IN THE NEWS – The most convincing argument for legalizing psychedelics


In this article in Vox, BOTEC Analysis Chairman Mark Kleiman discusses the case for legalizing hallucinogens. 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 nonmedical, even recreational psychedelic 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.

From the article:

“But Mark Kleiman, a drug policy expert at New York University’s Marron Institute, noted that these benefits don’t apply only to terminally ill patients. The studies conducted so far have found benefits that apply to anyone: a reduced fear of death, greater psychological openness, and increased life satisfaction.

“It’s not required to have a disease to be afraid of dying,” Kleiman said. “But it’s probably an undesirable condition if you have the alternative available. And there’s now some evidence that these experiences can make the person less afraid to die.”

Kleiman added, “The obvious application is people who are currently dying with a terminal diagnosis. But being born is a terminal diagnosis. And people’s lives might be better if they live out of the shadow of the valley of death.”

Again, the current research on all of this is early, with much of the science still relying on studies from the ’50s and ’60s. But the most recent preliminary findings are promising enough that experts like Kleiman are cautiously considering how to build a model that would let people take these potentially beneficial drugs legally — while also acknowledging that psychedelics do pose some big risks.”


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