The AHDS Points blog has posted up a note about the Working Group on Plants and Religion’s upcoming Symposium in December. I’m excited about the conference, and really grateful to the Points blog for putting this out there for us!
Though this blog is not in general dedicated to monitoring or reporting on the constant back and forth over marijuana from a policy standpoint, I stumbled across this link earlier today, and thought it merited a note. Decriminalization is something I am personally in full support of, for most, if not all, psychoactive substances. Criminal prosecution for the possession and use of psychoactive substances is, to my mind, never the answer. In cases of abuse (say of opiates or powerful amphetamines), education, treatment, and rehabilitation are far better answers than a jail cell. And as far as marijuana is concerned, the demonstrable harms are so few compared to other intoxicants (re: alcohol), that its continued status as a restricted substance is ludicrous. I was very happy when Obama and Holder both said that they would respect state laws passed for medical marijuana, and I would like to see the administration stick to those promises. The link, again, is here.
Alternet.org has put up a new article on Psychedelics and Mental Health, and it’s a worthwhile read. It cites Grob’s recent work on the use of psychedelics with end of life and terminal case patients, and the consistent effectiveness demonstrated by these substances in aiding patients coming to terms with their situations. It also touches on the MDMA research that MAPS is helping to fund, where the substance is being used to work with patients suffering from PTSD. Though my interests are more in line with plant-based psychoactives, where MDMA can be of help to people, I’m behind it. The final quote of the article is interesting, from the ‘Mike’ of the interview. He says that he doesn’t partake of mushrooms very often, and not for ‘fun’. He says “it’s a myth that all ‘shrooms do is produce hallucinations. It’s more than that.” I agree.
We just started up a new site for our Working Group on Psychoactive Plants and Religion. I’m really excited about this project, we’re hoping for the Fall 2011 semester to really get it moving. We’re planning to try to host seminars during the semester months, and even a conference near the end of the year. We’ll be updating more as we go along, and I’m sure I’ll post about it here too, but please, go check it out!