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Opinion
Noah Feldman

Psychedelic Drugs Will Follow Pot’s Path to Legalization

First, activists claim a medical benefit. Then they push for broader decriminalization.

Trippy.

Trippy.

Photographer: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Here come the psychedelics. A striking new study published in Nature Medicine argues that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy represents “a potential breakthrough treatment” for post-traumatic stress disorder. Other studies are in the works considering the potential therapeutic applications of psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms), LSD and cannabinoids. These follow well-received books on different forms of psychedelic use by such mainstream figures as food writer Michael Pollan, novelist Ayelet Waldman, and columnist Ezra Klein.

If you’re a reader of mainstream news media, expect to hear more and more about this topic over the next few years. And even if you are a buttoned-down rule-follower, expect to hear an increasing number of your friends and acquaintances expressing interest in psychedelics — and maybe even experimenting with them.