacing in circles for hours while muttering to yourself? Or, worst of all, are you doomscrolling until your neck is kinkier than an ex-president on a private island? The pandemic is causing a spike in mental health problems, which is probably no surprise to any of you by now. Isolation, boredom, and fear all create a perfect recipe for folks to go all The Shining. Can psychedelics help people cope?
According to an avalanche of research, the answer seems to be a big yes. While most psychedelics are still illegal, this could change in the next few years. Instead of tripping balls in your buddy’s basement, you’ll be able to astral project from the comfort of a luxury spa. And if your trip suddenly takes a dark turn, there’s a nice doctor or nurse right there to chill your vibes. We take a look at how the psychedelics can help with the pandemic blues.
Cover Photo: Jane Khomi (Getty Images)
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Is the pandemic driving people crazy?
If you’re feeling stir-crazy like old Jackie here, you’re not the only one. The pandemic and the policies required to contain it could lead to a mental health crisis at exactly the time when the medical establishment is least equipped to handle it, according to numerous studies (1,2,3).
What kinds of issues?
Rates of anxiety, depression and suicide have been trending upward in the U.S. for decades, or about since the time reality TV was invented. The pandemic seems to be accelerating these trends and medical professionals worry current treatment options may not be up to the challenge.
Happy pills aren’t cutting it.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs for short, are the most common antidepressant currently. Though they help many, they have lots of super depressing side-effects like no boners and getting fat, plus they don’t work at all for many people and take like a whole sporting season to kick in.
Psychedelics show incredible promise.
Many types of psychedelics are recognized as breakthrough therapies by the FDA for treating anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Maybe if the government hadn’t banned all human research on psychedelics for half a century then we wouldn’t all be quite so messed up in the head.
Magic mushrooms may be the cure.
The active ingredient in magic mushrooms is psilocybin, and even science agrees these little fungi have pretty stupendous healing potential. If you hate treatment-resistant depression, major depressive disorder or anxiety disorders, then you should love all the research showing how much psilocybin can help with these issues.
LSD shows promise.
It’s estimated that 88,000 Americans die annually from alcohol-related causes, but strange as it may sound, LSD could help prevent some of these deaths. Research shows that when combined with psychotherapy, LSD is effective at treating alcoholism, and no, we’re not tripping.
Ayahuasca might be your cup of tea.
Ayahuasca is a traditional Amazonian psychedelic made by brewing together DMT-rich leaves with vines that amplify the psychedelic chemical’s effects. This cup of tea may not taste good — the understatement of the century — but a growing body of research supports that it is effective at treating substance-abuse disorders when combined with psychotherapy.
MDMA for PTSD.
MDMA, aka Molly, was as an essential part of every rave bunny's go-bag as candy jewelry, platform shoes, tutus and a good water bottle. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychic Studies, or MAPS, pioneered modern psychedelic research and has focused its efforts recently on looking into how MDMA-assisted psychotherapy can help treat PTSD, which the FDA has recognized as a breakthrough therapy.
Ketamine is effective and legal.
Ketamine isn’t a traditional psychedelic like mushrooms or LSD, but it will literally separate your consciousness from your body like in some kind of B-movie. However, it’s shown to help those suffering from some forms of depression and is the only drug on the list that is currently legal and available for patients in all 50 states.
Please trip responsibly
Psychedelics are powerful substances best taken under the guidance of qualified professionals, especially during times of high stress like right frigging now. Some mental health professionals offer psychedelic integration therapy for ketamine and even other psychedelics under the table, but we recommend trying to enroll in a legit clinical trial or starting with the psychotherapy part of the healing process on its own.
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