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← Transforming Medicine: Psychedelic Science 2013 Mini-Documentary

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  1. [Inspirationional music]
  2. [Albert Garcia-Romeu] Because of the long hiatus in psychedelic research, there's a lot we don't know

  3. about how they can be used to help people, and at this point, now that we're actually turning around
  4. and looking at these substances with a fresh eye, I think that there's a lot of benefit that we're finding,
  5. whether it be producing mystical experiences, helping ease end-of-life anxiety for people
  6. who are near death, or in the treatment of addiction or depression, there's a lot of potential uses that
  7. have really yet to be explored in a scientific way, and so it... we think that it's worth looking at.
  8. [Amanda Feilding] The research being carried out is starting to bear valuable fruit,

  9. not only in our understanding of brain function and consciousness, but, very importantly,
  10. also in terms of new clinical applications.
  11. [Android Jones] If there's any realm that we should really be the master of that domain,

  12. it should be the expiration of our own individual consciousness.
  13. [Erad Ayal] This is my first psychedelic science conference. It's been quite an experience.

  14. There's a ton of people here. I love that it's, you know, university professors and, you know,
  15. people that I might have met at Burning Man, all in the same place at the same time.
  16. [Tanya Hollo] This is my first time at MAPS conference.

  17. I'm really interested in psychedelic research.
  18. [Randal Roberts] There's a shared desire to do something positive, more than just

  19. canned food dropped off. People are doing something positive with maybe their whole life,
  20. or they're fiercely dedicated to something that would be accentuated by being here
  21. and meeting people and learning more. So, I think there's a lot of smiles
  22. and a lot of kind, intelligent people here.
  23. [Allison van Nostran] I've just been really impressed and really struck by

  24. the depth and breadth of research that IS taking place.
  25. [Don Lattin] They really are committed to the scientific method and legitimate research,

  26. and they are VERY careful, and a lot of the leading researchers are VERY cautious
  27. about who they select for... to be research subjects, and I think that's really important.
  28. [Rick Doblin] This conference is bigger than any other conference we've ever organized.

  29. [Equipment thumping]
  30. Having community [?] together really was the reason why the conference was such a success.
  31. [Jones] It's always great to see an evolution and an increase in attendence,

  32. seeing the certain tracks/tracts [?] change and grow.
  33. [Doblin] I think what's been more developed here is the opportunities for people

  34. to speak with each other. [Equipment thumping.] We've set up more spaces, we've set up
  35. more time for that. Right now in the market [?] place here, it's going till 2 in the morning or something,
  36. so there's lots of time for people to talk to each other.
  37. [Wistful piano music]

  38. [van Nostran] I mean there's just... there's a lot of really amazing things happening out there.

  39. [Hollo] I'm particularly interested in mental health

  40. and addiction, and there's a lot of information here about that.
  41. [Lattin] Bill Wilson, who's the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, who did a lot of research

  42. and personal experimentation with LSD in the 1950s, long after he sobered up, thinking that the LSD
  43. could be used to help alcoholics have the spiritual experience that's so important in a 12-step program.
  44. [Garcia-Romeu] Right now, I am helping to complete a pilot study which is

  45. for helping people quit smoking cigarettes using psilocybin and some combination
  46. of cognitive behavioral therapy.
  47. I feel the Hopkins approach is successful as a result of combining a caring team of researchers

  48. with a comprehensive support system in conjunction with the psilocybin sessions.
  49. None of those three components would be as effective if used individually. Truths are simplified,
  50. issues become transparent and manageable, lifestyle needs become more self-evident.
  51. Your individual beyond [?] is expanded.
  52. As of right now, our results for the smoking study seem to show that psilocybin can be very useful

  53. in helping people quit smoking, and so why would that not be something to investigate?
  54. [Doblin] These aren't just recreational tools, but these are therapeutic tools and spiritual tools

  55. that have been used for thousands of years.
  56. [Joe Tafur] Traditional ayahuasca ceremony offers an opportunity for rapid limbic revision,

  57. resulting in profound healing, likely in part through epigenetic revision in the limbic system
  58. and related structures and beyond.
  59. [Hollo] I think that psychedelics are one way of achieving a state of mind that is achievable

  60. through other paths, although the other paths aren't necessarily an option in our society,
  61. especially for people who are severely addicted or severely mentally ill. It's not realistic to ask them
  62. to sit and meditate for as long as they need to meditate for... to get to that place. Psychedelics provide
  63. a realistic option for helping people reach those places to allow that shift in perspective
  64. that can help them re... - help us, help me - reevaluate my life and move forward.
  65. [Gabor Mate] Mainstream medicine is one particular perspective that has a lot to offer,

  66. both in the treatment of chronic and acute illness, but which also seriously fails
  67. to understand human beings, to know how to encourage healing inside a human being.
  68. We separate the mind from the body. We're not very good at dealing with the healing
  69. of chronic conditions at all. And if you don't know how to cut it out, burn it, or poison it,
  70. we don't know what to do with it. The issue of alternative medicine is one of language.
  71. The first question we have to ask is, "Alternative to what?" Because when you say "alternative medicine"
  72. or "complementary medicine", we're making the assumption that mainstream medicine is somehow
  73. the valid or accepted way to do it and everything else is an alternative to it.
  74. Actually, it's much more complicated than that.
  75. [van Nostran] My passion is really kind of reframing the conversation around psychedelics

  76. and trying to encourage people, especially young people, to be able to speak articulately
  77. and compellingly about what's going on with psychedelics.
  78. [Daniel Jabbour] The Psychedelic Society of San Francisco is an organization that we started

  79. a little over a year and a half ago. Actually, at the MAPS conference was our first meeting,
  80. and there were just 30 people there, and now we're up to almost 4000 people
  81. across our various social networks. And we host lectures, film screenings, discussions,
  82. to bring together people to talk about psychedelics in a more educational context.
  83. [Devon Tackels] SSDP is an international network of students who are fighting back

  84. against the counterproductive war on drugs. The SSDP essentially empowers youth members
  85. to get involved within the political environment to advocate for sensible alternatives
  86. to drug prohibition. In a time of an alcohol or drug overdose emergency, students are hesitating
  87. to call the police or paramedics out of fear of their friend getting in trouble or arrested
  88. or maybe kicked out of school, or themselves as well. So, we advocate for good Samaritan,
  89. also known as medical amnesty, policies that remove that hesitation factor by removing
  90. the academic punishments associated with making that call.
  91. [Eyal] Right now I'm working on a project to find an ethnobotanist or an anthropologist

  92. that's familiar with psychedelic science, and present what's happening
  93. at the psychedelic science conference to the world, really let people that have never heard
  94. of ayahuasca before into this fascinating world of culture, different tribal rituals, the science,
  95. the fMRI, all of that.
  96. [Roberts] The legitimate research of psychedelics is important, and there's always an increasing sense

  97. that we will pop through and maybe do it, maybe do something right as a culture.
  98. [Jones] Art is really the only way to encapsulate and to share the experience of visionary realms

  99. that we have available. You know, we can't take cameras and recording devices into our visions,
  100. and so we are kind of at the mercy of the visionary artist or artists that have chosen
  101. this particular, strange, creative career path.
  102. [Roberts] Some glimpse an... a spiritual truth, and make it accessible for everyone, despite their

  103. language or background. With enough legalized psychedelic use, enough openmindedness
  104. on the psychological front, that we could actually break through to a permanent, peaceful,
  105. human solution, at least this is keeping us afloat, these studies keep us afloat, and keeping it
  106. on a legitimate, scientific discussion table is so important, or Marlboro will buy everything,
  107. and everything else will be destroyed. We have to have that edge.
  108. [Doblin] The founding of MAPS, for me, was kind of astonishing, and so, in order to do that,

  109. you kind of have to recognize that the system isn't entirely corrupt and that there are ways in which...
  110. I mean, part of this is to admit that it actually has some value. You know, I wasn't sure if it'd ever work.
  111. You know, I just knew that it was something worth striving for. And the fact that we would be
  112. having meetings at the Pentagon, that we would be on... already working with veterans,
  113. that we would have LSD studies and MDMA studies and ibogaine studies and ayahuasca studies
  114. in published magazines and have conferences with so many people... So, I never thought
  115. the challenges would be so great, but at the same time the tools are increasing.
  116. [Mate] In terms of discussing publicly the potential benefits of psychoactive substances -

  117. psychedelic substances - we mustn't be evangelists, we mustn't be trying to convince anybody.
  118. We will... it's not a cause. It's simply a great potential modality for helping a whole lot of people.
  119. So, we need to present the evidence for it seriously and humbly, and we have to expect
  120. that some people will be drawn to that, some people will not be. And we have to be clear
  121. that it isn't the past [?] here, that we are not offering here the solutions to the problems of the world
  122. or the healing of every ill person on the planet. All we're saying is, "Here's a modality that has
  123. a lot of research behind it, has a lot of human experience behind it, that has proved to be
  124. transformationally healing for many people. Why exclude it from the conversation?"
  125. [Hopeful music]

  126. [Feilding] Reforming global drug policy and re-basing it on scientific evidence rather than

  127. on ideology and panic is so important for improving human well-being.
  128. [Music fades]