Plant medicines and psychedelics, used in thoughtful and intentional ways, can be incredibly life changing and transformative. They offer the potential for profound spiritual experiences and deep healing. But these experiences can also be very challenging, difficult, dark, or painful. This is especially true when the person is unprepared for the magnitude of what they experience. Even people going through positive transformative journeys with psychedelics can find themselves struggling to come to terms with what happened or return to a balanced state. It is not always a smooth process.
With the incredible amount of public attention being showered upon psychedelic research, and a growing acceptance in mainstream psychiatry, it is a good time to take a step-back and examine the current state of the research as 2018 gets underway.
Much has been made of the so-called “psychedelic renaissance,” which has emerged following a 30-year drought in psychedelics research and above-board therapeutic uses. Coupled with a surge in interest in plant medicines like ayahuasca and the recent popularization of micro-dosing psychedelics for both mental health and productivity, its safe to say that psychedelics have again penetrated mainstream consciousness.
There has been a lot of attention on the Amazonian plant medicine Ayahuasca over the last few years, especially for its therapeutic potential. But, frankly, there has also been a lot of hype. Statements such as “its 10 years of therapy in 1 night” get bandied about regularly. And the psychedelic press makes big proclamations like “A Single Session Of Ayahuasca Defeats Depression” when new research is released. Meanwhile, the mainstream press relishes in the ayahuasca tragedy stories or overly sensational stories about the visions or the purging. In the end it creates a cloud of misinformation and confusion about what ayahuasca is and what it can do.