The Psychedelic Policy Quagmire


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Edited by J. Harold Ellens and Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D.

From the Publisher: Edited by two preeminent scholars, this book provides coverage of the policy issues related to the increasingly diverse treatments, practices, and applications of psychedelics.

Hallucinogenic substances like LSD, mescaline, peyote, MDMA, and ayahuasca have a reputation as harmful substances that are enjoyed only by recreational users committing criminal acts. But leading international researchers and scholars who contributed to this book hold that the use of psychedelic substances for health, religious, intellectual, and artistic purposes is a Constitutional right—and a human right. Based on that conclusion, these scholars focus on policy issues that regulate the use of psychedelic drugs in medicine, religion, personal life, and higher education, arguing that existing regulations should match current and anticipated future uses.

This volume has two parts. The first surveys research on the use of psychedelic drugs in medicine, religion, and truth-seeking, following these topics through history and contemporary practice. The second section treats government policices that regulate the psychological, physiological, biochemical, and spiritual aspects of research and experience in these fields. The Psychedelic Policy Quagmire: Health, Law, Freedom, and Society challenges medical and legal policy experts, ethicists, scientists, and scholars with the question: How can we formulate policies that reduce the dangers of psychedelics’ misuse and at the same time maximize the emerging diverse benefits?

Praise for the Book: “This thorough, thoughtful review of the history of psychedelics, from drug policy and religious ramifications to our current understanding of its potential, powerful use in psychotherapy, is a must read. An impressive gathering of scientific minds and experienced clinicians offer the most up-to-date and detailed insider analyses of whence we’ve come, where we are, and the path to be forged ahead in integrating knowledge from these sacred substances.” — Julie Holland, MD, Editor, Ecstasy: The Complete Guide. A comprehensive look at the risks and benefits of MDMA. Editor, The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis.

“No topic in the study and analysis of emergent spiritualities has more potential to change what we think about pretty much everything than psychedelics. Perhaps not surprisingly, no topic is also more heavily disciplined and policed than this one. What a welcome intervention into this situation by such a gifted collective of writers, so full of hope now with new possibilities, new reasons, new words and new worlds.”–Jeffrey J. Kripal, J. Newton Rayzor Professor of Religion, Rice University

“We clearly need a sane, scientifically and clinically informed approach to public policy issues around psychedelics and this book offers a valuable exploration of the issues.” –Roger Walsh MD, PhD, Professor, University of California Medical School

About the Editors: J. Harold Ellens, PhD, is a retired university professor of philosophy and psychology, a retired Presbyterian theologian and pastor, a retired U.S. Army chaplain (Colonel), executive director emeritus of the Christian Association for Psychological Studies, founding editor and editor-in-chief emeritus of the Journal of Psychology and Christianity, and founder and chairman emeritus of the section on Psychological Hermeneutics of Bible Themes and Texts in the International Society for Biblical Studies. He teaches at the Ecumenical Theological Seminary and is a psychotherapist in private practice. Ellens has published extensively on the interface of psychology and religion/spirituality. His recent publications include Praeger’s Winning Revolutions: The Psychology of Successful Revolts for Freedom, Fairness, and Rights; Seeking the Sacred with Psychoactive Substances: Chemical Paths to Spirituality and to God; The Destructive Power of Religion: Violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; Psychology and the Bible: A New Way to Read the Scriptures; Radical Grace: How Belief in a Benevolent God Benefits our Health; Understanding Religious Experience: What the Bible Says about Spirituality; Miracles: God, Science, and Psychology in the Paranormal; The Spirituality of Sex; The Healing Power of Spirituality: How Faith Helps Humans Thrive; Explaining Evil; and Heaven, Hell, and Afterlife: Eternity in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Ellens has authored, coauthored, or edited 274 published volumes, 178 professional journal articles, and 205 review articles.

Thomas B. Roberts, PhD, is emeritus professor of educational psychology at Northern Illinois University, where he taught Foundations of Psychedelic Studies as an Honors Program Seminar. Started 1981 and taught through 2013, it was the world’s first university-cataloged psychedelic course. Roberts encourages the legal adaptation of psychedelics for wide cultural uses, primarily for their academic and spiritual applications. He formulated Multistate Theory (2013) coined mindapps, neurosingularity, metaintelligence, and identified and characterized the Entheogenic Reformation (2014). He is a founding member of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, a cofounder of the Council on Spiritual Practices, started the Rising Researcher conference sessions, and launched the celebration of Bicycle Day to commemorate the day Albert Hofmann intentionally took LSD. Roberts earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Hamilton College, his Master of Arts degree at the University of Connecticut, and his doctorate at Stanford University. In addition to numerous professional articles, chapters, book reviews, and lectures, his major publications include Praeger’s Psychedelic Medicine: New Evidence for Hallucinogenic Substances as Treatments as well as The Psychedelic Future of the Mind: How Entheogens are Enhancing Cognition, Boosting Intelligence, and Raising Values; Spiritual Growth with Entheogens: Psychoactive Sacramentals and Human Transformation; Psychedelic Horizons: Snow White, Immune System, Multistate Mind, Enlarging Education; Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments: An Entheogen Chrestomathy; The Second Centering Book: More Awareness Activities for Children and Adults to Relax the Body and Mind; Transpersonal Psychology in Education; and Four Psychologies Applied to Education: Freudian, Behavioral, Humanistic, Transpersonal. In the fall of 2006, Roberts was a visiting scientist at the Johns Hopkins Medical Schools’ Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit.

ISBN-10: 1440839700    –    ISBN-13: 978-1440839702

Additional information

Weight 31 oz
Dimensions 9.3 × 6.2 × 1.3 in