Psychoactive Drugs: Creation To Criminality

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The purpose of this essay is to create a detailed account of a wide variety of topics pertaining to psychoactive drugs. I will discuss the creation of the main drugs under the category of psychoactive drugs and will embody the principles of criminality all the way to the therapeutic value of these drugs in modern medicine. Foremost the main point I would like to present is the overall value and implications these drugs have had and the impact they’ve had in our society.

Psychedelic drugs are ones that simultaneously alter brain chemistry as well as the perception of the user. There are many types of psychedelic drugs but of those, the most widely used and prevalent in society would be Lysogenic Acid Diethylamide, Psilocybin, DXM and DMT. There are countless others but these seem to be the most widely used. Lysogenic Acid Diethylamide also known as LSD or acid is a substance that was synthesized by Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman. He was not responsible for the finding of the substance however; he merely synthesized the substance into how we know it as today, a psychedelic substance. “The original creation of the substance was that of ergot and its ability in the uterus to stop postpartum haemorrhaging” (Oransky, 2008). Throughout multiple controversies and the advancement of knowledge in the area of this drug, Hoffman saw value in the importance the drug has in the therapeutic value it can achieve in meditation to find one’s true understanding of a situation. Therapeutically speaking it would let one confront their fear in a larger scale to deal with it head on. Hoffman and many others saw the same approach through their own experiences with the drug… the drug was pleasant at first to them but after time passed, they become disturbed. However even after the rest of the community and a ten-year study was concluded the production of LSD halted for its case in therapy, Hoffman still saw value in it and continued to expand on the drug… he even synthesized psilocybin also known as magic mushrooms. “I see the true importance of LSD in the possibility of providing material aid to meditation aimed at the mystical experience of a deeper, comprehensive reality” (Oransky, 2008). Psychedlics may even be able to furthermore participate in psychiatry once again. “Psychedelic or hallucinogenic drugs such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), 3, 4, 5-trimethoxy-β-phenethylamine (mescaline), psilocybin, 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamph-etamine (MDMA), N, N-dimethyltrypta-mine (DMT) and their relations occur in abundance throughout the natural world, and have been used by humankind for thousands of years.” (Sessna, 2018)

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There are many reports/ research on the topic of therapy with the aid of psychedelic drugs as well as the effects they have on creativity. The one that seems to be the most outstanding on this scale of psychedelic drugs seems to be once again LSD. I formally explained the creator and his path to synthesizing the drug, but through time his findings became more aware in the community… and were further examined. In the late 1950’s a study was performed on an individual’s creativity with the aid of LSD. This experiment followed several different people who were asked to draw a doll and then must do the same after one hour of consumption of LSD. The experimenters then analyzed the results and tested the two images together to check for differences. The results they were looking for concluded that there were in fact differences in the two drawings each individual had made in differences of background, size distortion and association and many other factors. Altogether the individuals who participated in the experiment stated that they believed their drawings under the effects of LSD were found in their eyes to be much more superior compared to that of their drawings not under the influence of LSD. (Janiger & Dobkin, 1989).

Throughout time we have seen that drugs and crime seem to go together more often than not. But what of the value of psychedelic drugs on recidivism among drug abusers alike? Recidivism means the likelihood of a continuance of the previous crime or action committed by an individual. A recent study shows positive findings in this aspect, however the data on this seems to still be limited and the research for this has only begun. “Hallucinogen-based interventions may benefit substance use populations, but contemporary data informing the impact of hallucinogens on addictive behaviour are scarce” (Hendricks, et al., 2014). For this experiment, individuals with a known history of narcotic abuse were examined by corrections supervision to determine the connection between hallucinogens and criminal behaviour. The conclusion to this experiment determined that there was in fact a reduced rate of reoccurrence in the pattern of abuse. Hallucinogens seemed to have an effect on the user far greater than perception at this point… we now note that individuals showed an increase in abstaining from other drugs and alcohol. But what of the United States and their examination into this issue? Backtracking our steps and reading the statistics in the United States firstly may show some of the highest incarceration rates in the world. And recidivism is the highest after release from prison. Recidivism rates for drug offenders is very high, totalling 76.9% to be re-arrested for another crime involving drugs (Hendricks, et al., 2014). These statistics have shown us that it’s time to step in and see what we can do to reduce these rates. These interventions may actually be sided with the use of modern hallucinogens… namely LSD, Mescaline, and Psilocybin. The intention of these drugs is to promote a peak in therapy related to a religious experience or enlightenment within an individual. Though I have mainly pointed out that these hallucinogens can help in the recidivism of drug related incarcerations… what of other types of criminal behaviour? “ Tenenbaum (1961) provided 10 treatment-resistant sex offenders with multiple LSD-assisted group psychotherapy sessions and noted demonstrable increases in empathy, insight, communication, and treatment engagement in all but one participant administered multiple LSD-assisted psychotherapy sessions to 21 “criminal psychopaths” and reported similar outcomes among 14 participants” (Hendricks, et al., 2017). More and more we see that in some form or fasion that these drugs have indeed shown a possibility if given the right reason, circumstance and individuals to potentially prevent recidivism and increase the likelihood of abstinence from habitual drug abuse. Not only in this case of criminal behaviour but on a psychological perspective too. Studies have shown that the use of psychedelic drug therapy has helped to decrease the intensity and agitation of depression and anxiety associated with life threatening cancer. Furthermore, not only does this help in the case of life-threatening cancer but also in suicidal tendencies and other self-exhausting mental behaviour. “These findings comport with population-based studies indicating that having ever used a classic psychedelic (Hendricks et al., 2015a) and having ever used psilocybin per se (Hendricks et al., 2015b) are both associated with a decreased likelihood of psychological distress and suicidality” (Hendricks, et al., 2017).

This paper should be highly informative on the standings of the research conducted on the therapuetic value of psychedilic drugs as well as other applications in the impact these drugs have with the mental state of an individual. This has been stated that this research follows not only repeat offenders of related crimes in the field of drugs but topics crimes including sex offenders and criminal psychopaths. Mental states of cancer patience suffering the life threatening disease have also shown to improve. Even individuals with everyday mental blocks and stigmas can be advanced in healing through these drugs. Creativity has even been shown to be critically enhanced by the aid of these drugs. When entering research on the topic of psychedelics I predicted that my findings would lean to a more negative bias but found that in actuality, the latter was true. More and more as I read article after article, I find that there is a deeper meaning associated with the benefits of psychedelic therapy. However, this information that I have gathered and the way that I present it in no way is a bias of my own or a way to attract a crowd into a corner of agreement with me. I merely have found conclusive research that all continues to follow the same path… therapeutic value. “For psychologically mature individuals, the psychedelics, while not constituting a path to deep awakening by themselves, could facilitate psychological growth when used in the context of an ongoing discipline” (Walsh, 1982). I further understand that there may be some value to the further research in this and have concluded this… In the hands of the sound mind and heart with complete wholesome intentions… Is this of good or bad nature in the continuing research to therapeutic value in the psychological mind’s pursuit to self-actualization.  


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