Are we amidst a psychedelic renaissance?


Background: Psychedelics have long been used by many cultures for spiritual and healing purposes. With the discovery of LSD in 1943, these substances were largely investigated in the medical field during the mid twentieth century. However, mainly due to political reasons, their use both for investigation and recreation was prohibited in the seventies. Some argue that a new psychedelic renaissance is taking place in the last few years, because of a renewed interest from the scientific and the cultural fields. We aim to review the evidence of a new psychedelic renaissance.

Methods: Literature review of publisehd papers on classic serotonergic psychedelics in the last 10 years.

Results: There seems to be a renewed interest in psychedelics among the scientific field. There is a large body of new research on the neurobiology, phenomenology and therapeutic potencial of psychedelics. The therapeutic potencial has focused on addiction, depression and existencial anxiety of cancer patients. At the same time, there is some evidence of a cultural interest in psychedelics. In a globalized world, ancient tribal practices are now available to a larger crowd. In what has been called as 'psychedelic tourism', shamans travel outside their countries to spread their practices and foreigners travel to countries where ancient psychedelic practices are still present. At the same time, small groups of interested people are gathering in psychedelic societies to share their knowleged about these substances.

Conclusions: Amidst a new psychedlic wave, psychedelics need to be reviewed from several standpoints: therapeutic potencial, abuse potencial, harm reduction and influence on culture.


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