Kristi Panik, MD,
is a psychiatrist in private practice and on the clinical staff of the University Student Health Services at UC Berkeley, Calif.
Psychedelics produce a variety of interesting and powerful effects on the brain and mind, including intensification of thoughts and feelings, alterations of sensory perception, and loosening of psychological defenses. As such, psychedelics probe the connection between brain physiology and consciousness, among the most mysterious and exciting arenas in contemporary science. In their plant and fungal forms, psychedelics have been used for millennia for medicinal and spiritual purposes.