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But beginning in the 1990s, a new generation of academics quietly began doing psychedelics research again, much of it focusing on people with cancer. Since then, several dozen studies using psychedelic compounds have been completed or are underway. In a pair of Phase 2 psilocybin trials at Hopkins and N.Y.U., 80 cancer patients, many of them terminal, received a moderately high dose of psilocybin in a session guided by two therapists. Buy Golden ticket mushroom bar Online

Patients described going into their body and confronting their cancer or their fear of death; many had mystical experiences that gave them a glimpse of an afterlife or made them feel connected to nature or the universe in a way they found comforting. The studies, which were published in The Journal of Psychopharmacology in December 2016, reported that 80 percent of the Hopkins volunteers had clinically significant reductions in standard measurements of depression and anxiety, improvements that endured for at least six months. Buy Golden ticket mushroom bar Online

Other, smaller studies of psilocybin have found that one, two or three guided sessions can help alcoholics and smokers overcome their addictions; in the case of 15 smokers treated in a 2014 pilot study at Hopkins, 80 percent of the volunteers were no longer smoking six months after their first psychedelic session, a figure that fell to 67 percent after a year — which is far better than the best treatment currently available. The psychedelic experience appears to give people a radical new perspective on their own lives, making possible a shift in worldview and priorities that allows them to let go of old habits. Buy Golden ticket mushroom bar Online

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Yet researchers believe it is not the molecules by themselves that can help patients change their minds. The role of the guide is crucial. People under the influence of psychedelics are extraordinarily suggestible — “think of placebos on rocket boosters,” a Hopkins researcher told me — with the psychedelic experience profoundly affected by “set” and “setting” — that is, by the volunteer’s interior and exterior environments. Buy Golden ticket mushroom bar Online

For that reason, treatment sessions typically take place in a cozy room and always in the company of trained guides. The guides prepare volunteers for the journey to come, sit by them for the duration and then, usually on the day after a session, help them to “integrate,” or make sense of, the experience and put it to good use in changing their lives. The work is typically referred to as “psychedelic therapy,” but it would be more accurate to call it “psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.” Buy Golden ticket mushroom bar Online

Though the university researchers seldom talk about it, much of the collective wisdom regarding how best to guide a psychedelic session resides in the heads of underground guides like Mary. These are the people who, in many cases, continued to do this work illicitly, long after the backlash against psychedelics during the 1960s ended most research and therapy.

But their role in the current renaissance is an awkward one, as I discovered early this spring when I sat in on the nation’s first certificate program for aspiring psychedelic guides. Buy Golden ticket mushroom bar Online

ON A FRIDAY AFTERNOON in late March, 64 health care professionals of various stripes — doctors, therapists, nurses, counselors and naturopaths — gathered in Namaste Hall at the California Institute of Integral Studies (C.I.I.S.), a school of psychology and social sciences in San Francisco, to begin their training to become legal psychedelic therapists. Buy Golden ticket mushroom bar Online

To be admitted to the program, an applicant must have a professional medical or therapy license of some kind, and most of the trainees — whose average age looked to be about 45 and whose number included nine psychologists, nine psychiatrists and four oncologists — had enrolled in this certificate program in the belief that psychedelic drugs like psilocybin and MDMA, administered with the proper support and guidance, hold the potential to revolutionize mental health treatment. The career path might not be clear or straight yet, but these people want to be ready to lead that revolution when it arrives — which may be sooner than we think. Buy Golden ticket mushroom bar Online

It quickly became clear that the reason most of the people in the room were willing to devote the time (five weekends and one full week over nine months) and the money ($7,800) to be certified as a graduate of the program is that they’d been persuaded — often by personal experience — of the therapeutic potential of these compounds. As Manish Agrawal, a rugged 48-year-old oncologist who practices in Maryland, told me, with a sardonic lift of an eyebrow, “You don’t do something like this because you read a magazine article.” Buy Golden ticket mushroom bar Online

The drugs at the center of the therapy being taught — still classified by the government as Schedule 1 — cannot be used in the training, a limitation that both students and instructors lamented. (C.I.I.S. plans to petition the F.D.A. for permission to give psilocybin and MDMA to students in future trainings.) And while most of the faculty was drawn from the ranks of therapists who work in sanctioned clinical trials of psilocybin and MDMA, because so much of the relevant experience belongs to guides who have been working underground, the program draws on the wisdom of these people too. Buy Golden ticket mushroom bar Online

Though the program’s explicitly stated intention is to train guides to work in the world of legal psychedelic therapy, that world (apart from the handful of clinical trials) doesn’t quite exist yet, while the psychedelic underground beckons right now.

Janis Phelps, a psychologist and C.I.I.S. administrator who established and directs the program, forthrightly confronted the issue in her introductory remarks to the class Friday evening. “We are training you to be aboveground therapists,” she emphasized. “If you are thinking of working underground” — she later told me a strenuous effort had been made to weed out such people — “you need to think about that. Because we want you to be aboveground, F.D.A.-approved therapists. Everyone engaged in this research is squeaky clean.” Buy Golden ticket mushroom bar Online

She looked out over the room of aspiring guides. “So I invite you into the tensions of the field as it now exists.” Buy Golden ticket mushroom bar Online

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