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The Polish Psychedelic Society is an initiative established for the purpose of reform the law which would enable the use of psychedelics in medicine and science. We want to initiate in Poland a material debate on psychedelics, a debate free from fears, myths, and falsehoods. We believe that only by acting together will we achieve this goal, so we need your support!

The Polish Psychedelic Society

ABOUT US

The Polish Psychedelic Society (PTP) is an initiative formed by Polish Drug Policy Network to popularize and support scientific research on psychedelic substances (psychedelics) and to provide space for essential debate regarding their potential application in science, medicine, psychotherapy and culture, which might positively contribute to the development of society. The Polish Psychedelic Society brings together experts representing multiple areas of science and numerous professions, including: activists, social anthropologists, artists, biologists, chemists, journalists, ethnobotanists, pharmacists, doctors, lawyers, psychologists, sociologists and herbalists, as well as individuals interested in supporting the development of science and debate on psychedelics in Poland.

 

OUR GOALS

01

Establishing a multidisciplinary platform for cooperation between professionals working on the subject of psychedelics.

02

Supporting scientific research on psychedelics, with particular emphasis on their therapeutic potential.

03

Educating society by providing objective information based on scientific research, including positive and negative consequences concerning the use of psychedelics, both in therapeutic and recreational settings.

04

Integrating the psychedelic community in Poland. Establishing a platform facilitating an exchange of psychedelic-related experiences. Collecting, categorising, and promoting scientific knowledge about psychedelics.

 

05

Decriminalising psychedelics and providing legal assistance to defendants in criminal cases for possession of psychedelics for personal use.

 

06

Preventing and reducing damages related to the recreational use of psychedelics through education and party working initiatives.

07

Changing the legal status of psychedelics by moving them within the List of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances from Group I-P (substances with no medical use and a high potential for abuse) to Group IV-P (substances with essential medical uses and low potential for abuse that can be used for medical, scientific, and industrial purposes).

08

Promoting the idea of the production of medical marijuana in Poland, which may contribute to lowering its price, increasing its availability for patients and support the Polish economy.

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WHAT ARE PSYCHEDELICS?

Psychedelics (Greek: psyche – soul; delos – reveal, manifest) are a group of psychoactive substances (partly including dissociatives and deliriants) altering (consciousness), the manner of thinking, and how emotions are experienced. What sets psychedelics apart from other psychoactive substances (stimulants, depressants) is their ability to alter the state and content of consciousness (Bayne & Carter, 2018). Experiences they induce are often compared to altered states of consciousness such as dreams (Kraehenmann, 2017; Millière et al., 2018), hypnosis (Lemercier & Terhune, 2018) and meditation (Millière, Carhart-Harris, Roseman, Trautwein, & Berkovich-Ohana, 2018). The classic psychedelics include psilocybin (psilocybin-containing mushrooms), DMT (e.g. ayahuasca), mescaline (cacti such as San Pedro and peyote) and LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide; Johnson, Hendricks, Barrett, & Griffiths, 2019). Psychedelics may positively impact the psychological well-being of patients and healthy subjects (Nichols, Johnson, & Nichols, 2017; MacLean, Johnson, & Griffiths, 2011). For instance, during a study at the John Hopkins School of Medicine, 58% of participants rated the psilocybin-occasioned experience as being among the five most personally meaningful ones. The majority of them emphasized that this experience allowed them to better understand themselves and have more compassion and patience towards other people (Griffiths, Richards, Johnson, McCann, & Jesse, 2008). A subsequent study confirmed that even a single intake of psilocybin can lead to permanent changes in personality, resulting in increased openness (MacLean et al., 2011). At the same time, it should be noted that psychedelic substances taken in uncontrolled conditions (outside the research and medical environment) can lead to negative psychological effects and risky behaviours (Carbonaro et al., 2016; Johnson, Richards, & Griffiths, 2008).

WHY PSYCHEDELICS?

Psychedelics have been known to humankind since the dawn of time. Nowadays, some native cultures continue to use them in rites of passage and healing ceremonies (Winkelman, 2014). In our opinion, scientific research on psychedelics was significantly limited in the second half of the 20th century due to political reasons. Psychedelic substances were classified as dangerous and addictive drugs and consequently prohibited by law. Contemporary scientific research shows their therapeutic potential and that when psychedelics are used responsibly they are safe, non-addictive and may have a positive impact on human life or even provide life-saving benefits. Moreover, we presume that research into psychedelics may expand scientific knowledge about the brain, in particular, related to the mechanisms underlying perception and subjective experience. We believe that changing the law, increasing the number of scientific research on psychedelics, as well as reaching out to media and society with reliable information concerning potential benefits and actual risks of using psychedelics, may bring numerous benefits to society.

Currently, we are faced with multiple challenges in the area of mental health. According to WHO by the year 2020 depression will be the second among the most prevalent disorders in the world and by the year 2030 the first. In Poland, depression affects approximately 1.5 million people. Depression often leads to suicide attempts, and the number of fatal suicides in Poland has increased from over 4,000 in the year 2012 to over 5.5 thousand in the year 2018 (Radio Gdańsk). Among factors leading to suicide, another substantial one is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Research indicates that nearly a quarter of suicides in the United States is related to PTSD (Tull, Weiss, & McDermott, 2016). The prevalence of PTSD in the general population is estimated at 3-6% (Kessler et al., 2005). Unfortunately, the available drugs for depression and PTSD still possess relatively low efficacy (Cipriani et al., 2009; Kessler et al., 2005). Therefore, we are dealing with a real problem associated with high individual, social and economic costs, which modern medicine is unable to handle, and for which psychedelic substances can be an answer.

ARE PSYCHEDELICS DANGEROUS?

In DrugScience research, supervised by prof. David Nutt, on the harmfulness of the 20 most popular psychoactive substances, psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin-containing mushrooms were classified as substances with the least negative impact on the users and society. The legal ethanol (ethyl alcohol) was ranked first, tobacco sixth, whereas marijuana eighth (Nutt, King, & Phillips, 2010). Classic psychedelics do not lead to physiological addiction and only anecdotal cases of psychological addiction are known to date (Johansen & Krebs, 2015). Moreover, they have extremely low toxicity compared to other psychoactive substances, including commonly used medicines (Gable, 2004). Nevertheless, the psychological experiences associated with their use may be very intense. For this reason, it is of utmost importance for users to have access to full information regarding the safety and harm reduction procedures related to the use of psychedelics.

WHAT IS THE MEDICAL POTENTIAL OF PSYCHEDELICS?

In the mid-twentieth century saw the beginning of the research into the medical potential of psychedelics in the treatment of mental disorders (Carhart-Harris & Goodwin, 2017). Among the pioneers of psychedelic research, it is worth mentioning Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann and Czech psychiatrist Stanislav Grof. The research was significantly restricted in the wake of the UN Convention of 1971. In recent years, we witness a renaissance of research on psychedelics and new data regarding their therapeutic potential is being revealed. The current research results suggest that psychedelics may be a breakthrough treatment in multiple mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (Kyzar, Nichols, Gainetdinov, Nichols, & Kalueff, 2017; Vollenweider & Kometer , 2010) and support palliative care (Griffiths et al., 2016; Ross et al. 2016; Rosenbaum et al., 2019). Importantly, they may play a role in treating addictions to alcohol (Bogenschutz et al., 2015; Tófoli & de Araujo, 2016) or cigarettes (Johnson, Garcia-Romeu, Johnson, & Griffiths, 2017).

HAVE PSYCHEDELICS ALWAYS BEEN ILLEGAL?

The criminalisation of psychedelics is a relatively new phenomenon in the world. Their production and possession were banned by the UN in the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances (United Nations, 2009). For almost fifty years, in most of the world’s countries, substances used by humanity for thousands of years have been banned based on arbitrary decisions, not scientific evidence (Elsey, 2017; Gardner, Carter, O’Brien, & Seear, 2019; Walsh, 2016). Currently, only several countries in the world (e.g. Brazil, Jamaica, Bulgaria, Samoa) allow the cultivation, sale and possession of psilocybin-containing mushrooms. Despite the prevailing criminalization, some countries have ceased to prosecute possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms (e.g. Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Canada) and in which research on their medical applications is actively ongoing (e.g. United States, Australia, Switzerland, United Kingdom). Grassroots initiatives spring up, with Decriminalize Denver as a good example, wherein a recent referendum (2019) the city of Denver’s citizens voted in favour of decriminalisation of possession of psilocybin-containing mushrooms.

NEWS

You will soon find here articles with factual information on the potential benefits and real risks of using psychedelics.

THE TEAM

THE POLISH PSYCHEDELIC SOCIETY