Saturday, February 4, 2023

A Warning for the New Psychedelic Rennaissance!

For centuries, indigenous peoples around the world have held a deep and profound relationship with psychedelics. Shamans and healers have utilized plant-based psychedelics for their spiritual, therapeutic, and medicinal qualities—and yet, despite this vast knowledge of how to use these substances safely and effectively, modern Western culture has largely ignored the teachings of traditional shamans in favor of scientific research into synthetic derivatives of psychedelics. The consequences of this dismissal are dire: while science can provide us with cutting-edge tools to help us better understand psychedelics' potential benefits and harms, we stand to miss out on some crucial aspects when they are studied outside of the cultural contexts in which they were born. Indigenous cultures offer invaluable insight into the ethical and spiritual implications of psychedelics, and ignoring their teachings—or worse, attempting to appropriate them—serves only to deepen the scars of colonialism. Moreover, Indigenous people have an intimate knowledge of their respective natural ecosystems; this means they can provide detailed information about which plants are safe for consumption and how best to prepare them. This understanding has been perfected over generations and is critical in ensuring a safe psychedelic experience. Indigenous cultures also offer guidance on topics such as setting intentions prior to ingesting psychedelics, integration techniques following the trip, and ethical considerations when working with plants from nature's pharmacy. In our current era of psychedelic renaissance, it’s essential that we look to Indigenous peoples for wisdom about these ancient medicines. We must recognize the value of Indigenous cultures and make sure that any advances made in psychedelic science don’t come at their expense. Only by respecting Indigenous knowledge, rights, and traditions can we ensure a safe, ethical path forward for psychedelics. By doing so, we stand to benefit greatly from unlocking the healing potential of plant-based psychedelics while upholding Indigenous sovereignty. Doing anything less would be to our own peril.

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