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How Psychedelics Are Shaping Modern Technology

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After decades of prohibition hindered any meaningful research into their potential risks and benefits, psychedelics are now attracting considerable interest from the scientific community. Multiple studies have found that classic psychedelics such as LSD, MDMA and psilocybin (magic mushrooms) can alleviate the symptoms of several hard-to-treat mental disorders.

Combining psychedelic treatment with talk therapy makes the novel treatment much more effective and allows patients to gain long-term relief from minimal psychedelic doses with barely any side effects.

Although current research efforts are expanding the scientific community’s knowledge of psychedelics significantly, researchers first began studying hallucinogenic drugs several decades ago. In the 1950s, Oscar Janiger dosed nearly 1,000 people with LSD at his home and meticulously detailed each individual’s experience. He concluded that psychedelics didn’t make noncreative people more creative but could influence already creative people. According to Janiger, psychedelics can offer creative people insights into their respective crafts, making it easier for futuristic thinkers to get a glimpse of the future or make breakthroughs.

The discovery of psychedelics, particularly LSD, was the catalyst that kicked the field of neuroscience into overdrive. Swiss chemist and LSD creator Albert Hoffman was so interested in how LSD affected him that he spent decades trying to decode the psychedelic’s secrets. His lab also sent dozens of LSD samples around the world to try and figure out different therapeutic applications for the recently discovered compound.

Researchers carried out thousands of studies on psychedelics from the 1950s to the early 1960s in a bid to understand how psychedelics delivered their effects, pushing science into entirely novel directions. According to Janiger, psychedelics also provided creative thinkers with a new tool to help them flex their cognitive muscles. Indeed, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs famously said that LSD was among the most “important things” in his life and admitted to having taken LSD-laced sugar cubes dozens of times in the years before Apple’s founding.

While it is unlikely that psychedelics are responsible for the computer revolution, American psychologist and author Timothy Leary believes they contributed. Leary predicted that psychedelics such as psilocybin and LSD could help people transcend the physical world in the 1960s and predicted in the 1980s that a combination of smart drugs and psychedelics could allow people to transcend both space and time.

While not many bought into Leary’s cyberpunk theories, Leary also believed that psychedelics could help expand mental horizons for those who were already creative thinkers, allowing them to exercise their creativity further than they could before.

It remains to be seen to what extent startups such as Mind Medicine Inc. (NASDAQ: MNMD) (NEO: MMED) (DE: MMQ) will push the envelope of the health and wellness use cases of psychedelic substances.

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