1. MDMA, which shares a chemical structure with mescaline and amphetamine, is technically not a classic psychedelic drug. Some researchers prefer calling the substance an empathogen, a term that highlights the feelings of empathy produced by the drug; others have proposed the term “entactogen” to emphasize the anxiolytic effects of the substance. Nonetheless, MDMA is regularly subsumed under the “psychedelic” banner, and in this book, I also include MDMA as part of the revival of psychedelic therapy.
2. Although MDMA is often colloquially called “ecstasy,” street drugs sold as ecstasy are typically not bona fide MDMA, as they are typically cut with other substances.
3. Mithoefer et al., “3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine.”
4. “Rolling” is slang used to describe being high on ecstasy.
5. Edsinger and Dolen, “Conserved Role.”
6. I suspect that the feelings of depersonalization and subsequent panic attack were triggered by dehydration and overheating, common side effects of taking MDMA.
7. Chapkis and Webb, Dying to Get High.
8. Gerassi, Talking with Sartre; Wade, Foucault in California.
9. Huxley, Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell.
10. Wolfe, “Public and Private,” 187.
11. Snelders, Kaplan, and Pieters, “On Cannabis.”
12. My phrasing here is inspired by Clarke and Fujimura’s classic volume, The Right Tools for the Job.
13. “Psychonaut” is a term coined by writer Ernst Jünger to describe someone who explores altered states of consciousness through techniques like meditation, sensory deprivation, or the use of hallucinogenic drugs.
15. Campbell, Discovering Addiction.
16. If you ever want to know if your grandma has dropped acid, just write a book about psychedelic drugs. After learning about my research, many acquaintances and strangers confided in me about their own drug experiences. It was especially common for older academics to tell me that they grew up in the 1960s, as if to say, “I passed the acid test.”
19. Frickel and Moore, New Political Sociology of Science.
20. Kempner, “Chilling Effect,” 1572.
21. Leary, Politics of Ecstasy, 67.
22. Michael Pollan draws attention to the boundary-dissolving meaning underlying the term “acid” in How to Change Your Mind. “LSD truly was an acid,” Pollan writes, “dissolving almost everything with which it came into contact” (214).
1. The following description of Ross’s foray into the history of psychedelic science is pieced together from Roc Morin, “Prescribing Mushrooms for Anxiety,” Atlantic, August 22, 2014, http://www.theatlantic.com/, as well as Ross’s conference presentation at Psychedelic Science 2010 (“NYU Psilocybin Research Project—Stephen Ross, Jeffrey Guss, Anthony Bossis, Bryan West,” MAPS, Vimeo, https://vimeo.com/).
2. Hoch, “Experimentally Produced Psychoses”; Savage and McCabe, “Residential Psychedelic (LSD) Therapy for the Narcotic Addict.”
3. I use the term “psychedelics” as opposed to “hallucinogens”—which is more commonly used in the medical and scientific literature—to reference psychoactive substances like LSD, DMT, mescaline, and psilocybin, as well as structurally similar but pharmacologically distinct substances like MDMA (sometimes called entactogens or emphathogens), which are part of the revival of this area of inquiry.
4. Pahnke et al., “LSD-Assisted Psychotherapy.”
5. The same issue also included an article written by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, which reported similar results from their controlled study of psilocybin therapy for treating cancer anxiety. See Griffiths et al., “Psilocybin Produces Substantial and Sustained Decreases.”
6. Ross et al., “Rapid and Sustained Symptom Reduction.”
7. See the table of contents in the December 2016 (volume 30, issue 12) of Journal of Psychopharmacology for a full list of the editorials.
8. Carhart-Harris et al., “Psilocybin for Treatment-Resistant Depression”; Mithoefer et al., “Safety and Efficacy”; Moreno et al., “Safety, Tolerability.”
9. Healy, Creation of Psychopharmacology.
10. Blewett, Frontiers of Being; Osmond, “Review of the Clinical Effects.”
11. Grinspoon and Bakalar, Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered.
12. One team of researchers did receive federal approval to use LSD therapy with ten patients with terminal cancer in 1979 (Yensen and Dryer, “Thirty Years of Psychedelic Research”); nonetheless, most researchers dub the period from approximately 1976 (when the Spring Grove team ended their psychedelic research) to 1990 (when Rick Strassman launched his DMT study) as the dark ages of psychedelic research, during which the field lacked a sustained and coordinated program of clinical research.
13. In the dark ages of psychedelic science, which stretched from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, a small community of mental health professionals continued to practice psychedelic therapy through underground networks. In this book, however, I focus on government-sanctioned psychedelic therapy research.
14. Sessa, Psychedelic Renaissance.
15. Bogenschutz et al., “Psilocybin-Assisted Treatment for Alcohol Dependence”; Gasser et al., “Safety and Efficacy”; Grob et al., “Pilot Study.”
16. Carhart-Harris et al., “Psilocybin for Treatment-Resistant Depression.”
17. Garcia-Romeu, Griffiths, and Johnson, “Psilocybin-Occasioned Mystical Experiences”; Johnson et al., “Pilot Study.” For psilocybin-facilitated treatment for cocaine use, see “Psilocybin-Facilitated Treatment for Cocaine Use,” ClinicalTrials.gov, trial NCT02037126, https://clinicaltrials.gov/.
18. MDMA, sometimes referred to as an empathogen or entactogen, does not have the same mechanism of action as classic serotonergic hallucinogens, although it does produce significant changes in consciousness, which is why it is often grouped with other psychedelic drugs.
20. I use the phrases “psychedelic therapy,” “psychedelic research,” “psychedelic science,” and “clinical psychedelic research” interchangeably throughout the book to refer to clinical research on the safety and effectiveness of psychedelic substances in the treatment of psychiatric disorders and psychological suffering. See Langlitz’s Neuropsychedelia for a detailed ethnographic account of another important piece in the scientific resurgence of psychedelics: animal studies and neuroscience research. My use of psychedelic science is also distinct from the clandestine research conducted by the CIA in the 1950s to test the potential of hallucinogens as interrogation agents; see Lee and Shlain’s Acid Dreams for a detailed history of this research.
21. Eagles, Psychedelic Science.
23. Sessa, Psychedelic Renaissance.
24. Nutt, King, and Nichols, “Effects of Schedule I Drug Laws.”
25. Dyck, Psychedelic Psychiatry; Langlitz, Neuropsychedelia; Lee and Shlain, Acid Dreams; Novak, “LSD before Leary”; Oram, Trials of Psychedelic Psychotherapy; Pollan, How to Change Your Mind; Sessa, Psychedelic Renaissance; Shroder, Acid Test; Stevens, Storming Heaven; Strassman, DMT.
26. In Ghostly Matters, sociologist Avery Gordon argues that past social forces have a haunting influence on present life in complicated and unacknowledged ways. Similarly, I am interested in using this haunting metaphor to think through the ways in which the impure scientist’s specter controls the psychedelic revival.
27. My use of the phrase “legitimacy crises” in this book is inspired by one of my interview participants who repeatedly described psychedelic therapy as facing a “crisis of legitimacy.”
28. Harman and Mogar were already associated with the International Foundation for Advanced Study (IFAS). Opened in 1961, IFAS was a privately funded psychedelic research organization located in Menlo Park, California. During the early 1960s, researchers at the IFAS treated over 350 patients with mescaline and LSD psychotherapy, publishing their findings in mainstream psychology and psychiatry journals. Harman et al., “Psychedelic Agents”; Mogar and Savage, “Personality Change”; Savage et al., “LSD”; Sherwood, Stolaroff, and Harman, “Psychedelic Experience.”
30. This note appeared on a donated copy of the Institute for Psychedelic Research brochure. Psychoactive Substances Research Collection clippings, MSP61, Box 2, Folder 7, Purdue University Psychoactive Substances Research Collection.
31. Although I use episodes from Leary’s psychedelic career as a jumping-off point to understand the trajectory of psychedelics in science, this book does not take readers on a detailed journey through his life. If you are looking for an exhaustive account of his truncated race against Ronald Reagan for governor of California or his stint as an international fugitive after escaping from prison, plenty of biographies can fill you in, including Greenfield, Timothy Leary: A Biography, and Higgs, I Have America Surrounded. See also Leary’s autobiographies Flashbacks and High Priest.
32. This quotation appeared in a Playboy interview with Johnny Carson in 1969. MSP70, Box 4, Folder: Correspondence, November 1967, Charles Savage Papers, Purdue University Psychoactive Substances Research Collection (hereafter Charles Savage Papers).
33. Stolaroff, Thanatos to Eros.
34. Forte, Timothy Leary.
35. Psychedelic drugs and their remaking involve an assemblage of people from the sciences and mental health professions: neuroscientists, pharmacologists, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, addiction specialists, social workers, and anthropologists, among others. I group this collection of experts together as psychedelic researchers, which includes clinicians and scientists, and following Nielson and Guss, makes room for “non-clinician investigators and research support staff who may or may not interact with patient populations in their roles.” Nielson and Guss, “Influence of Therapists’ First-Hand Experience.”
37. Johnson, Richards, and Griffiths, “Human Hallucinogen Research,” 603.
39. “Psychedemia: Roland Griffiths Extended Interview,” May 1, 2013, YouTube. Quote appears around the seventeen-minute mark.
40. Pollan, How to Change Your Mind, 141.
41. Novak, “LSD before Leary.”
42. Oram, Trials of Psychedelic Therapy.
46. Zaitchik, “Flashback!”
47. Richards is referring to the space burial of Leary. A year after his death, seven grams of Leary’s cremated remains were launched into space on the Pegasus rocket, along with the ashes of twenty-four other people, including Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.
48. Zaitchik, “Flashback!”
49. Kempner, Merz, and Bosk, “Forbidden Knowledge.”
50. This approach, in which expertise is viewed as an acquired social status, is exemplified by the literature on the sociology of professions. See, e.g., Abbott, System of Professions; Starr, Social Transformation.
51. Eyal, “For a Sociology of Expertise,” 864.
52. Literature in the sociology of medicine, as well as science and technology studies, focuses on the interactional and performative dimensions of expert work. See Carr, “Enactments of Expertise”; Collins and Evans, “Expertise”; Craciun, “Emotions and Knowledge”; Hilgartner, Science on Stage.
53. Eyal, Autism Matrix; Frickel, “Building an Interdiscipline”; Stampnitzky, “Disciplining an Unruly Field.”
54. This is a concept that I developed with my colleague Paige Sweet. Knorr-Cetina defines epistemic cultures as “machineries of knowing composed of practices” to examine knowledge as that which scientists enact in social spaces, thus highlighting the local, contingent practices of expert doings. Knorr-Cetina, Epistemic Cultures, 10. Following from this, I use the concept of expertise cultures to think through expertise as a cultural form and practice, as opposed to a technical assemblage and professional venture.
55. Swindler, “Culture in Action.”
56. Frickel and Gross, “General Theory,” have drawn attention to the coproduction or co-occurrence of social movements and scientific/intellectual movements to illuminate the role of frames, narratives, connections, performances, and stories that characterize knowledge production.
57. Excellent examples of research on storytelling among experts include Decoteau and Sweet, “Psychiatry’s Little Other”; Hess, “Disciplining Heterodoxy”; Kempner, Not Tonight; Kempner et al., “Forbidden Knowledge”; Stampnitzky, “Disciplining an Unruly Field.”
58. Frickel and Gross, “General Theory.”
59. Haraway, Modest_Witness, 24.
60. Shapin and Schaffer, Leviathan and the Air-Pump.
61. Haraway, Modest_Witness, 24.
62. Technically a scientist insider, the impure scientist, as a failed expert, is also a cultural outsider. While science studies scholars have shown how lay outsiders can subvert the imagined purity of science, such as the case of AIDS treatment activists (Epstein, Impure Science) or the “immodest witnessing” of the women’s health movement (Murphy, “Immodest Witnessing”), I am interested in how scientist insiders threaten the boundaries between purity (science) and pollution (nonscience), and the purification practices that follow.
63. I am not using the term “impure” as a value judgment, as if to suggest that impure scientists are inherently bad. Rather, I use the “impure scientist” to describe a cultural category that is mobilized by interested social actors who graft their own meanings about morality onto the figure as a means of containing the perceived threat of cultural pollution.
64. My conceptualization of the impure scientist is influenced by theorizations of purity and pollution put forth by Mary Douglas and Julia Kristeva, who argue that the impure is that which threatens boundaries. In Purity and Danger, Douglas shows how different cultures respond to threats of contagion by engaging in rituals of purity and pollution aimed at reducing ambiguities surrounding boundaries and restoring social order. Kristeva builds on this theme of purity and impurity in Powers of Horror. She argues that identity is constructed by expelling that which is considered polluting: the abject, or that which “disturbs identity, system, order. What does not respect borders, positions, rules” (4). Although the abject can be repressed, it can never be destroyed—and hence its constant threat to subject identity and a presumed social order.
65. This is another concept that I have developed with my colleague Paige Sweet as part of our larger theorization of bad experts in expertise projects; see Sweet and Giffort, “Bad Expert.”
66. Like the modest witness, a gendered subtext undergirds the impure scientist. In my case, the impure scientist, Timothy Leary, is a male figure whose masculinity is central in how researchers construct his impurity. That being said, the impure scientist is not necessarily gender specific. Both masculinity and femininity can be mobilized in expertise projects. See Azocar and Ferree, “Gendered Expertise.”
67. Gieryn, “Boundary-Work.”
68. Lamont and Molnar, “Study of Boundaries.”
69. Eyal, “For a Sociology of Expertise.”
70. Sociologists have highlighted the ways in which social actors engage in bricolage and hybrid practices as they navigate ambiguous boundaries. See Craciun, “Moral Bricolage”; Eyal, Disenchantment of the Orient.
72. Sessa, “Author’s Reply,” 484.
73. Slater, “How Psychedelic Drugs Can Help Patients Face Death.”
74. Historians Stephen Snelders and Charles Kaplan have also used “set and setting” as a frame through which to analyze the history of psychedelic therapy. Snelders and Kaplan, “LSD Therapy.”
1. Playing the Science Game
1. Leary, Litwin, and Metzner, “Reactions to Psilocybin.”
2. Leary, “Effects of Consciousness-Expanding Drugs”; Leary and Metzner, “Use of Psychedelic Drugs”; Leary et al., “New Behavior Change Pattern.” However, a long-term follow-up of this study found these claims to be overstated; see Doblin, “Dr. Leary’s Concord Prison Experiment.”
3. A letter from Curtis Prout dated March 19, 1962, lays out the major criticisms of the Project, including administering the drugs in private homes without medical practitioners present, high doses of the drug being used, and researchers taking the drug with their subjects. Box 46, Folder 21, Timothy Leary Papers, Manuscripts and Archives Division, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations, New York Public Library (hereafter Timothy Leary Papers).
4. Leary, Flashbacks, 121.
5. Robert Smith, “Psychologists Disagree on Psilocybin Research,” Harvard Crimson, March 15, 1962.
6. Letter from Kelman to Leary, March 16, 1962, Box 43, Folder 1, Timothy Leary Papers.
7. Efrem Sigel, “Psilocybin Expert Raps Leary, Alpert on Drugs,” Harvard Crimson, December 12, 1962.
8. Beecher, “Science, Drugs, Students,” 338.
9. On May 6, 1963, the president and fellows of Harvard College voted to “relieve” Leary from his teaching duties, effective April 30, 1963, because he “failed to keep his classroom appointments and has absented himself from Cambridge during term time without permission.” The previous month, the chairman of the Center, Brendan Maher, had contacted Leary to request clarification about his duties at the Center, asking whether Leary intended to return. Letter from Maher to Leary, April 15, 1963, Box 29, Folder 8, Timothy Leary Papers.
10. Look Magazine was one of first outlets to cover the firing, publishing an exposé penned by a Harvard undergraduate and Crimson writer named Andrew Weil, perhaps best known today for his work on holistic health and integrative medicine. In the early 1960s, Weil came to Harvard with an interest in botany, particularly hallucinogenic plants. He wanted to participate in the Project but was turned away by Leary because he was an undergraduate. After Weil’s roommate participated in a psilocybin session with Alpert, Weil wrote several scathing tell-alls about the Project in Crimson and Look as jealous retaliation. See Weil, “Strange Case.”
11. Gordon, “Hallucinogenic Drug Cult.”
12. Unpublished manuscript, Box 30, Folder 16, Timothy Leary Papers.
13. Leary, Politics of Ecstasy, 85.
14. Busch and Johnson, “LSD 25,” 243.
15. Swiss psychiatrist Gion Condrau was the first researcher to suggest that LSD might help treat mental health problems, although he did not propose using it as part of psychotherapy. See Condrau, “Clinical Experiences.”
16. Busch and Johnson, “LSD 25.”
17. Abramson, “LSD as an Adjunct to Psychotherapy,” 132.
18. Abramson, “LSD as an Adjunct to Psychotherapy,” 133.
19. Eisner and Cohen, “Psychotherapy with Lysergic Acid Diethylamide”; Sandison, Spencer, and Whitelaw, “Therapeutic Value.”
20. This therapeutic model was considered so groundbreaking that even Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), tried LSD under medical guidance. His experience was so profound that he recommended people with alcohol dependency undergo the treatment—a proposal that was quickly shot down by AA board members. That’s part of the reason why dropping acid is not part of the twelve-step program. See Lattin, Distilled Spirits.
21. Smith, “New Adjunct.”
22. Chwelos et al., “Use of D-Lysergic Acid Diethylamide.”
23. MacLean et al., “Use of LSD-25.”
24. Langner and Kemp, “LSD.”
25. Foulds, “Clinical Research in Psychiatry.”
26. Beecher, “Psychotomimetic Drugs,” 257.
27. Hollister, Shelton, and Krieger, “Controlled Comparison,” 1352.
28. Several scholars have highlighted the impact of this methodological crisis in restructuring psychedelic therapy research in the 1960s, including Erika Dyck (Psychedelic Psychiatry) and Rick Doblin (Regulation of the Medical Use of Psychedelics and Marijuana), but this dilemma has been most thoroughly analyzed by historian Matthew Oram, and I highly recommend his Trials of Psychedelic Therapy for those readers who want a more in-depth look into the regulatory background that laid the foundation for this crisis as well as a detailed overview of early LSD therapy for alcoholism and the controlled research that followed.
29. Marks, Progress of Experiment; Lilienfeld, “Ceteris Paribus.”
30. Oram, “Efficacy and Enlightenment.”
31. As Smart and Storm point out, this was not the first time that a controlled study of an experimental drug yielded dramatically different results from an uncontrolled study. For example, clinical research on chlorpromazine, the antipsychotic darling of the psychopharmacological revolution, showed comparably fewer positive results when tested in double-blind trials. See Smart et al., “Controlled Study.”
32. Smart and Storm, “Efficacy of LSD.”
33. Smart and Storm, “Efficacy of LSD.”
34. Smart et al., “Controlled Study,” 473.
35. Mangini, “Treatment of Alcoholism.”
36. Ludwig, Levine, and Stark, LSD and Alcoholism, 243.
37. Mangini, “Treatment of Alcoholism.”
38. Jensen and Ramsay, “Treatment of Chronic Alcoholism,” 187.
39. At the same time, anthropologists and sociologists were drawing similar conclusions about the impact of extrapharmacological factors in shaping responses to psychedelic drugs. In his study of marijuana smokers, for example, sociologist Howard Becker observed how users’ experiences are shaped by peer groups. If users are properly prepared and supported, they are more likely to have pleasurable drug experiences. Anthropologist Anthony Wallace found that white subjects who took mescaline in a laboratory setting had markedly different reactions from Native Americans who consumed peyote as part of a religious ritual in a ceremonial lodge. For a more detailed overview of the history of thinking about set and setting in psychoactive drug research, see Hartogsohn, “Constructing Drug Effects.”
40. Cholden, Proceedings, 73.
41. Leary, Metzner, and Alpert, Psychedelic Experience, 11.
42. Von Felsinger, Lasagna, and Beecher, “Response of Normal Men,” 421.
43. Leary, Litwin, and Metzner, “Reactions to Psilocybin.”
44. World Health Organization, Ataractic and Hallucinogenic Drugs.
45. Leary, Metzner, and Alpert, Psychedelic Experience, 11.
46. Leary, Litwin, and Metzner, “Reactions to Psilocybin”; Metzner, Litwin, and Weil, “Relation of Expectation and Mood.”
47. Hyde, “Psychological and Social Determinants.”
48. Others investigators also studied how the attitudes and expectations of people around research subjects shaped their drug reactions. See DiMascio and Klerman, “Experimental Human Psychopharmacology.”
49. The first LSD psychotherapy handbook, published in 1959, credits Hubbard for the model outlined in the manual; Blewett and Chwelos, Handbook for the Therapeutic Use of LSD-25.
50. For more on Al Hubbard, see Lee and Shlain, Acid Dreams, 44–56.
51. MacLean et al., “Use of LSD-25”; Rolo, Krinsky, and Goldfarb, “LSD as an Adjunct.”
52. Hollister, Shelton, and Krieger, “Controlled Comparison.”
53. Anticipating these criticisms, the Mendota State team commented that “staunch devotees of LSD therapy” would attack them on the grounds of “insufficient preparation of patients prior to LSD treatment and inadequate follow-up care.” Ludwig et al., “Clinical Study of LSD Treatment.” Other researchers conducting controlled research were less dismissive and even conceded to some of these critiques. In a single-blind study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the author explained that his study’s lack of treatment efficacy might have resulted from inattention to set and setting. He explained that the LSD “response is known to depend on patient expectation, setting, dosage, therapist rapport,” concluding that his results can “only be assessed within limitations imposed by experimental sessions.” Johnson, “LSD in the Treatment of Alcoholism,” 481.
54. For psychedelic researchers’ critiques of these controlled studies, see Fadiman, “Treatment of Alcoholism with Lysergide”; Kurland et al., “LSD in the Treatment of Alcoholics,” 83; MacLean and Wilby, “Treatment of Alcoholism.”
55. Osmond made these comments during a presentation on the history of psychedelic research at the Esalen Institute in 1976. Stan Grof Papers, MSP1, Box 17, Folder 10, Purdue University Psychoactive Substances Research Collection.
56. Osmond, “Methodology,” 708.
57. Osmond, “Methodology,” 708.
58. Hoffer and Osmond, “Double Blind Clinical Trials,” 221.
59. Hoffer and Osmond, “Double Blind Clinical Trials,” 236.
60. Abramson, Use of LSD in Psychotherapy and Alcoholism, 399.
61. Application for research grant on “A Controlled Study of LSD-25 and Alcoholism” submitted by members of IFAS, December 27, 1962, MSP70, Box 8, Folder: International Foundation for Advanced Study Grants, Charles Savage Papers.
62. Leary, Flashbacks, 108.
63. Abramson, Use of LSD in Psychotherapy and Alcoholism, 398.
64. Application for research grant on “A Controlled Study of LSD-25 and Alcoholism.”
65. See Oram, Trials of Psychedelic Therapy, for a detailed account of the history of Spring Grove’s psychedelic therapy research.
66. See “Exhibit 2: Grant Support for Hallucinogenic Study,” Subcommittee on Executive Reorganization, Organization and Coordination, 18–25.
67. The Spring Grove team was particularly meticulously in their attempts to maximize set and setting. In response to the proposed remodeling of the hospital in a memo dated April 29, 1969, team members noted that “careful planning must go into the design of the treatment rooms in which the drug session occurs. [ . . . ] Particularly important are pleasant surroundings; the elimination of sterile, clinical atmosphere, during the drug administration, in fact, has been a major factor in the decrease and near elimination in our studies of psychotic-like drug reactions.” The memo even specifies that installing “a carpet of 100% wool with reasonable pile height not less than .2 inches is recommended.” MSP70, Charles Savage Papers.
68. Kurland et al., “LSD in the Treatment of Alcoholics.”
69. Hollister and colleagues reported similar results in their controlled LSD study. After two months, subjects who received LSD were doing better than those provided with dextroamphetamine (a stimulant often prescribed for narcolepsy), but after six months, the difference vanished. However, this study didn’t combine LSD treatment with psychotherapy; nor did it give much consideration to optimizing set and setting. Hollister, Shelton, and Krieger, “Controlled Comparison.”
70. DeBold and Leaf, LSD, Man, and Society, 53.
71. Psychotherapy editor’s letter and reviewer responses sent in July 1969. MSP70, Box 2, Folder: Correspondence, June–December 1969, Charles Savage Papers.
72. Gamage and Zerkin, “Hallucinogenic Drug Research,” 65.
73. Oram, Trials of Psychedelic Therapy.
74. The argument that the growth of psychedelic therapy research was stunted by the rise of RCTs is not a new one. Mangini, in “Treatment of Alcoholism Using Psychedelic Drugs,” wrote about the impacts of the 1962 amendment on the reception of LSD alcohol studies, and Dyck (Psychedelic Psychiatry) detailed the resistance of Osmond and his team to the emerging model. Oram, in Trials of Psychedelic Therapy, offers a detailed analysis of the relationship between RCTs, drug regulation, and the dwindling use of psychedelic psychotherapy.
75. See Langlitz, Neuropsychedelia, for more on the role of Switzerland in launching the revival.
76. Pletscher and Ladewig, 50 Years of LSD.
77. Garcia-Romeu, Griffiths, and Johnson, “Psilocybin-Occasioned Mystical Experiences”; Griffiths et al., “Psilocybin Produces Substantial and Sustained Decreases.”
78. Griffiths et al., “Psilocybin Can Occasion Mystical-Type Experience.”
79. Incidentally, while researching this book, I came across several papers written by a group of British researchers at Marlborough Day Hospital in London who gave their patients a combination of Ritalin and LSD to treat a variety of troubles, including psoriasis, gambling addiction, migraine, and writer’s block. They also used LSD and Ritalin to treat frigidness, a now defunct psychiatric diagnosis applied to women who could not orgasm from vaginal penetration. While these British researchers dosed woman in the hopes that they wouldn’t have to fake orgasms anymore, Hopkins researchers hoped that Ritalin would fake out subjects and investigators by acting as a viable active placebo, as the substance shares similar subjective effects with psilocybin, like excitability and an increased positive mood.
80. Griffiths et al., “Psilocybin Can Occasion Mystical-Type Experience.”
81. Morin, “Prescribing Mushrooms for Anxiety.”
82. Carhart-Harris et al., “Psychedelics and the Essential Importance of Context.”
83. Johnson, Richards, and Griffiths, “Human Hallucinogen Research.”
84. Griffiths et al., “Psilocybin Can Occasion Mystical-Type Experience.”
85. Griffiths et al., “Psilocybin Can Occasion Mystical-Type Experience.”
86. Like their predecessors, researchers in the revival emphasize the importance of music as a tool for enhancing therapy sessions; see Kaelen et al., “Hidden Therapist.” Several psychedelic research teams have even made their psychedelic therapy playlists publicly available. For example, you can listen to the soundtrack used for patients tripping on mushrooms as part of Imperial College’s psilocybin for depression study by searching for “Psychedelic Therapy Playlist 1” on Spotify.
88. Carhart-Harris et al., “Psychedelics and the Essential Importance of Context.”
89. The Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College London launched the Global Psychedelic Survey in 2016 as part of their efforts to learn more about the impact of extrapharmacological factors in determining responses to psychedelic drugs. From this nonclinical data, they hope to develop empirical guidelines for optimizing set and setting in their clinical studies. Haijen et al., “Predicting Responses.”
90. As psychedelic therapy research moves into phase 3 trials, anthropologist Nicolas Langlitz points out that study teams will expand beyond the “tight-knit community of researchers who conducted phase I and II studies the past two decades.” For Langlitz, this situation poses additional difficulties for studying psychedelic therapies using RCTs, as study participants who are “guided through [their] trip by a psychedelic veteran” might end up having much different therapeutic outcomes than a subject participating in a study lead by a “born-again oncologist in the Bible Belt.” Nicolas Langlitz, “Psychedelics Can’t Be Tested Using Conventional Clinical Trials,” Aeon, December 14, 2015, https://aeon.co.
91. Metzner and Leary, “On Programming Psychedelic Experiences,” 5.
92. Sessa, “Turn On and Tune In,” 11.
93. Schuster, “Commentary,” 289.
94. Kleber, “Commentary,” 291.
96. Feinstein, “Additional Basic Science”; Levine, Ethics and Regulation of Clinical Research.
97. Feinstein, “Additional Basic Science,” 545.
98. See Epstein, Impure Science.
99. Montgomery, “From Standardization to Adaptation.”