On One Man's Coming Out of the Psychedelic Closet

There is no need to hide your use of hallucinogens.

Mom, Dad, friends, family, and the presumingly random stranger reading this: I take psychedelics. I know what you're thinking: This guy is a druggie, perhaps insane, and probably masking his feelings with these drugs. But before you freak out, let me explain myself. These "drugs" are not like alcohol. Alcohol kills approximately 88,000 people a year, numbs us, and fogs the mind.

Psychedelics expand the mind and have killed less than a handful of people, and for the vast majority of users have no lethality whatsoever. Psychedelics, once taken, feel like an essential part of the human experience, perhaps fundamental. They open you up to yourself and the world around you. Love and compassion ignites from within. Past traumas rise to the surface, forcing you to deal with them in a healthy way.

It does not rot your brain. It does not make you crazy. It does not make you kill people.

Don't just take my word for it. Take science's. Scientific research is now being done on a range of psychedelics from LSD and MDMA to magic mushrooms and ayahuasca. Amazingly, these studies are finding that psychedelics help tremendously with depression, anxiety, PTSD,and even coming to terms with our inevitable death. One study, one article, one documentary, and one conversation at a time, the truth about these powerful healing tools is seeping into the minds of the mass consciousness—that is, if it gets past the inherent negative connotations instilled in us through many years of continuous anti-hallucinogen propaganda.

Image via Lyssgia

Year after year we have been fed lies. Anyone remember the Reefer Madness days? I don't, I wasn't alive, but watching the racist, illogical anti-marijuana propaganda from that era online is an eye-opener. By now, we should all know that marijuana is a medicinal plant with minimal negative side-effects. It does not rot your brain. It does not make you crazy. It does not make you kill people.

In Washington State, my home, weed is now legal, and for years prior, it was recommended medically, and still is being doctor recommended. So, with marijuana and science leading the way, we are shifting into a more psychedelic-tolerant world. However, the classification of psychedelics, including marijuana, remains as a Schedule 1 narcotic (the highest illegal drug category). So according to the United States government: marijuana, LSD, DMT, and mushrooms (all shown to have physical and psychological benefits) are as dangerous as heroin and have zero known medical use.

It's important to remember these are powerful, healing tools of self-exploration. Bad trips do happen.

Each time I take a psychedelic, I gain a new perspective on myself, the world, and my place in the universe. New synaptic connections are made, breaking down old, rigid patterns of behavior/thought, allowing exploration into new areas of the psyche, often seen for the first time. Oddly, psychedelics quiet the brain, allowing for more information to pass through it like in prayer, sleep, or meditation. Psychedelics release us from our preconceived, conditioned notions about the world, opening us up to what is, thrusting us into the void, and giving us easy access to a spiritual experience. The key here is to integrate these profound insights and experiences into our daily lives, rather than chase them back, and hope they change us. Without the support of friends, family, legality, or a shaman, it is hard to do so.

It's important to remember these are powerful, healing tools of self-exploration. Bad trips do happen, especially when taking too much, not properly researching the substances, or taking a trip on a whim. Preparation is needed, and setting is key. However, even bad trips can have a positive impact on our lives. Of course, the incredible experience of a positive trip is much preferred to a crazy, painful, frightening encounter, but sometimes the fear and the pain can lead to personal healing and growth through meaningful, deep understanding about ourselves.

Winston Churchill said, "If you're going through hell, keep going."

I'm not writing this to sound cool or to piss anyone off. I'm writing to open a door for myself and perhaps anyone else afraid of doing the same. I want to write about my experiences openly and share what I have learned. In order to do that, I first had to write this—to explain myself to those who might not understand. So I guess this is me coming out of the psychedelic closet.

Sorry, Mom.