Monday, November 16, 2009

Report from the International Drug Policy Reform Conference - Day 2

On Friday I'd planned to attend all the sessions that discussed the use of psychedelics in treatment, but the first one, Psychedelic Research: Neuroscience and Ethnobotanical Roots, was full. Instead, I attended Marijuana Messaging that Works. The panel consisted of pollsters and political consultants. Here a few ideas I picked up from that session:
  • The hard Z in the word "legalize" seems to turn people off. Polls show that the question "Should marijuana be made legal" results in higher number of positive responses than the question, "Should marijuana be legalized."
  • We should site the widespread use of marijuana when arguing for ending its prohibition. "How can we justify prohibiting marijuana when so many thousands of people use it?"
  • It's a waste of effort and money to try and enforce unenforceable laws.
I made sure I got a seat for the next session, The Re-emergence of Psychedelics: Implications for Novel Treatment Paradigms. The first presentation blew me away! Dr. Roland Griffiths, Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, reported on his landmark study, which showed that use of psilocybin can induce mystical/spiritual experiences descriptively identical to spontaneous ones people have reported for centuries. The resulting experiences apparently prompt positive changes in behavior and attitude that last several months, at least.

Next, I wanted to hear Dr.Charles Grob speak about his work in treating the anxiety of cancer patients with psychedelics, but had to leave the session to take my turn working the LEAP booth.

It's late now....I'll continue tomorrow. Meanwhile, here's another post about Day 2.


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