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Psychedelic Medicine

Painting by Jennifer Davis

Other drugs may soon follow marijuana’s path from illegal to medical to decriminalized to legal

Magic mushrooms, those mind-bending fungi that helped to inspire the hippie counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s, are going through an existential transformation. And so is MDMA, also known as ecstasy, the drug that fueled all-night rave parties back in the 1990s. Earlier this year, the cities of Denver and Oakland made news when they voted to decriminalize magic mushrooms and other psychedelic plants—declaring that enforcement of state laws against them are to be the lowest police priorities in those jurisdictions. Legalization advocates in California, Oregon, and other states are circulating petitions in efforts to change state laws. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical startup companies have their sights set on the therapeutic potential of MDMA and psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, even though it’s still a bit of a mystery as to how Big Pharma can make big profits out of psychedelic revelation. Three startups have invested more than $80 million to conduct government-approved clinical trials in the United States and Europe. They’ve set out to prove that psychotherapy done wi …

About the Author

Don Lattin

Don Lattin is a veteran journalist and the author of five books on religion and spirituality in America. His national...

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