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Thanks to an accidental invention, the free spirits of the 1960s were able to fully enjoy psychedelic drugs like LSD. In 1943, the hallucinogenic effect of the drug LSD was accidentally discovered by chemist Albert Hofmann. However, if we take the theory of Terence McKenna, the discovery of psychedelics took place much earlier. According to the “stoned ape theory”, magic mushrooms helped us develop our language, culture, and human evolution over 55 million years ago.

The history of psychedelics

Around the 1940s, Albert Hofmann discovered the drug LSD. During a test with a related substance in 1943, Hofmann discovered the strong effect of the drug on the human psyche. His trip was the starting point of an illustrious history. The possibilities of psychedelics turned out to be enormous. Not only for expanding the mind, but also for treating mental disorders.

The psychedelic drug quickly caught the attention of the general public. In the 1960s, people could fully enjoy psychedelic drugs. However, the popularity of psychedelics soon reached its peak. The drug was discredited in the media due to a number of negative experiences from users. The government eventually decided to ban psychedelics in the Opium Act of 1966. 

The discovery of psychedelics in science

Shortly after Hofmann's discovery of LSD in 1943, the medical world turned to researching psychedelics. Scientists discovered how the symptoms of taking LSD are very similar to those of a schizophrenia patient's psychosis. This discovery stimulated many scientists to do more research into the biological origin of all kinds of psychological disorders.

The discovery of psychedelics revolutionized psychotherapy. For example, LSD has been used to treat war trauma and concentration syndrome. Unfortunately, with the prohibition of psychedelics in the Opium Act, the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs also quickly came to an end.

The stoned ape theory

The “stoned ape theory” by Terence McKenna goes further back in time. His theory assumes that the discovery of psychedelics took place much earlier, as much as 55 million years ago. If you've ever taken steps on the psychedelic path, you've undoubtedly come across the name Terence McKenna. Terence was a true pioneer and explorer of the human mind. He devoted his life to unraveling psychedelics and the mysteries of the universe.

Terence McKenna assumed with his theory that the Psilocybe mushrooms (or shrooms) a crucial role played a role in the development of our language, culture and human evolution. This drug is said to have helped our ancestors expand their minds, and thus influenced the way we think and feel. Whether his theories will ever be provable is still uncertain. What is certain is that he left behind a wealth of information and knowledge. He liked to push the limits of the mind and embrace these mysteries as solvable riddles. In the Netherlands, his ideas were also propagated by entrepreneur and publicist Luc Sala.

The return of psychedelics in science

After the Opium Act came into effect in 1966, not only did the use of psychedelic drugs, research into psychedelics also faded into the background. But recently, psychedelics have become more prominent in science again. For example, in 2007 a foundation was established in the Netherlands called OPEN, which stimulates scientific research into psychedelics. Various studies are being conducted on what psychedelics could teach us about life, death, consciousness, addiction, depression, and spirituality. In addition, there are also various studies on the efficacy of psychedelics in reducing anxiety and depressive symptoms, alcohol addictions and psychotic symptoms.

Expectations of psychedelics

Growing psychedelic for the therapeutic potential are expanding. Interest is also growing in the Netherlands. Eric Vermetten leads the first Dutch study into the use of MDMA in the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome in military personnel. The results of previous research in America appear to be promising. Without too much guidance from the therapist, patients return to the traumatic event with the help of MDMA. The Dutch research should contribute to an official recognition of the therapy. For the time being, it will take some time before therapy with MDMA, LSD or other drugs will actually be offered by therapists. But the results so far have been very positive and there is great interest among therapists and patients.

Do you want to know more about psychedelics and spirituality? Click here!