In western culture, we have a tendency to frown on the use of drugs unless it’s prescribed by a clinician or doctor. While I think it’s just common sense that there are some substances that are nothing but harmful, it’s important not to paint these types of subjects with broad strokes.

In shamanistic and indigenous cultures, the use of psychoactive substances is often seen as a rite of passage that puts one in touch with transcendent dimensions of reality (I know that’s the most hippy sounding statement of all time, but hear me out.)

New scientific research is supporting the idea that inducing these transcendent experiences with the use of psychedelic substances is the most effective way for combating several forms of mental illness.

One of the substances that seems to have a lot of potential in the future mental health research is psilocybin – the psychoactive compound found in magic mushrooms. Imperial College London researchers used psilocybin to treat a small number of patients with depression, monitoring their brain function, before and after.

Images of patients’ brains revealed changes in brain activity that were associated with marked and lasting reductions in depressive symptoms and participants in the trial reported benefits lasting up to five weeks after treatment.

Pretty cool in my opinion. Unfortunately, there is still an enormous amount of stigma that goes along with the use of psychedelics.

Despite the evidence that these are usually positive, growth inducing experiences, many people are still closed minded toward the subject. We have a long way to go before our government stops sending people to prison over psychedelic drug use.