This therapeutic land rush is in turn dependent on the “return” of psychedelic science and clinical research. Here too we have seen various professional bodies and discourses, with rivalries between them, attempt to establish their dominance over the knowledge basis of psychedelics, partly with an eye to extract value for a hungry pharmaceutical and mental health industry… powerful political reasons that drive contemporary clinical researchers – and their pharmacorp and entrepreneurial pals – to downplay LSD: the desire to enforce a new narrative freed from the dastardly taint of the counterculture.
Or you can consider the rivalry that motivates the self-serving claim, which I’ve seen put forward by white-coats at various psychedelic science gatherings, that psychedelic science stopped with the scheduling of LSD and related compounds in the ‘60s and early ‘70s, and only started up again with the renaissance man Roland Griffiths or, if they are being fair, Rick Strassman. But this narrative only stands if you believe that “real” science can’t happen outside of legitimizing institutions. If you do believe this, please explain where we should locate Sasha Shulgin, or Jonathan Ott, or the garage botanists who haunted the great Entheogen Review… Professional therapists, along with clinical researchers and psychedelic entrepreneurs, have very strong reasons, both financial and optical, to marginalize or actively forget seventy-five years of LSD history, culture, and consciousness. Part of this is simply practical. From a working therapist’s point of view, LSD doesn’t make sense because it takes too long to metabolize, which stretches a session into hours and hours of sticky trip taffy that increases the likelihood of weird twists and turns and just takes a lot of time. Underground therapists have an extraordinary history of working with LSD, of course, but these were and are not “mass” protocols designed to profitably treat society-wide mental turmoil. Almost no one interested in installing a mainstream regimen of psychedelic therapy is paying much attention to LSD, despite the distinct possibility that the substance remains a uniquely excellent vehicle for the autonomous deconstruction and lucid reformation of self-patterns. But no matter: LSD doesn’t “scale.”