This is the case to legalize psychedelics. Although the drugs have gotten some media attention in recent years for helping cancer patients deal with their fear of death and helping people quit smoking, there’s also a similar potential boon for the non-medical, even recreational hallucinogenic user. As hallucinogens get a renewed look by researchers, they’re finding that the substances may improve almost anyone’s mood and quality of life — as long as they’re taken in the right setting, typically a controlled environment.
The most remarkable potential benefit to legalize psychedelics is what’s called “ego death,” an experience in which people lose their sense of self-identity and, as a result, are able to detach themselves from worldly concerns like a fear of death, addiction, and anxiety over temporary — perhaps exaggerated — life events.
When people take a potent dose of a psychedelic, they can experience spiritual, hallucinogenic trips that can make them feel like they’re transcending their own bodies and even time and space. This, in turn, gives people a lot of perspective — if they can see themselves as a small part of a much broader universe, it’s a lot easier for them to discard personal, relatively insignificant and inconsequential concerns about their own lives and death.
That may sound like pseudoscience. And the research on hallucinogens is so early that scientists don’t fully grasp how it works. But it’s a concept that’s been found in some medical trials, and something that many people who’ve tried hallucinogens can vouch for experiencing. It’s one of the reasons why preliminary, small studies and research from the 1950s and ’60s found hallucinogens can treat — and maybe cure — addiction, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
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