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[Vol. I] Psychedelic Medicine: New Evidence for Hallucinogenic Substances As Treatments
by Michael J. Winkelman & Thomas B. Roberts (Eds.)
Publisher:
Praeger 
Year:
2007 
ISBN:
978-0-275-99024-4 
Categories:
Book Reviews
Reviewed by Bruce Sewick, 5/26/2008

The two-volume Psychedelic Medicine edited by Michael J. Winkelman and Thomas B. Roberts should be a part of both academic and community libraries. As a mental health clinician and adjunct faculty, one of my goals for both clients and students is to foster critical thinking skills. This book will go a long way in providing balance in order to critically weigh information both favorable and critical of psychedelic substances. Despite political pressure, psychedelics are here to stay and current research cited supports the premise that there can be medical applications under controlled conditions. Even critics may find it difficult to deny use of these substances to those with psychological diagnoses resistant to treatment (e.g. PTSD) and those who suffer from chronic and intractable disease, such as cancer. Furthermore, the unsuccessful treatment of the social diseases of our times (i.e. addictions) opens the door to such an alternative treatment modality.

The first volume assembles current theories behind research and ways that psychedelics can be used productively in society. Winkelman introduces the concept of psychedelics as “psychointegrators”, which enhance the integration of information in the brain. Tom Roberts and Dennis McKenna speak to the possibility of psychedelic experiences enhancing the immune system. Other applications cited include the use of MDMA to treat PTSD, and the use of LSD and psilocybin to treat cluster headaches and the anxiety and suffering that can result as a part of the dying experience. Moreno and Delgado’s research in treating obsessive-compulsive disorder suggests that psychedelics may improve intracellular signaling. This is ironic (listen up baby boomers) when one reflects on how one of the initial erroneous LSD scare tactics presented LSD as causing chromosome damage!

Psychedelic Medicine provides a way to reconceptualize what previously had been demonized. Presenting evidence and proposing ways that psychedelics can be used for the benefit of society encourages critical thinking needed when weighing the misinformation presented in service of prohibitionist agendas. The mis-scheduling of drugs can then be understood to be a reflection of politics, not medicine, something that may not be readily apparent to the general populace and health care providers who focus on the isolated abuse of psychedelics rather than their potential use for healing.

This text concludes by considering ways psychedelics can be used to facilitate growth (both spiritual and economic). Part of the secret may be the way psychedelics promote integration and communication between mind and body on behalf of our physiological and psychological evolution.

More to come when I review Volume II.

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2 Comments »

  1. This sounds like a book worth recommending for purchase by my local library.

    Comment by ASR — 6/3/2008 @ 12:41 am

  2. I prefer listening to psychedelic music to be honest!

    Comment by Mesothelioma Attorney — 8/10/2008 @ 11:44 pm

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