Part 1: A First Glance – Roderick @ Psillow – Psychedelic Communities, Tribalism, and Divisions

by May 7, 2021

Legalization versus Medicalization. The two go hand-in-hand; medical use can not exist without some form of legalization.

Psillow is hosting a series of articles on Psychedelic Communities. Read Part 0. Follow Psillow on Twitter and Facebook to get the latest installments.

My story will come later in this series; my own picture of ‘psychedelic communities.’ However, as curator of this catalogue and keeper of this on-going discussion, I first offer my naïve take on the current divides in psychedelic culture and industry.

I will humbly admit that my take on psychedelic communities is privileged. I’ve not done ‘the work’ of most individuals in this field. I’m white, male, and cis – I acknowledge these as firm steps on which I’ve walked on my personal path.

Please allow my weaknesses and shortcomings to be your avenue. I truly believe that this discussion won’t end – I look forward to your experiences and insights on the groups you affiliate with.

Medicalization, Legalization and Decriminalization

After watching the ‘psychedelic community’ intently for over three years, I have found a large and significant divide that cleanly splits allies in twain: Legalization versus Medicalization. The two go hand-in-hand; medical use can not exist without some form of legalization. However, they are seen and delivered as seemingly distant ends of a spectrum, with decriminalization set as some compromise or middle ground.

Psychedelic acceptance and incorporation into the ‘mainstream’ has been divided into three destinations that describe the wanted status of psychedelic compounds:

  • Decriminalization: The lowest form of legislative movement. The ‘red line’ we cross from our current state is the belief that individuals should not be criminalized for the possession of a certain group, list, or type of substance.
  • Medicalization: On par with decriminalization in terms of legislative movement. The ‘red line’ we cross from our current state is the belief that individuals can medically benefit from the administration of a certain group, list, or type of substance.
  • Legalization: The largest instance of legislative movement. The ‘red line’ we cross from our current state is the right of consenting adults to make choices for their own health, wellness, or recreational purposes – particularly in regards to the purchase and possession of a certain group, list, or type of substance.

Residence in one of these three groups can be ascertained by three simple questions:

  • Should someone be criminalized for growing, possessing, or distributing a certain group, list, or type of substance?
  • Can someone benefit medically from a certain group, list, or type of substance to the extent that it can be exempt from criminalization on the prescription and administration of a licensed physician?
  • Should consenting adults have the capacity to purchase a certain group, list, or type of substance for their own personal use?

“…a certain group, list, or type of substance” is a purposely vague descriptor, contributing to the blurred edges of these seemingly distinct camps.

What are ‘psychedelics’?

Psychedelics are a certain group, list, or type of substance that has the capacity to change one’s frame of psychological reference. We’ve yet to find consensus on what these compounds are, hindering the capacity for movement on legislative fronts.

Is MDMA psychedelic? Is nicotine psychedelic? These basic questions probe at the very foundation of psychedelics as an area of study. To begin grouping psychedelic compounds into ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’ groups lays the groundwork for dispute and division. The very nature of psychedelics as a group is more of an interpretation than a decision.

In this instance, where do we place the outliers? The ones that continue to comment on applications that provide benefit, while not being approved as a treatment. The cultural applications of these compounds in an environment that’s deemed fit by those equipped with millennia of knowledge?

The real question: Who do we anoint with the privilege to define what is psychedelic, and what is not? Do we leave it to the government or publicly traded companies? Do we leave it in the same hands of medical professionals that facilitated the opioid epidemic? Do we ignore the question entirely, and seek a future where people who use drugs are not stigmatized nor othered?

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Psychedelic Communities, Tribalism, and Divisions

Psychedelic Communities, Tribalism, and Divisions

Psillow is launching a series of articles on Psychedelic Communities. Follow Psillow on Twitter and Facebook to get the latest installments.   Psychedelic Community   Ponder the phrase. What does it mean to you? What does it mean to others? Are you in it?...

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  1. Part 2: A Journey Through Psychedelics – Dr. Ivan Casselman – Psychedelic Communities, Tribalism, and Divisions | Psillow - […] is hosting a series of articles on Psychedelic Communities. Read Part 0 and Part 1. Follow Psillow on Twitter…

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