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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Early psychedelic investigators reflect on the psychological and social implications of their research

  • Author(s): Walsh, R
  • Grob, CS
  • et al.

In the brief period before it was legally terminated, considerable human subjects research was conducted on psychedelics. More than 1,000 clinical reports documented a wide array of psychological effects and therapeutic possibilities. The findings held major implications for disciplines as diverse as psychology, psychiatry, neuro-science, anthropology, sociology, and religious studies. Psychological and psychiatric findings included insights into states of consciousness, the unconscious, and the relationship of different schools of psychology, motivation, self-actualization, spirituality, psychotherapy, and adjunctive therapies. With further human subjects studies virtually impossible, the original investigators clearly constitute an irreplaceable resource of information. An interdisciplinary group of surviving investigators was therefore convened and interviewed to obtain an oral history of the findings and implications of their research. This article provides a summary of their conclusions, of the psychological and social implications of their research, and of the impact their research had on diverse academic disciplines. © 2006 Sage Publications.

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