Psychedelics are among the most interesting and poorly understood of all the psychoactive substances. They produce a variety of complex effects on the brain and mind, including intensification of thoughts and feelings, alterations of sensory perception, and loosening of psychological defenses. Because of these complex effects, psychedelics are powerful probes of the connection between brain physiology and consciousness, one of the most deeply mysterious questions in contemporary science.
In their plant and fungal forms, psychedelics have probably been used by humans for millennia for therapeutic, ritualistic, and religious purposes. Modern scientific research with psychedelics has taken place for more than a century and was one of the driving forces in the early days of biological psychiatry. The widespread popular use of some of these substances in the 1960s contributed to legal regulation that closed down human research. However, after 25 years of quiescence, human clinical research with psychedelics is returning to mainstream science.
This workshop will cover the complex history, botany, chemistry, psychology, and sociology of psychedelics, leading up to the re-emergence of multiple arenas of contemporary research addressing the medicinal and spiritual aspects of these substances.
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