Psychedelics Take the TED Talk Stage for the First Time

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    Preparing for this talk has been scarier for me than preparing for LSD therapy,” began Rick Doblin, the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), in his talk at the TED2019 conference. For the first time in its more than 20-year history, according to MAPS, the annual convening hosted a speaker to unpack the science and medicine behind the growing movement to decriminalize and legalize psychedelics.

    Walking the audience through his personal experiences with psychedelics—like how they “helped me have a spiritual connection that unfortunately, my bar mitzvah did not produce”—as well as the ongoing  “global renaissance of psychedelic research,” Doblin makes the case for the potentially-transformative benefits that psychedelic-assisted therapy could provide to patients with post-traumatic stress disorder.

    People with alcohol use disorder (AUD) could also benefit from such treatment, as British doctor and researcher Ben Sessa, who is currently running the UK’s first ever clinical trial of MDMA therapy for people with AUD, explained in a recent Filter interview.

    This year’s TED Talk event was themed “Bigger than us,” aiming to provoke questions like “Where are we heading? What ideas are truly worth fighting for?”, as Chris Anderson, TED’s curator, described. “The political and technological turmoil of the past few years has had the unexpected consequence of us asking bigger, deeper, more challenging questions—both collectively and individually.”

    Doblin wraps his talk, which you can watch above or here, with the “bigger-than-us” promises of psychedelic drugs: “Humanity now is in a race between catastrophe and consciousness. The psychedelic renaissance is here to help consciousness triumph.”

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