I'm a reporter for Quartz with a focus on psychedelics, psychology, and mental health. I've been reporting on the "psychedelic renaissance"—the growing scientific interest in the health benefits of drugs such as magic mushrooms and MDMA—for more than three years, and momentum is steadily increasing. Just last week, a multi-million dollar donation was announced to fund the largest psychedelic research center in the world. My coverage includes an investigation into a company trying to create a magic mushroom monopoly and unveiling the $7,000 per gram cost of psychedelics for researchers. I've also reported on the various routes to decriminalization, such as Denver's ballot, and whether Canada has a constitutional right to magic mushrooms. I’ve been at Quartz for fours years and previously I worked at The Daily Telegraph in the UK. AMA!

Proof: https://i.redd.it/gfritej4s0l31.jpg

Comments: 192 • Responses: 61  • Date: 

GalacticPug0788 karma

After all your time researching this topic, do you think that even with the large stigma against drugs, will MDMA, LSD, mushrooms etc be legalised/decriminalised for medical usage?

Also, do you think that such drugs are dangerous as they are portrayed in the media and in mainstream society?

Also, (finally) do you think a hot dog is a sandwich?

QuartzNews116 karma

Great questions. There's definitely still stigma, but I think we’ll see these drugs legalized for medical use. Israel approved MDMA to treat PTSD in compassionate cases (so, for people not involved in a clinical trial but who are suffering from PTSD and haven’t improved from other treatments) earlier this year. A similar trial is in advanced stages in the United States, and the organization behind it, MAPS, has also applied to use MDMA in compassionate cases. So I think there’s a good chance we could see MDMA used for medical purposes in the next year. A stage three trial on psilocybin (the psychedelic in magic mushrooms) to treat depression was given “breakthrough therapy” designation by the FDA last year, meaning it’ll be hastened through the drug-development process. So magic mushrooms I think are also likely to be legalized for medical uses in the next few years.

Re the dangers: All the researchers I’ve spoken to emphasize that these drugs have serious risks. One concern is that their medical benefits are overhyped, and then when someone with severe depression or PTSD isn’t immediately cured by psychedelic therapy, they can feel even more despondent. Bad trips can also be very psychologically traumatic, which is why psychedelic therapy is quite an intensive process. The current standard is for there to be two therapists to guide the psychedelic experience, and several therapy sessions both before and after the psychedelic trip.

I don’t think a hot dog is a sandwich, but I also don’t mind because I don’t like hot dogs.

bledin248 karma

Has Joe Rogan invited you to his podcast yet?

QuartzNews35 karma


KazPart225 karma

Where do you see large pharmaceutical companies' role in legalizing psychadelics? are they helping or hindering ongoing research? Have you interviewed any reps for those companies?

Also, how does the DEA drug scheduling affect research? Are drugs in Schedule 1 harder to research than those on schedules 2 and below?

Also, what's your favorite prime number?

QuartzNews54 karma

Large pharmaceutical companies aren’t overly interested in these drugs so far—largely because information about psychedelics is in the public domain, and so there isn’t much room for patents and the profits that come with patents. I haven’t spoken to people for large pharma companies, but I’ve talked with people from Compass Pathways (the company behind the largest magic mushroom trial) and MAPS (the non profit behind the MDMA trial.) Drug scheduling definitely makes research harder. A schedule 1 drug in the US is listed as having no accepted medical use, and researchers had to go through a huge amount of red tape to do the first studies. This has got slightly easier in recent years, now that there’s a growing body of strong evidence. And my favourite prime number is 89!

groovyinutah21 karma

Is DMT something that's being looked into?

QuartzNews29 karma

Definitely. DMT trials are so far smaller, I believe, but they exist. https://beckleyfoundation.org/ayahuascadmt/ One trial found a DMT trip mirrors near-death experiences https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01424/full

XpandContract19 karma

Do you know if anybody has looked into psychedelics being used to help people with problems getting off SSRI/SNRIs or something similar?

QuartzNews39 karma

That’s a really interesting question. For all trials on using psychedelics to treat depression, participants have to first taper off their SSRI/SNRIs, and I don’t believe there’s research on taking them both simultaneously. John Hopkins recently announced they were creating the largest psychedelic research center in the world, and are researching psilocybin to treat anorexia, Alzheimer’s, Lyme disease, and opioid addiction—all totally new areas of research. The scientists emphasized that they believe psychedelics doesn’t follow the traditional model where one drug is useful for one condition and, as mental health conditions so often overlap, it does make sense that one drug could treat a variety of conditions. It sounds like psychedelic therapy to help patients struggling to come off SSRI/SNRIs would be an interesting area of research, but I don’t believe it exists yet.

driftingfornow19 karma

As far as I recall, the concern of mushrooms and MDMA on SSRI’s/NI’s is that there is a risk of seratonin syndrome, which causes seizures and can be life threatening.

QuartzNews15 karma

Yes, good point for MDMA. (Serotonin syndrome is rare, but dangerous.) There has been at least one study on taking LSD and SSRI simultaneously https://www.nature.com/articles/1380431 For mental health studies, participants have to come off other treatments so researchers can clearly identify which drug benefits them, and also to avoid negative reactions of various drugs combining.

AlphaWildcat8615 karma

Is there any way to get someone involved in the end of life trials that you know of? I have a family member dealing with a disease that will take their life but they are willing to do trials if it could possibly help people in the future.

QuartzNews12 karma

I'm not sure of trials recruiting at the moment but MAPS has a good list of trials https://maps.org/participate/participate-in-research And John Hopkins has researched this in the past, and is launching so many new studies it could be worth asking them https://hopkinspsychedelic.org/index/#contact

nivter15 karma

Are there any positive or negative effects of using psychedelics that are usually not brought up or highlighted in mainstream discussions? In your opinion what are some strong arguments for or against their legalization from a health as well as economic perspective? Thanks for the AMA and your time.

QuartzNews23 karma

I think there’s a risk that comes with these drugs being over-hyped in the media for their medical potential. There are several small trials that point to their medical benefits, and the evidence is building. But no drug is a perfect cure and, if someone suffers from chronic depression and doesn’t immediately recover from one psychedelic session, the disappointment can be a real emotional blow. In terms of benefits, existing studies point to psilocybin helping patients with terminal cancer cope with end-of-life anxiety, and that’s potentially a really exciting way these drugs could be used. The economic questions around psychedelics are fascinating. I’ve written before about a company attempting to create a magic mushroom monopoly (https://qz.com/1454785/a-millionaire-couple-is-threatening-to-create-a-magic-mushroom-monopoly/). Currently, psychedelic therapy is quite an expensive treatment (not least because of the time involved with several therapists) and there could be major health risks if companies try and cut costs to make it more economically viable. If there’s enough evidence, I don’t see why these drugs shouldn’t be legalized for medical uses. But, as with any drug, I think there’s potential for corporations to benefit in creating a system that doesn’t help patients.

cracksilog13 karma

Was there any reason in your opinion that magical mushrooms have become the “next step” for legalization after cannabis? Are there any other similar movements for other drugs that could come after?

QuartzNews16 karma

Cannabis effectively laid out a legal groundwork that other drugs can now follow. For example, Canada ruled that there’s a constitutional right to cannabis where it can be used to treat health conditions that don’t respond to other treatments. Therapists are now arguing that there’s a similar legal right to psilocybin https://qz.com/1693840/is-canada-constitutionally-required-to-legalize-magic-mushrooms/ As for other drugs - There’s already research into prescription heroin https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2018/12/6/18124497/prescription-heroin-safe-injection-sites-rand-research. I think there's growing evidence that all drugs have both serious dangers and potential benefits in the right circumstances. The (big) question is whether we can create safe, medical conditions for such drugs.

psilocindream9 karma

What is your opinion on psychedelic researchers and therapists having personal experience with the substances? Should it be a requirement in order to be licensed to administer psychedelic assisted therapy? In the case of scientists designing the trials and evaluating them, do you think it could be a source of bias, or an advantage to know what these substances feel like?

QuartzNews14 karma

At the moment, it's considered good practice for therapists to have psychedelic experiences with psychedelics. For their stage 3 trial, MAPS had permission for a separate trial that allowed therapists to experience MDMA. The argument is that it's difficult for therapists to properly guide a challenging trip unless they have personal experience. I think scientists often have a vested interest in hoping their research produces effective results, but studies are designed to protect against biased manipulation. So, overall, I think experience is an asset.

chaoskixas9 karma

Are you familiar with the Zeno Project? They are into harm reduction at events. I’ve watched them transform lives for years.

QuartzNews2 karma

Interesting - I'll read up on their work, thanks

QuartzNews1 karma

Interesting - I'll read up on their work, thanks

day_vid6 karma

Other than the potential negative psychological side-effects you mention, are there any dangerous physical or chemical issues that research has documented from the use of psychedelics?

QuartzNews11 karma

Yes, they can trigger symptoms of schizophrenia. I believe research showed magic mushrooms is one of the safest drugs, but still comes with serious risks https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/may/23/study-hallucinogenic-mushrooms-safest-recreational-drug-lsd

libby-bibby5 karma

I’m currently undergoing Ketamine treatments. I’m in Ontario and OHIP covers 6 treatments a year. I’ve had great success so far. My question is can I undergo a secondary psycho active drug treatment along with the ketamine? Thanks

QuartzNews6 karma

I'm not qualified to give medical advice - I'd definitely check with a doctor.

Good luck with the ketamine treatments!

WorkKrakkin5 karma

Do you foresee psychedelics ever being legalized in the recreational sense?

If so, do you think police/first responders should be trained on how to handle people on a "bad trip" i.e. not pointing a gun at them and yelling at them to get on the ground?

QuartzNews10 karma

Anything's possible - growing and possessing fresh magic mushrooms legal has been legal in New Mexico since 2005. If the drugs were made widely legal, I think there a lot of public health work would be necessary to provide guidance on how to handle these drugs safely, and yes, police and first responders should get training. The expense of this is probably a factor that makes recreational legalization less feasible.

SFgirll4 karma

Is there research on the effects of psychedelics on your memory?

QuartzNews9 karma

Yes, there have been a few studies over the decades, with mixed results so far. A 2012 study found autobiographical memories felt more visual & vivid after psilocybin https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22282432 This article https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6146157/ has a good overview of some other research: "In regard to memory, one study found that after consumption of LSD participants were unimpaired on tests of declarative memory (e.g. ‘How old are you?’ ‘Who is the president?’ ‘Where are you?’) and learned associations (e.g. metal, iron, hard etc.) (Silverstein and Klee 1958). However, the same participants did show impairments in tasks involving mental control and the manipulation of new items (e.g. counting backwards, serial addition, reproducing brief passages of text and visual reproduction through drawing). Interestingly, measures of working memory—such as repeating a series of digits forwards or backwards—were unimpaired (Silverstein and Klee 1958). This sparing of working memory function is consistent with studies involving psilocybin showing slower reaction times but no reduction in accuracy during spatial working memory tasks involving the recall of spatial locations (Vollenweider et al. 1998; Carter et al. 2005)."

psychedelicOm4 karma

What problems could occur upon legalization that we don't already have from alcohol?

QuartzNews1 karma

One major problem is training enough therapists to safely administer psychedelics. And all drugs have different effects: The psychological impact of a bad trip can be hugely traumatic, for example, and these drugs can also trigger schizophrenia.

nursebad3 karma

You've done great work here. I read your magic mushroom monopoly story a few months ago and found it enthralling.

How did you initially become interested in this topic?

Do you have any recommendations for further reading? Short or long form? How to Change Your Mind was life changing for my father.

Thank you!

QuartzNews7 karma

Thank you! I first became interested when I noticed a slew of reports of psychedelic research, and found out the resurgence of interest is called a 'psychedelic renaissance' https://qz.com/689851/its-a-psychedelic-renaissance-as-scientists-identify-medicinal-qualities-of-hardcore-drugs/

There's some great older writing - try 'The Doors of Perception' by Aldous Huxley

randomitch3 karma

Ive used DMT a few months ago when I was having a really hard time. I’m still dealing with my PTSD and depression but it really helped me figure some stuff out.

I’ve only heard about legalizing MDMA and mushrooms. I’ve always enjoyed mushrooms and psychedelics(I wouldn’t really consider MDMA one but maybe I didn’t get the good stuff)

Are there any talks about legalizing DMT? Is it something you have tried or studied?

QuartzNews5 karma

I believe the studies involving DMT are smaller, and so there aren't developed discussions about legalizing it just yet. There are underground communities who use DMT therapy in similar ways to the trials on psilocybin and MDMA

Beans2653 karma

What does it look like to be prescribed and take psychedelics therapeutically? Do they just give you the doses and you take them on your own? Do you take them in a controlled setting? If you take them in a controlled setting, what does the therapist do to facilitate the experience?

QuartzNews6 karma

You definitely don't take the drug on your own. There are two therapists to one patient. First you meet the therapist, and have a session (or several) with them while not under the influence of drugs. For the trip, you're in the therapists office - some use blindfolds and music to help create a pleasant experience. Therapists are trained to help people move out of a bad trip, and also to help them process trauma (if they're in therapy because of trauma.) In many experiments, patients will have two separate psychedelic sessions with their therapists, followed by more when they're not under the influence of drugs

breakonthru1112 karma

Can you tell us what you know about how Australia will also fit into this..?

Asking for a friend..

QuartzNews8 karma

Australia announced their first psychedelic trial earlier this year! It's on psilocybin to treat end-of-life anxiety in terminally ill patients.

BagelKing2 karma

Might have been asked already, don't have the time to check:

In a future where psychedelics do become accessible through professional medical/psychiatric channels, what is the process likely to be for a regular person to seek that treatment? Could a person likely seek this out as an ordinary form of therapy for everyday stress, or is this likely to be reserved for serious mental health conditions? Has work been done to standardize the practice of whatever the professional term for tripsitting is?

QuartzNews3 karma

There aren't yet clear standards for psychedelic therapists - I think that's one of the biggest, most difficult questions to consider before psychedelics are legalized for medical use. How should psychedelics be trained, will there be a board to review their license if they fall short of professional standards etc.

I imagine the process is a general would have to recommend someone for psychedelic therapy and medical referrals would be necessary, but it remains to be seen

RevengimusMaximus2 karma

I'm seeing very little mention of LSD! I know there are some studies on this interesting chemical, but they're few and wee.

From your viewpoint, can you see a future for LSD? In general, but also specifically in the Psychological field?

QuartzNews2 karma

There are definitely studies on LSD - with research on it as treatment for addiction and to cope with end of life anxiety. The studies aren't as advanced as those for psilocybin and MDMA yet, but future research could well build on these to create stronger evidence for a clinical use of LSD.

onceuponatimeinlife2 karma

I know nothing about psychedelics; which one would be best for a beginner to try? And what are some of the benefits?

QuartzNews7 karma

Currently, I think it's only safe to use in a medical setting with therapists. There are a few ongoing trials you could look into (see the reply to AlphaWildcat86 above)

turquoisebee2 karma

How could they be used to treat ADHD?

QuartzNews3 karma

There's some early research on MDMA as possible ADHD treatment, but more studies are needed

Smigelski-782 karma

Do you think legalization of these substances will be handled in a way similar to pharmaceuticals (intensive screen and prescriptions necessary) or more like legal marijuana (anyone of age can obtain the substance if they want it)?

Also, thanks for your work! I ran for office in Ohio last year with a significant part of my platform being the legalization/decriminalization of drugs. Especially things like MDMA, LSD, Psilocybin, DMT, etc. I think there are significant medical benefits to these drugs but I don't think legalization should be limited to strictly medical uses. If they can help people in a medical sense, that's great. If people want to use them for recreation, that's fine too.

QuartzNews6 karma

So far, I think it's much more likely these drugs will be approved for medical use. One interesting question is whether the medical system will follow clinical/ pharma standards. Indigenous populations have used psychedelic therapy for centuries, and there are questions about whether the drugs could be approved/ therapists certified for these communities, or if a clinical model would exclude these practices.

gaberockka2 karma

Do you yourself indulge, and if so, to what extent has your professional opinion been influenced by personal experience?

QuartzNews11 karma

I'm trying to get access to a trial - I do think my reporting would benefit from experiencing psychedelics in a clinical setting

alskiiie2 karma

I have a dream that one day all drugs will be legalized and thus actually controlled. What do you think about that? Also great AMA!

QuartzNews3 karma

Thanks! I think there are lots of ways the control of drugs could go wrong under a legal setting - will be interesting to see how patients interests are balanced about corporate goals.

teasus_spiced2 karma

Has there been any research using psychedelics for things like chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia?

QuartzNews3 karma

I'm only aware of small studies and discussions https://maps.org/news-letters/v04n2/04250jil.html https://www.futuremedicine.com/doi/abs/10.2217/pmt-2017-0068 but think it would be an interesting subject for future research

Determobot2 karma

How will this influence the sex lives of young and middle ageed people ? What are the side effects on potency and fertility?

QuartzNews1 karma

MDMA affects testosterone production, which can decrease sperm count. There's no strong evidence yet of how LSD or psilocybin affects fertility, but that definitely doesn't mean that they don't have an impact.

triplenipple992 karma

As a biomed student in their final who is very interested in the pathophysiology of mental health disorders as well as the effect of psychedelics, how on earth do I get into this field?

There appears to be a lot of red tape and judgement for wanting to study psychedelics which has made me look for opportunities elsewhere.

QuartzNews3 karma

John Hopkins, NYU and Imperial are three of the biggest universities for this research, I'd look there

myownfreemind1 karma

Has there been any study focusing the psychedelics for treatment of dissociative mental illnesses such as Depersonalization and Derealization? If so how have the affected people so far?

QuartzNews2 karma

Not that I know of, though I could be wrong. One of the risks of psychedelics is that it can create such symptoms https://journals.lww.com/neuroreport/Abstract/1998/12010/Psilocybin_induces_schizophrenia_like_psychosis_in.24.aspx

ILoveToEatLobster1 karma

Have you ever tried Joe Rogan?

QuartzNews1 karma

See bledin2 question above

Tamepala861 karma

Do we have any idea what exactly cause HPPD (flashbacks) from LSD usage? how will future studies minimise the risk of developing such side effects?

QuartzNews1 karma

There's some research but I don't believe there's a definitive answer https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Marc_Gelkopf/publication/12482546_LSD-induced_hallucinogen_persisting_perception_disorder_treatment_with_clonidine_An_open_pilot_study/links/5bfbce8fa6fdcc53881aeb30/LSD-induced-hallucinogen-persisting-perception-disorder-treatment-with-clonidine-An-open-pilot-study.pdf

At the moment, all psychedelic studies have patient follow ups a year after they've completed the study. This can help create data on who experiences flashbacks, but it's definitely a risk that deserves ongoing consideration

iamfuturistic1 karma

Are you more likely to have a bad trip if you suffer from anxiety?

QuartzNews1 karma

I'm not sure if this has been studied, but it sounds plausible

ingwasson1 karma

Could psychedelics be beneficial for bipolar disorder treatment?

QuartzNews1 karma

I think there's some signs of ketamine being used for this https://maps.org/news/5362-ketamine-may-help-treat-bipolar-disorder

poisontongue1 karma

When you say it could be legalized, how long until the stupid government and greedy companies stop wasting our time? And who will be it be for?

QuartzNews1 karma

I wouldn't be surprised if MDMA or psilocybin were legalized for medical use (for PTSD and depression respectively) in the next three years, but it could well take longer

rcc7371 karma

New information is coming out about vaping. If information regarding psychedelics came out that was similar to vaping would you change your stance? Would you double down and claim it was fake news? something else?

QuartzNews1 karma

I've written about how we've learned a lot about the effects of cannabis since it was legalized https://qz.com/1457030/what-weve-learned-about-the-effects-of-weed-since-it-was-legalized/

All these drugs carry risks and I think scientific research is essential to understand these as much as possible. I'm definitely in favour of more scientific research before drugs are legalized and, if there's evidence of serious and poorly understood dangers, this should be weighed against legalization

brobinnen1 karma

What kind of psychedelics?

QuartzNews2 karma

Most advanced research is on psilocybin and MDMA, there are also studies on LSD & other psychedelics

TaterTot-_1 karma

As someone who is very experienced in Psychedelic use, i can say that it has helped me in incredible ways. Do you think that medical usage of psychedelics is within our near future? If so, Along what lines?

QuartzNews1 karma

I think we'll see some medical use in the next three years - see my answer to GalacticPug07 for more detail

Aumnix1 karma

Hello Olivia.

I’m curious as to what your personal opinion is on the personal use of psychedelic drugs and expressing the free will of consciousness alteration.

Do you believe adequate education (as well as product quality assurance) would make the cultural use and acceptance more prevalent? Do you believe people of age should be able to not only medically treat themselves, but recreationally if they do so please?

QuartzNews1 karma

I'm undecided on this. The criminalization of drugs leads to drugs wars and criminal industries, which often involve other forms of violence. But all drugs carry risks and I think restrictions and guidance can serve as protection.

Freetopali1 karma

Will DMT be legalized as well?

QuartzNews1 karma

Possibly, though it's further away. I mentioned some research to groovyinutah

ccistheking1 karma

Paul Stamets, the famous mycologist and owner of the company Host Defense, has recently appeared on the Joe Rogan podcast with amazing insights into his research on Mushrooms and Psilocybin.

Are you aware if the claim made by Stamets regarding Psilocybin's potential to be used as a "brain vitamin" has been substantiated by other scientists in the community?

Are there any mainstream studies being conducted to determine Psilocybin's potential use as a performance enhancing substance?

QuartzNews1 karma

There aren't studies to directly test Stamets' claims, but there are some that are relevant. For example, early research suggests psychedelics can impair attention https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/089892905774597191 but have a strong positive impact on creativity https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02791072.2019.1580804

Mother_Gaia011 karma

What do you know about psilocybin and migraine/cluster headache treatment?

QuartzNews1 karma

I've heard both psilcoybin & LSD can be effective for cluster headaches http://www.maps.org/research-archive/html_bak/totestcsses.html https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5584001/ I've spoken to both researchers and sufferers who say those with cluster headaches can be in desperate need of help (the condition is also called "suicide headaches" because it's linked with higher risk of suicide). There are reports of psychedelics providing relief in some cases

the1rush1 karma

I've read about studies in the UK of microdosing to treat mental health conditions such as depression. Will it be likely that research into the effects of psychedellics on possible treatments for neurological developmental disorders such as autism be explored?

Bo0_Radley-1 karma

Out of all substances considered psychedelics, which have you consistently seen be the most beneficial both short and long term ?

QuartzNews1 karma

I think the science is still being developed so I couldn't give a clear answer. It's really important to do multiple studies and even if the first studies show strong results, a larger scale study could then reveal downsides. I'll definitely be interested to see the results of the stage 3 trials on MDMA & psilocybin

spatial_interests1 karma

How much are older psychedelic therapy methods being investigated, specifically with regard to treating alcohol/drug addiction? I know people like Abram Hoffer, Humphry Osmond, Betty Eisner had a great deal of success in treating alcoholism with psychedelics.

QuartzNews1 karma

Addiction is definitely an area of research - John Hopkins recently announced studies on psilocybin for both alcohol and opioid addiction. And several contemporary researchers said they learned a lot from those who worked decades ago

EuropeanWannabe171 karma

How long do you think it will take to get such things legalised or decriminalised?

QuartzNews1 karma

It's plausible we'll see MDMA legalized to treat PTSD in the next three years, though of course it could take far longer

CalebStarch1 karma

Why is it 7K per gram?

QuartzNews1 karma

Researchers have to meet extremely high "Good Manufacturing Practices" by the FDA: The people doing the work, the chemistry procedures used to synthesize the compound, the purity of pre-cursors, and the equipment being used in the manufacturing process all have to meet certified standards. That's all extremely expensive

AtomicJugular1 karma

I’m all for legalizing psychedelics but what makes you think they’ll be legal any time soon? I mean, weed isn’t federally legal and I don’t see why lawmakers would agree to that. Especially due to the medicinal benefits, they could lose money on pharmaceuticals, hence the reason why the FDA is constantly attacking kratom.

QuartzNews1 karma

The FDA has given the stage 3 trials on psilocybin and MDMA "breakthrough therapy" designation, meaning they want to fast-track them through the drug development process. Though big pharma isn't involved, there definitely seems to be interest in these drugs being approved for specific medial use in the coming years

MalDeOjo-1 karma

Will psychedelics even be used in positive a manner? What are the benefits to having it legalized? All I can really see happening with this is that it will be easier for teens to get their hands on it. It's quite easy for my friend to get it and we're all under the age of 21.

I feel like it's just a way pharmaceutical companies can make more money. They handle strong drugs poorly, for example, fentanyl. Fentanyl was made for 3rd stage cancer patients but big companies wanting to make more profits let doctors prescribe these drugs for things as little as oral and groin pain.

I can rarely see an positives effects of legalizing psychedelics. Then again, dont know how these drugs were used for other than having a good trip.

QuartzNews1 karma

I'm glad you mention fentanyl - there are plenty of ways for both legal and illegal drugs to be used badly. I think if there's sufficient evidence of medical benefits to psychedelics (I've mentioned some of the studies in this AMA) then they should be legalized just like any other drug, so that patients can have access to them if they need. For those with PTSD, for example, legal MDMA therapy would allow them to experience the drug in a safe manner with a trained therapist. Legalizing psychedelics would also create the conditions for regulating therapists and safe dosage amounts.

atlantacontractor1 karma

Your not on Onnit’s payroll are you?? Lol. Jk.

Seriously. I have been researching all psychs in just my free time for fun. I only wish I could have a job like yours.

I don’t think psychs would help me mentally because I don’t think I have any disorders currently. But I still enjoy them a whole hell of a lot. Do you think there is anyway people who are not mentally ill or have PTSD will ever get to use these legally?

I know Denver decriminalized magic mushrooms recently, but it is still illegal on the national level. Is there anyone pushing the legal aspect of making psychs legal on the national level?

QuartzNews2 karma

There are a few other ballots, for example in Oregon, and magic mushrooms have been decriminalized in New Mexico since 2005. For the most part, though, the work on legalizing psychedelics focuses on medical rather than recreational

cheapcab1 karma

I take psychedelics because they are fun and help with re I dry from other drugs.

What benefits in relation to other drug use do you see?

QuartzNews1 karma

There are studies that suggest they can help treat addiction

invrede1 karma

What about beyond psychiatric treatment - are there any studies or research that show how it can affect neurological pain (as an example)?

QuartzNews1 karma

There's some (I mentioned in reply to teasus_spiced), but research is less advanced

SlugTheAmazing1 karma

If you were put in charge of the education that teenagers get surrounding these drugs, what would you teach?

On a related note, what misconceptions about your work annoy you the most?

QuartzNews1 karma

I'm glad I'm not in charge, because I'm not qualified - but I think it's important to emphasize the risks, and to trust the developing science. These drugs aren't legal yet in part because there hasn't been a large enough study evaluating their impact. Such research is underway, it will be interesting to see their results.

I think I'm concerned by un-nuanced opinions on psychedelics: That they're always dangerous, or completely harmless and miraculous, for example.

RainbowSlime951 karma

What’s a psychedelic?

QuartzNews1 karma

LSD, MDMA, magic mushrooms, ketamine, are those with the most research, but there are many more. (Here's a definition https://www.dictionary.com/browse/psychedelic)

throwawaydyingalone1 karma

What’s your opinion on the DIYbio movement? Do you think that if the cost for legal psychedelics gets prohibitive that people will end up growing their own psychedelic compounds from engineered yeast?

QuartzNews2 karma

I've written on engineered yeast to create THC & CBD, and it does seem like it comes with benefits https://qz.com/1560689/thc-and-cbd-can-be-made-with-genetically-engineered-yeast/

I suppose it's possible to create psychedelics with yeast, though with magic mushrooms there are other ways to grow them naturally of course. The question of prohibitive costs is important - indigenous communities have practiced psychedelic therapy for centuries and there are concerns that these drugs would become unnecessarily expensive under a clinical system.

Emlcrstf1 karma

Are there any opportunities for people with interest and experience in this field to get involved?

QuartzNews1 karma

I mentioned universities in reply to triplenipple99. Otherwise, I think MAPS and Usona Institute are good places to start.

Wrathofcannes1 karma

Can you comment on the efforts of Tim Ferriss? Just curious if he’s helped the movement. It’s really through his podcasts that I’ve become aware of this world and all its possibilities.

QuartzNews2 karma

He was one of the donors to the newly-announced John Hopkins psychedelic institute, so he's certainly helped financially

vampedvixen-2 karma

Why should psychadelics be legal when they are so dangerous? I mean, marijuana I can understand because the risks are what... starring at the wall and getting the munchies for a few hours. But with psychadelics the person could potentially have to deal with flashbacks, being so out of touch with reality they hurt themselves or others, bad trips, paranoia, seizures, comas, ect. Honestly, no offense, this sounds like a HORRIBLE idea.

QuartzNews1 karma

There are definite risks, but studies have found magic mushrooms are the safest recreational drug https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/may/23/study-hallucinogenic-mushrooms-safest-recreational-drug-lsd

But the main research at the moment wouldn't be recreational, but medical. There's growing evidence that psychedelics could provide major relief for those with ptsd or end of life anxiety, and who haven't got treatment elsewhere. Medical psychedelics would be taken under the supervision of therapists, who guide the trips and limit the risks. No drug is completely safe, but that's also true for many legalized drugs.

MolMohsen-2 karma

Is it fair to say that the hippies are the first to introduce the LSD microdosing to the digerati culture in Silicon Valley?

QuartzNews1 karma

Well, hippies were mainly around in the '60s, and LSD was popular (had positive reviews, experiments in psychiatry etc) in the US in the '50s... so maybe some early hippies