Science

The influence of society on the psychedelic experience

…expands the traditional meaning of set & setting in psychedelic therapy to include the broader contexts in which these substances are used. He calls this the “collective set and setting”: the broader cultural and social contexts in which these substances are used. This is something that pharmacological discourse has been reluctant to acknowledge over the years… complicates drug trials and discussions around drugs. [However], psychedelic users today are much more “psychedelically literate” than the ones in the 1960s, and that’s a result of a very rich culture of discourse and practice informed by the idea of set and setting. 

One of the defining ideas of pharmacology is an often implicit notion which scholar Richard DeGrandpre termed pharmacologicalism: the assumption that a drug is exclusively defined by its inherent pharmacological qualities – that it has one type of discrete effect independent of any variables. The closer we look at the effects of drugs, the more we see that they do not work like that at all. The effects of drugs, not just psychedelics, can change radically depending on the social and physical environment. Think of the example of US soldiers returning from Vietnam in the 1970s. The American army tried numerous plots to help these soldiers kick their heroin habit while they were in Vietnam, but all of these ultimately failed. Then, as the soldiers returned home, suddenly 90% of them were able to kick the habit spontaneously, without going through any kind of treatment.

Original Article (ICPR):
The influence of society on the psychedelic experience
Artwork Fair Use: Rezmason

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