…But a lot has changed since the ’60s. The political and cultural landscape is radically different, and far more receptive to psychedelics. Rick Doblin, a longtime advocate for psychedelics and the founder of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), made an interesting point to me when I sat down with him in Washington, DC, recently. (MAPS is a nonprofit research and educational organization that is leading the effort to promote the safe use of psychedelics.)

“In the ’60s,” he said, “the psychedelic counterculture was a direct challenge to the status quo … it was about dropping out of the culture. Today, things like yoga and mindfulness meditation are fully integrated into popular culture. We’ve integrated spirituality and all these things that seemed so foreign and alien in the ’60s. So we’ve been preparing culturally for this for 50 years.”

At the same time, psychedelics may also play a role in addressing newer health threats like the opioid crisis. (70,000 Americans died of opioid overdoses in 2017, more than the total number of Americans that died in Vietnam.) They’re being used to treat populations like veterans suffering from PTSD, or cancer patients who are confronting their mortality, or people battling depression.

Psychedelics are becoming tools of healing rather than a threat to the social order. And the scientists and organizations and training institutions leading the way are working within the system to reduce the potential for blowback. This is very different from the approach taken in the ’60s, and so far it’s been a success.

This is an excerpt. For Full VOX Magazine Article, click here: https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2019/1/10/18007558/psychedelics-ayahuasca-depression-pollan-mental-health