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"The Trip Treatment"

"Research into psychedelics, shut down for decades, is now yielding exciting results."

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In an article in The New Yorker, Michael Pollan tells the story of how research in psychedelics, despite its bad reputation since the hippie era,  is having a renaissance.

Amongst other things the article describes experiments with giving psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) to dying cancer patients and how this treatment helps them to cope with their awaiting death.

Roland Griffith, a researcher mentioned in the article, explain in this TEDx talk the numerous potential benefits from treatment with psilocybin as well as how astonishing the results of this treatment looks compare to current alternatives. 

Its interesting how little value we in the western society give so called nature medicines which have been used for thousands of years in traditional cultures for various treatments. But as the article shows, this is about to change.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Do we dare to re-introduce this well-tried, ancient method of healing into a society so focused on innovation and growth?

Maybe the innovation (and challenge) in this case is how to re-introduce it in our modern society in an appropriate way?

Feeling connected to something bigger than themselves helps people cope with death


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Photo of Shane Zhao

Fascinating article and great insights Linus! You've raised a great provocation when you said: "Feeling connected to something bigger than themselves helps people cope with death."  

We've seen many wonderful examples of how people have gone through the end-of-life experience in an intimate way with their loved ones. It'll be important to also highlight experiences of spending one's last days being connected to larger community & movement. Really looking forward to how our OpenIDEO community will build on this thought!

Photo of Linus

Thanks Shane, looking forward to it as well!

While I believe that psychedelic treatment in the face of death will be commonplace within a couple of decades I acknowledge that it's probably not for everyone. I do believe, however, that lots of thing can be learned from study the experiences people have under the influence of psychedelics.

What would be some scenography, mindset and rituals that could enable people to have feelings of unity and connectedness with something bigger (as well as their loved ones) without having to take a drug? 

Photo of Diana Nunes

Shane Zhao , thank you for letting me know about this post! I believe there are great things that can be done with the help of psychedelics.

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