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July 06, 2008

Newsweek on ‘shrooms

The holiday weekend provided a rare opportunity to browse recent magazines; while checking out an unrelated item at the Newsweek web site, I came across one on psychedelic mushrooms that permits me to call additional attention to the ignorance and misinformation our drug policy has been promulgating for nearly four decades and reinforcing with NIDA propaganda for over three.

Before going any further, and for the sake of clarity, I should point out that I see my encounters with chronic pot users as confirming that “recreational” drug use is such a poorly-defined concept as to be seriously misleading and best avoided. When drugs under the control of experienced users are shared with novices, such events are best considered “initiations” which may or may not ultimately lead to repetitive self-medication. It’s also my contention that when novices take control of their own use, it becomes therapeutic; whether they agree with that designation or not.

In other words, it’s not the prerogative of clinical research subjects to define either their own medical conditions or their optimal therapy. Beyond that, the real importance of my findings may be that the patterns of rejection they (unexpectedly) uncovered highlight some additional human characteristics that become quite worrisome; both in their own light, and in the context of current developments.

One is our tendency to avoid unwelcome (“inconvenient”) truth by flagrant denial; the other is that our need to deny may be so deeply rooted in an intrinsic cognitive flaw that its correction becomes unlikely.

One such inconvenient truth is that those creating and enforcing drug policy have never understood the significant differences in the way illegal psychedelics and equally illegal therapeutic drugs (pot, “uppers” and “downers”) are used; to say nothing of alcohol and tobacco. Beyond that, the (embarrassing) federal ignorance can also be seen as an indicator of the degree to which our vaunted governmental and scientific organizations have bought into drug war nonsense.

If our species’ leaders can be so wrong about such an important issue, what does that imply about the other problems we face?

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at July 6, 2008 06:16 PM