🍄 Balancing the Psychedelic Narrative
A Call for Accuracy and Responsibility from All Sides
A few weeks ago, I found myself sitting in the crowd for a Dr. Phil filming. The topic was centered on psilocybin, and my good friend and client, Tracey Tee, founder of Moms on Mushrooms, was a guest. What I witnessed that day sparked the conversation and topic of this week's newsletter. I'll dive deeper into the Dr. Phil saga later, but first, let's discuss the broader issue at hand: the need for balanced, accurate, and responsible representation of psychedelics from all sides of the conversation.
In today's newsletter, we're calling on both the media and the pro-psychedelic community to do better when it comes to representing psychedelics in a fair and balanced manner. While progress has been made in recent years, there's still work to be done to ensure that we don't paint these substances as either a magic pill or a dangerous threat.
📰 Sensationalism vs. Science
The mainstream media often falls into the trap of sensationalism, focusing on "bad trips" or recreational use, contributing to the stigma around psychedelics. This overshadows the valuable scientific research being conducted on their therapeutic potential. The media must prioritize factual, research-based reporting over sensationalism to encourage informed conversations about psychedelics. By focusing on the therapeutic potential of these substances and presenting their risks and benefits in a balanced manner, the media can provide a more accurate and nuanced perspective for the public.
🍄 Overblown Claims and Assumptions
On the other side of the spectrum, the pro-psychedelic community can be too quick to overstate facts and assumptions simply because they align with their beliefs. While many individuals have experienced profound benefits from psychedelic use, it's essential to recognize that personal experiences don't necessarily apply to everyone. We must be cautious not to overgeneralize or present psychedelics as a one-size-fits-all solution. The community should focus on sharing evidence-based information and acknowledging the complexity and variability of psychedelic experiences.
🎥 Stereotypes and Misconceptions
Both mainstream media and the pro-psychedelic community have a responsibility to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about these substances and their users. By showcasing diverse perspectives and experiences, we can help dismantle preconceived notions and foster a more accurate understanding of psychedelics' role in modern society. This includes highlighting the voices of those who have found healing through psychedelic therapy, as well as those who have had challenging or adverse experiences. Presenting a balanced view can help create a more accurate and comprehensive narrative.
🌐 A Holistic Approach
A balanced narrative requires a holistic approach to reporting on psychedelics, including historical and cultural contexts, scientific research, and advancements in the field. By providing a comprehensive perspective, we can help ensure that the conversation around these powerful substances is grounded in facts and nuance. This includes discussing the traditional uses of psychedelics in indigenous cultures, the resurgence of interest in their therapeutic potential, and the ongoing challenges and opportunities in the field of psychedelic research and therapy.
Now, back to the Dr. Phil saga. Tracey was there representing a community of moms, not as a scientist. She did a great job advocating for moms seeking education and community around this topic. I am proud of her work in this space and her passion for building community and providing a safe space for moms seeking education.
However, she faced opposition from a mother who had lost a child to an overdose. The mother against psychedelics argued that people should wait for FDA approval before using anything, but her son died of an overdose of an FDA-approved, doctor-prescribed substance. Interestingly, the mother in opposition had also tried to utilize psychedelics, particularly Ibogaine, to help her son. Unfortunately, as I said before, there is no magic pill. The point is that they turned to psychedelics to help save their son and are now against others having the option to do the same.
During the filming, more guests were brought on who opposed the growing interest and use of psilocybin. One such guest was Kevin Sabet, a former three-time White House Office of National Drug Control Policy advisor (I won't delve into the massive failure that is the war on drugs). He repeatedly emphasized risks that don't actually apply to psilocybin, such as the rapid proliferation of clinics across the country and the supposed irresponsibility of this development. However, this was inaccurate, as these clinics primarily administer legal Ketamine treatments, not psilocybin. Unfortunately, time constraints during the show prevented addressing all these inaccuracies, contributing to the problem of imbalance in the overall discussion.
Dr. Matthew Johnson, Professor at Johns Hopkins and an expert on psychedelics, and addiction was invited to be on the panel but unfortunately had a last-minute schedule change. I share this because it shows that Dr. Phil and his producers did, in fact, attempt to provide some level of balance on the panel, but the results proved differently without this key voice.
In conclusion, the responsibility to shape the perception of psychedelics in society lies with both the media and the pro-psychedelic community. By prioritizing balanced, research-based reporting, challenging stereotypes, and fostering open dialogue, we can create a more accurate and informed understanding of these powerful substances and their transformative potential.
Stay tuned for more insightful discussions on the psychedelic industry, and as always, feel free to share your thoughts and ideas with us!
Founder, Entheo Ventures