Debate series considers the promise and pitfalls of psychedelics

Photo by Sergey Katyshkin from Pexels

Intelligence Squared, the organizers of a popular debate series, recently asked a panel of experts whether psychedelics should be legalized. There was considerable overlap between the factions arguing in favor and opposition of that motion, reflecting the growing interest in psychedelic compounds for therapeutic applications. But the two camps were split when it came to the best regulatory model for psychedelic drugs.

“I advocate strongly that [psychedelics] be allowed to be studied for medical research to see what their therapeutic indications are and how they can help us to understand the brain and the mind,” said Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, the chair of Columbia University’s department, who argued against the motion.

Rick Doblin, executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), argued for a more permissive approach that would a…

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