Apr 12

atau dalam bahasa Indonesia: Halusinasi oke aja loh!

An article in the  latest New York Times  discussed the latest developments of psychedelic science and how tightly regulated use of hallucinogens may help in treatments of mental disorders.

What is psychedelic science?

Psychedelic science studies active ingredients that cause hallucinations. Why is microbiology involved? Well this particular article talked about a substance, psilocybin, that is produced by a basidiomycete fungi (Mushroom). Quoting the paper:

Researchers from around the world are gathering this week in San Jose, Calif., for the largest conference on psychedelic science held in the United States in four decades. They plan to discuss studies of psilocybin and other psychedelics for treating depression in cancer patients, obsessive-compulsive disorder, end-of-life anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction to drugs or alcohol.

The results so far are encouraging but also preliminary, and researchers caution against reading too much into these small-scale studies. They do not want to repeat the mistakes of the 1960s, when some scientists-turned-evangelists exaggerated their understanding of the drugs’ risks and benefits.

For my Indonesian readers, the 1960s marked an era where a lot of (American) people used mushrooms as a psychotrophic drug to get “high”. People experience hallucinations ( illusory perception; a common symptom of severe mental disorder).

Now there are studies that show how psychedelics like psilocybin can have positive effects on the user. Griffiths et al. (2008) reported that patients treated with psilocybin under supportive conditions described their experience as “personally meaningful” and “spiritually significant” in their lives.Other studies have followed.

I think what is interesting is the fact that perceptions caused by hallucination doesn’t have a negative effect afterwards. However this study didn’t mention any addiction issues that could be caused by use of this hallucinogen. The full article by Griffiths et al can be found here.