I was Born to Do this
When I was a high school student in the 80s, the counterculture was in full swing and identified as drug abusers. The President's wife, Nancy Regan, started a campaign called "just say no" to drugs. As young adults, we were assaulted with tv and radio ads about our brains on drugs (depicted by someone frying an egg in a hot skillet) and say no to the drug dealers. Likewise, as of 2021, we taxpayers have spent over $1 Trillion supporting the ad campaigns.
As a kid, it scared the hell out of me. As an adult, I seek to find more information regarding the benefits of these "bad" drugs. In the paragraphs below, I share what I found.
Humphry Osmond was a renowned British psychiatrist and researcher known for his groundbreaking work in the field of hallucinogenic drugs and their potential therapeutic applications.
Born on July 1st, 1917, in Surrey, England, Osmond grew up in a family of physicians and was naturally drawn to the medical profession from a young age.
This is an Illusion
Osmond received his medical degree from St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in London in 1944 and soon after began his career as a physician. He initially worked in general practice, but his interest in psychiatry led him to pursue a position at the Weyburn Mental Hospital in Saskatchewan, Canada, in 1951.
Therefore, during his time at Weyburn, Osmond began to explore the potential therapeutic effects of hallucinogenic drugs such as mescaline and LSD. He conducted a series of experiments with his colleague Abram Hoffer, in which they administered these drugs to psychiatric patients under carefully controlled conditions.
Fungus Among Us
Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD in 1938 from lysergic acid, a chemical derived from the hydrolysis of ergotamine, an alkaloid found in ergot, a fungus that infects grain. Additionally, mescaline is one of eight hallucinogenic alkaloids derived from the peyote cactus, slices of which ("peyote buttons") have been used in religious rites by North and South American Indian tribes for thousands of years.
Importantly, Osmond and Hoffer found that using these drugs could significantly improve the symptoms of certain psychiatric conditions, particularly schizophrenia. They also believed these drugs could have potential applications in treating alcoholism and other addictive disorders.
Meanwhile, In 1953, Osmond coined the term "psychedelic" to describe the effects of these drugs, which he believed could help to uncover the underlying psychological causes of mental illness. He also famously administered LSD to author Aldous Huxley, who wrote about his experience in his book "The Doors of Perception."
Know thy Self
Huxley's central thesis on LSD was that the drug could provide a profound and transformative experience that could help individuals better understand themselves and the world around them. He felt that having these experiences would support people beyond mental illness.
Furthermore, Aldous believed LSD could break down the barriers between the conscious and unconscious mind, allowing individuals to access more profound awareness and insight. He also saw the drug as a tool for exploring the mystical and spiritual dimensions of human experience.
In his book "The Doors of Perception," which was inspired by his own experiences with LSD under the guidance of Osmond, Huxley argued that the drug could help individuals to see beyond the narrow confines of their everyday perception. Likewise, they experience a greater sense of interconnectedness with their world.
As a result, he believed that the insights gained from the LSD experience could lead to a more compassionate and enlightened society, and he saw the drug as a potential tool for achieving this goal. However, Huxley also recognized the potential dangers of LSD use and stressed the importance of responsible and carefully guided drug use.
Wait, the cost is almost free...
Meanwhile, Osmond's research into hallucinogenic drugs was controversial and faced significant opposition from the medical community (see oil, power, and drugs). Nevertheless, he continued to advocate for their use as a potential tool for understanding and treating mental illness.
In addition to his work with hallucinogenic drugs, Osmond made essential contributions to psychiatry more broadly. He developed a model for understanding schizophrenia that emphasized the importance of early intervention and the use of a combination of psychotherapy and medication.
Osmond also recognized the importance of environmental factors in developing mental illness and was an early advocate for community-based mental health care. In addition, he believed mental health services have a broader healthcare offering in today's system. Mental health professionals should work closely with other healthcare providers to ensure patients receive comprehensive care.
Shell Shock is just the Start
Throughout his career, Osmond was also a prolific writer and public speaker. He published numerous papers and articles on his research into hallucinogenic drugs and their potential therapeutic applications and was a frequent guest on radio and television programs.
Despite the controversy surrounding his work, Osmond continued to advocate for using these drugs as a potential tool for understanding and treating mental illness throughout his career. Subsequently, when he retired from clinical practice in 1981, he remained active in the field until his death in 2004. Osmond's legacy continues to be felt in the field of psychiatry today.
While the use of hallucinogenic drugs in treating mental illness remains controversial, there is growing interest in their potential therapeutic applications. Moreover, researchers continue to explore the use of these drugs in the treatment of conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Also, Osmond's pioneering work has played a significant role in shaping this field of inquiry.
Free Mary Jane
In addition to his contributions to psychiatry, Osmond was also known for his personal warmth and charisma. His colleagues and patients loved him, and he was known for his kindness and generosity.
Osmond's life and work serve as a reminder of the importance of scientific inquiry and innovation in the field of mental health. His willingness to explore unconventional treatments and challenge established norms has helped to pave the way for new approaches to understanding and treating mental illness.
Similarly, as we start to see more and more states legalize the use of marijuana, we wait for the federal government to acquiesce and allow these businesses to operate between state lines. Also, why would the government of the U.S. consider naturally derived psychedelic drugs, such as psilocybin and MDMA, Schedule I controlled substances, subject to various criminal penalties? What is the penalty for possessing LSD? No less than 20 years imprisonment, but no more than a life sentence.
Prescription vs. Drugs
On the other hand, Oxycodone, a prescription opioid (or narcotic) pain reliever, is a semi-synthetic narcotic analgesic, a popular drug of abuse among our population. What is the origin of this drug? Oxycodone is synthesized (chemically produced) from thebaine, a constituent of the poppy plant. Who owns the patent on this highly addictive drug?
Richard Sackler, whose family owns and operates privately held Purdue Pharma, has been granted a patent for opioid painkiller addiction treatment.
Oxycodone is a schedule II drug that is a prescription medication for a controlled substance that must be issued for a legitimate medical purpose by an individual practitioner acting in the usual course of their professional practice. Can a practitioner distribute LSD? LSD or acid is illegal under federal and state laws. However, The law will allow only legitimate wholesale manufacturing, distribution, and use in research and medical situations.
In short, pharmaceutical companies can create/synthesize chemical compounds that replicate nature to relieve pain. Natural and readily available psychedelic painkillers are illegal and can carry a sentence of 20 years to life if you possess them.
The more you Know
I'm grateful we can get quick relief if you are in great pain. I hope that we as a people can support those who are suffering with a more natural and holistic approach. It seems that there are many ways we can get relief with natural "drugs" through the proper care and support. The war on drugs seems a little extreme to me now.