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A brief history of psychedelic psychiatry

1960s: Days of Rage


Hallucinogenic Liberty Cap mushrooms, picked near Pulborough, West Sussex. Psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in these and other ‘magic’ mushrooms, has therapeutic potential.

“On 5th May, 1953, the novelist Aldous Huxley dissolved four-tenths of a gram of mescaline in a glass of water, drank it, then sat back and waited for the drug to take effect. Huxley took the drug in his California home under the direct supervision of psychiatrist Humphry Osmond, to whom Huxley had volunteered himself as ‘a willing and eager guinea pig’. Osmond was one of a small group of psychiatrists who pioneered the use of LSD as a treatment for alcoholism and various mental disorders in the early 1950s. He coined the term psychedelic, meaning ‘mind manifesting’ and although his research into the therapeutic potential of LSD produced promising initial results, it was halted during the 1960s for social and political reasons. Born in Surrey…

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