Psychedelics, Madness & Awakening: Harm Reduction and Future Visions
Conference logo designed up Koyote do Mar
ARN member Tehseen Noorani is co-organising a conference scheduled for early 2021, drawing together researchers and activists engaged at the intersections of psychedelic experiences and ones labeled variously as 'mad', 'crazy' or 'psychotic'. This conference is being organized with anthropologist Patricia Kubala and mental health advocate Will Hall. The conference will rethink the contentious relationship between psychedelics, madness and awakening. Difficult psychedelic trips and extreme emotional states can create profound opportunities for growth, but their healing and spiritual potential is often pathologized as psychotic or manic instead. Early research described psychedelics as both 'psychotomimetic' - imitating psychosis - and as curing psychosis, suggesting complex possibilities now overlooked. Today, despite some people who are diagnosed with psychosis, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia using psychedelics in their recovery, psychedelics are considered contraindicated for such pathologies. As psychedelics re-enter mainstream psychiatry, it is a timely moment to open a dialogue and critical examination of the relationship between psychedelics and madness.