Commentary on: Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance by Griffiths et al.
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Psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), mescaline, dimethyltryptamine (DMT), and many others include synthetic chemicals and the active ingredients in psychoactive extracts of plants that have been used since time immemorial for their mind-altering properties. These agents were first employed for religious purposes, evidently to facilitate contact with the supernatural. After the discovery of LSD by Albert Hofmann in the early 1940’s, much attention was devoted to the perceptual distortions elicited by LSD and related substances, as well as to the similarity of the drug-induced state to transcendental states reported by mystics of varied religious persuasions.
The different effects elicited by these drugs have led to different names. They are designated “psychotomimetics” because one can reasonably argue that individuals taking the drugs have lost contact with reality and are, hence, psychotic. They are called “hallucinogens” because of the perceptual...