Harvard launches new Study of Psychedelics in Society and Culture

By Gabriel García October 9, 2023

Harvard University, one of the world’s most prestigious academic institutions, has announced the creation of a new study on psychedelics in society and culture, thanks to a $16 million grant from the Gracias Family Foundation. The study, an interdisciplinary effort involving Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Law School, and Divinity School, aims to “transform the landscape of research on psychedelics by producing cutting-edge scholarship and convening faculty, students, and experts to engage in debate about their broad implications.” .

Interest in psychedelics has grown in recent years among the scientific and academic communities, spurred by findings suggesting they can help treat disorders such as PTSD, depression and addiction when used in conjunction with therapy . In 2021, HLS’s Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics established its Project on Psychedelics Law and Regulation (POPLAR) to examine the ethical, legal and social implications of psychedelics in research, commerce and therapeutics. In addition, the HDS Center for the Study of World Religions (CSWR) examines psychedelics in relation to altered states of consciousness, the relationship between mind and matter, and the global history of spirituality and religion. Michael Pollan, professor of practice in Harvard’s Creative Writing program and Lewis K. Chan, has deeply explored the complex history of psychedelics at Harvard and in the United States.

“This is a visionary gift, as it is the first to take the so-called psychedelic renaissance beyond medicine by recognizing the importance of the humanities in exploring the impact and potential of these remarkable substances,” Pollan said.

Harvard was home to one of the most publicized psychedelic experiments in academic history when psychologists Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert launched the Harvard Psilocybin Project in the 1950s and 1960s. Their series of experiments involved administering psychedelics to undergraduates and attracted negative criticism, leading the university to sever ties with both researchers . The tide did not only turn at Harvard: public opinion against drugs such as LSD and “magic mushrooms” became less progressive, with the former being outlawed in the United States in 1968. Since 1970, the Controlled Substances Act has classified psychedelics as having no accepted medical use.

More than 60 years later, Harvard is re-entering the field of psychedelic studies, joining a growing list of educational institutions that do so. With the help of prominent donors, the field is slowly returning to academia .

If you are interested in learning more about psychedelics, their effects, their history, and their therapeutic and spiritual potential, we recommend the Psychonaut’s Guides book collection. These books are an excellent introduction to the world of psychedelics, written by experts and with a rigorous and accessible approach. You can find them on Amazon.

The Psychonaut’s Guides from Argonowta Publishing is a collection of books that explain in a rigorous and accessible way the scientific, historical, cultural and experiential aspects of psychedelic substances. These guides offer updated and contrasted information on the therapeutic and neuroscientific applications of psilocybin, LSD, DMT and MDMA, as well as practical advice on how to prepare, carry out and take advantage of psychedelic experiences. The Psychonaut’s Guides are a must-have reference for anyone interested in learning about the psychedelic renaissance that is transforming mental health and changing lives.

Harvard launches new Study of Psychedelics in Society and Culture – Harvard Gazette https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/newsplus/harvard-launches-new-study-of-psychedelics-in-society-and-culture/
Are Psychedelic Studies Making an Academic Comeback? | Observer https://observer.com/2023/10/antonio-gracias-psychedelic-studies-academic/
Harvard Creating Study of Psychedelics in Society and Culture https://www.ganjapreneur.com/harvard-creating-study-of-psychedelics-in-society-and-culture/
Harvard Launches New Study of Psychedelics in Society and Culture https://cswr.hds.harvard.edu/news/2023/10/16/harvard-launches-new-study-psychedelics-society-and-culture

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