Those of us who are professional counselors are perhaps most likely to recognize psychedelic drugs by their recreational or street names — acid, magic mushrooms, ecstasy — and to consider them to be drugs of abuse that may be dangerous to our clients.
In a survey of thousands of people who reported having experienced personal encounters with God, researchers report that more than two-thirds of self-identified atheists shed that label after their encounter, regardless of whether it was spontaneous or while taking a psychedelic.
In an appropriate context, ayahuasca can be a valuable therapeutic tool and can act as a catalyst that can render psychotherapeutic processes more effective in less time, and sometimes allow for critical interventions when several other therapeutic strategies have been unsuccessful.
This excerpt from the book The Expanding World Ayahuasca Diaspora: Appropriation, Integration and Legislation gives a brief summary of the literature discussing the worldwide dissemination of ayahuasca and its religious, cultural, and scientific implications.
Alexander Shulgin, the most prolific psychedelic chemist in history, has died at the age of 88. I interviewed Shulgin and his wife and co-researcher Ann at their home in California in 1999, when I was researching my 2003 book Rational Mysticism.