Psychedelics and Psychiatry a Year Later


This may be a pivotal moment in the history of psychedelics...



“We are at a pivotal moment in the history of psychedelics.” - Rick Dublin, PhD, Founder and President of MAPS

A year ago, we were in the second coming of psychedelics in the United States, meaning a resumption of more underground usage along with more academic research after the federal and legal shutdown following the first wave in the 1950s and 1960s. As discussed in my prediction on March 21, 2023, in the posting “Psychedelic Daily ‘Vitamins’: Social Psychiatric Prediction #2,” this second coming included the new involvement of for-profit investors.

My main prediction was that this time around new underground usage of micro doses, coupled with a liberated governmental policy, might well lead to daily usage to help our brains, sort of like daily vitamin helps support the rest of our body. The desired impact would be increased calmness, a sense of some cosmic connection, and the ability to see reality more clearly.

However, I continue to be concerned about the new profit potential of psychedelics. For-profit managed care has generally caused more harm than good as far as patient outcomes in medicine.1 Will the medicalization of psychedelics do the same? Besides micro vitamin-like dosage, research is suggesting the positive potential of psychedelics for treating posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and death anxiety, among other diagnosable disorders.

A long report out of a major psychedelic conference last June in Denver seemed illustrative of the ambivalence.2 It was called Psychedelic Science 2023 and hosted by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). The first such conference was in 2010. The past year about 12,500 attenuated live and about 10,000 online. Over these years, MAPS created a for-profit subsidiary that researches and develops the psychedelic MDMA, sort of like a pharmaceutical company. So the for-profit motive is here, too.

Overall, the author of the long report, who is an experienced user of psychedelics, seemed to have mixed feelings about the conference. His unexpected epiphany is that there may be other options to psychedelics to find meaning and connection in a safer way. He found that best conveyed in a workshop titled “Be the Drug.” It emphasized the positive placebo effect before the drug is actively working, as well as trusting interpersonal interactions.

In the prediction I made last year, I also mentioned alternatives to psychedelics. One was Winnecott’s “good enough” parenting that teaches tolerance, along with political processes that does the same. In the movie “Dune: Part Two,” the psychedelic spice is much more powerful than what we have today, but also much more addictive.

To normalize a more natural approach to mental health, perhaps we need a national Task Force led by the Surgeon General that would enhance mentally healthy processes from cradle to grave, in which psychedelics could play a role.

Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry and is now in retirement and retirement as a private pro bono community psychiatrist. A prolific writer and speaker, he has done a weekday column titled “Psychiatric Views on the Daily News” and a weekly video, “Psychiatry & Society,” since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged. He was chosen to receive the 2024 Abraham Halpern Humanitarian Award from the American Association for Social Psychiatry. Previously, he received the Administrative Award in 2016 from the American Psychiatric Association, the one-time designation of being a Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Speaker of the Assembly of the APA in 2002, and the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill in 1991. He is an advocate and activist for mental health issues related to climate instability, physician burnout, and xenophobia. He is now editing the final book in a 4-volume series on religions and psychiatry for Springer: Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, Christianity, and now The Eastern Religions, and Spirituality. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric Times.


1. Moffic HS. The Ethical Way: Challenges & Solutions for Managed Behavioral Healthcare. Jossey-Bass; 1997.

2. Ross W. Through the psychedelic looking glass. New Lines Magazine. March 18, 2024. Accessed March 22, 2024.

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