Monday, June 29, 2020

NPR: Psychedelic Plant Medicine (audio)

Terry Gross, Fresh Air (NPR); Pat Macpherson, Ananda, Dhr. Seven (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
Good Chemistry (Dr. Julie Holland, MD)
Dr. Julie Holland, author of the new book Good Chemistry, says that when antidepressants don't work, psychedelic plant medicines (entheogens) can be used in conjunction with talk therapy to help work through traumas.

People treated with synthetic chemical antidepressants for years are never cured. These profitable pharmaceuticals are not "cures" and make no such promise. After years some patients hit a wall, a point when such treatment no longer even eases symptoms.

Dr. Holland, a psychiatrist, says that's where entheogenic substances -- often called "psychedelic drugs" as if they were recreational highs -- could help.

Dr. Holland was in charge of the psychiatric emergency room at Bellevue Hospital on weekends from 1996 to 2005. She currently has a private psychotherapy practice in Manhattan, NY.

She's also a medical monitor in research by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS,, which involves, in part, developing psychedelics into prescription medications.
I prefer good meditation.
Her new book, Good Chemistry, explores how she thinks psychedelic drugs, including LSD (acid), psilocybin (magic mushrooms), MDMA (ecstasy) and cannabis (high CBD marijuana), might be used more widely in psychiatry to make treatment more efficient and effective.

"There are certain plant medicines in particular — things like psilocybin or ayahuasca — that really help people not only explore their personal trauma," she says, but also "this feeling of unity and connection. People really come away from these experiences having a new perspective."

Some Buddhists see value in entheogen use.
Dr. Holland acknowledges that the use of psychedelic drugs (entheogens) in psychiatry is controversial — but she says the practice is slowly gaining acceptance.

"Good psychotherapy takes years and there are a lot of fits and starts," she says, "and people run away when things get too heavy. But it's changing more and more.... The data is so compelling that in my opinion, people in my profession have no excuse for not knowing what's going on." More

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