A New Understanding – The Science of Psilocybin. A new and exciting documentary.
Psilocybin, a psychoactive Schedule 1 drug is said to give you in 30 seconds what anti-depressants can do for you in 3 to 4 weeks. ‘Better than 20 years in therapy’, suggested a volunteer in a therapeutic study after just one session. And terminal cancer patient Matt Meza said after a series of sessions, ‘I can die now with peace in my heart’.
Trauma patients and those facing a terminal illness are undergoing a revolution in their emotional healing thanks to Psilocybin, this documentary shows. This psychedelic mushroom is still considered a Schedule 1 drug by the FDA in America even though it has never been proven to be addictive. And not only that, its psychoactive properties may not jeopardise your mental health after all but may in fact serve to support it. A number of foundations and facilities around the world are exploring the very nature of this particular psychoactive substance and using it in therapeutic conditions proving its efficacy in offering patients a window in to a whole new way of perceiving the world and their place in it. They hope to show enough proof of its value for the FDA to change its classification from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 allowing it to become available to help people.
Patients in the final stages of cancer, for example, suffer severe anxiety in a number of ways. Facing imminent death brings vital questions to the fore such as thoughts about the meaning of life. They can also experience deep guilt and regret around their family or anger, loss and despair. At present sadly these emotional crises are usually handled with pain killers and medication rather than understanding and dialogue. But psilocybin taken in the presence of deeply involved therapists opens up new dimensions, changing beliefs about death and resulting in extraordinary levels of emotional healing. Patients have gone from thinking, ’Why bother when I only have three months to live’, to feeling, ‘Wow I have three whole months left!’ One man said after a session his wife had undergone when she’d received her cancer diagnosis, ‘My wife looked like someone had turned a light bulb on inside her head.’ Their remaining time together was vastly improved. It is also possible that physical pain thresholds can be raised not just the emotional ones.
But psilocybin is not just for the dying it is also a wonderful tool for those who feel their lives have little meaning and seek therapy to overcome chronic depression as well as other emotionally debilitating problems. According to the science, psychedelics make the brain perceive things that we’d normally experience as ordinary as novel and unusual – like seeing things through the eyes of a child. When patients experience, through their psychedelic journeys that they are infinitely more than they thought they were then their future can change. A substantial shift to a sense that there is something sacred and meaningful about each individual and their lives births new hope.
This documentary gives us the chance to hear from a wide number of therapists, scientists and researchers as well as volunteers and patients. With its scientific and mainstream approach it comes across with substance, discussing the therapeutic benefits without suggesting it is a cure-all. It is inspiring to know that all this research is being done through private funding, that no one is being paid a penny, and that Big Pharma doesn’t even have a fingernail in the game as psilocybin is in the public domain and therefore not worth their investment. Above all we get to see the passion and persistence of the scientists behind the research giving us hope for a future with ethical medicine available in the mainstream. As one scientist said, ‘These substances are to psychiatry and the study of religious experience as the microscope is to biology and the telescope is to astronomy – it’s an incredibly valuable tool if its wisely and responsibly used and the realms waiting to be explored within the human mind are vast.’
If you are new to the realm of sacred plant medicine this is a perfect starter package. You will never look at a mushroom the same again. If you’re already a sacred plant aficionado this is still well worth watching as it offers so much of the science behind the experience. But more than anything it’s worth witnessing the journey that some of the terminally ill patients take from desperation and distraction to that of presence and empowerment. We may not be at choice over the time of our death, but we are at choice over how we leave and this is inspiring.