Is Psychedelic Tourism Destroying the Sanctity of Plant Medicine?
As psychedelic healing and plant medicine go more mainstream, luxury psychedelic tourism is on the rise—good news for the spread of this medicine, but how might over-commercialism affect this sacred practice?
A recent Bloomberg article highlights the rise in all-inclusive psychedelic retreats. Indigenous plant medicine has been around for centuries, and its health benefits have been scientifically demonstrated, but as it gains mainstream acceptance and finds a bigger audience, some only see dollar signs.
Bloomberg reports, “according to Data Bridge Market Research the psychedelic market is expected to grow from $3.8 billion in 2020 to $10.7 billion by 2027.”
With the potential to make a lot of money, could some unscrupulous companies capitalize on this trend and remove the sanctity of this practice?
Carlos Tanner is the director of The Ayahuasca Foundation in Peru, he founded the center in 2009 as the result of his own healing journey. “When I started our retreat center, The Ayahuasca Foundation, I was coming off of a seven-year study myself; a four-year apprenticeship where I lived with a curandero and several years after that of studying with other teachers,” Tanner said.
“For most people that were starting centers at that time—which wasn’t many—you were a student first, and eventually after years of study, you came to the point where you wanted to offer this to people from outside of the culture. Now we see people who don’t have very much experience at all, but yet they’re opening a healing center.”
As this budding industry is dealing with rapid growth, there are some complicated issues regarding its increased popularity.
“When it comes to the commercialization of substances that have an ancestral background I would say that it is a delicate situation, and I hope that there would be a benefit to those indigenous populations from which those traditions were orignated. But at the same time, I know many indigenous people and they are for the spreading of what they believe to be their culture, which oftentimes was something that was looked upon negatively or was degraded as if they were second-class citizens, quite literally,” Tanner said.
“But now having people from the Western world, from the modern world, want to learn or experience elements of their culture, I think gives them a sense of pride. So it’s a complex question, to say the least.”
Study Shows Microdosing Psilocybin Boosts Mood, Mental Health
A new study provides the most compelling evidence to date on the impressive mental health benefits of microdosing psilocybin.
While there has been an ever-increasing number of studies showing the efficacy of treatment of mental health disorders with psychedelics, there has been relatively little research on the practice of microdosing.
Microdosing, or repeatedly taking small, barely perceptible amounts of psychedelics, has been exponentially increasing in popularity, with a wide range of people reporting a multitude of improvements to their psychological wellbeing.
The latest scientific study to look at the effects of microdosing was conducted by researchers at the University of British Columbia, as well as other leaders in the fields of psychology and mycology. The study followed 953 people who used small, repeated doses of psilocybin for about 30 days, as well as a control group who did not microdose.
While the exact dosages of psylocibin that participants self-administered varied somewhat, they were all low enough to not impact daily functioning.
Over a one-month period, participants took these psylocibin microdoses three to five times per week and were asked to complete a number of assessments through a smartphone app that tracked their mental health symptoms, mood, and measures of cognition. The findings definitively showed that the microdosing participants demonstrated greater improvements in mood and mental health than those in the non-microdosing control group.