OPEN Foundation

Mainstreaming psychedelics with Neşe Devenot, Ronan Levy and Erik Davis ICPR 2020

Within a short period of time, psychedelics have emerged from the subcultural underground and achieved unprecedented mainstream visibility. The agents of this process are multiple: clinical researchers, pharmaceutical companies, journalists, therapists, and self-help entrepreneurs, as well as more community-oriented bodies associated with decriminalization movements and new or existing psychedelic churches. Mainstreaming, which ignores or marginalizes the values and practices cultivated for generations in the underground, is often defended as the best way to get these valuable substances to the people who need them. But psychedelics are not like conventional medicines, and their dependence on “set and setting” means that the stories we tell about them influence how they behave. How are these various, sometimes contradictory mainstream narratives shaping the meaning and function of psychedelic experience today, and how might we direct this present turbulence in more positive, creative, and just directions?

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