The article Wonderland Journal: A New Generation of Psychedelic Community & Technology was originally published on Microdose.
In 1967, Timothy Leary spoke at the Human Be-In, a gathering of 30,000 hippies in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. He phrased the famous words “Drop-Out, Turn-On, and Tune-in”. In this article, more than 60 years later, we jump down the rabbit hole and pick up the looking glass to see what’s ahead for psychedelics and the technologies that continue to lift our consciousness. I reflect on the Wonderland conference and how psychedelics may help to shape and improve our societies and technologies for the next few decades.
The November 2022 Microdose Wonderland Psychedelics Conference (Wonderland) was hugely successful, with almost 2,000 attendees. The Wynwood conference center in Miami was the perfect location for the event. It had two stages, a theater, and a range of speakers. In attendance were indigenous elders, shamans, neo-shamans, young psychonauts, doctors, scientists, researchers, venture capitalists, pharma execs, and technologists, all there to present their work, learn, network and help lift current research for healing and transformation to a global level.
At this conference, I learned from Paul Stamets, an American mycologist, about the many potential uses of functional mushrooms and psilocybin. I also learned about mushroom coffee from EONS and functional mushrooms from WholeSun Wellness while grazing on various companies’ insights, modalities, and therapies. We discussed the potential to integrate psychedelics in the future, virtual reality, and Psychedelic NFTs. I browsed the artists, tried a heliotropic breathing class at the meditation dome, and found myself among the nicest people I’ve ever met. The conference was a great way to meet new people in the field and learn about new technologies and treatments.
This was not your mother’s Timothy Leary event. The attendees at this conference were tuned into the new science. They dropped out of the old belief systems that symbolized the Regan era motto “Just Say No” and said yes to progress. Attendees dropped in to hear the science and hard evidence about how psychedelics can help cure society’s ills. They tuned in to the opportunities to lift and shift the planet’s bio, psycho and social well-being. They lined up for digital therapeutic chairs and tables offering both body vibration and sound “tuning” of the autonomic nervous system. I experienced both Shift Wave and EntheoDigital platforms and was impressed by the results; by applying bio-feedback, sound, music, and percussion to tone and tune the vagus nerves and improve heart rate variability, I could feel my body relaxing and my stress melting away.
Today, there are currently 441 trials being conducted that are in one phase or another to validate the efficacy of Ketamine, Psilocybin, LSD, DMT, and other psychedelics. These trials are promising, showing that we can regulate and normalize traumas, expand consciousness and validate a growing body of evidence. There are more than 82,000 psychedelic research papers to reference. As we search for the efficacy of entheogens and bio-pharma medicines, we find what the ancients and indigenous people have known for centuries. Psychedelics will play a key role in helping humanity improve mental well-being, be conscious of the divinity within, be attuned to each other, be respectful of our planet. effectively, treat anxiety as well as depression, and create a kinder society.
Just look at some of the top research studies in 2021 below to better understand the promising future of psychedelic medicine.
Psilocybin induces rapid and persistent growth of dendritic spines in frontal cortex in vivo
DMT Increases Growth of Rat Neurons by 40 Percent, New Data Shows (Algernon)
An analog of psychedelics restores functional neural circuits disrupted by unpredictable stress
Psychedelics for Brain Injury: A Mini-Review
A Single Dose of Psilocybin Increases Synaptic Density and Decreases 5-HT2A Receptor Density in the Pig Brain
Psychedelics and Neuroplasticity: A Systematic Review Unraveling the Biological Underpinnings of Psychedelics
Therapies to Restore Consciousness in Patients with Severe Brain Injuries: A Gap Analysis and Future Directions
Critical Period Plasticity as a Framework for Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy
From Psychiatry to Neurology: Psychedelics as Prospective Therapeutics for Neurodegenerative Disorders
Psychedelics as Novel Therapeutics in Alzheimer’s Disease: Rationale and Potential Mechanisms
Neuroplasticity as a Convergent Mechanism of Ketamine and Classical Psychedelics
Psychedelic-inspired Approaches for Treating Neurodegenerative Disorders
Psilocybin Therapy Increases Cognitive and Neural Flexibility in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder
Research documents the evidence of mental health benefits for treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In addition, the chance to expand consciousness and neural interconnections within the brain to access a more comprehensive network, stimulate neurological growth, neuroplasticity and help with, if not cure, neurodegenerative disorders.
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Psychedelics are not just for hippies and ravers anymore. The market’s growth is projected to be between $6-10 billion by 2027, This growth is due to the many potential benefits of psychedelics, including reversing aging brains and treating Alzheimer’s. What a gift to humanity! Coffees, teas, gummies, supplements, VR systems, and Digital Therapeutics help create intention, integrate, and activate a better you into the world. With so many options available, there has never been a better time to explore the world of psychedelics safely.
With the recent research on psychedelics, it is clear that big pharma will want to come in and acquire many of these early-stage companies, who are also doing research and have valuable IP patents. This could mean disruption of the old systems and the use of therapeutics. Research shows that psychedelics could lessen dependence on SSRIs or modalities that do not work. A study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that Psilocybin may be a promising treatment for anxiety and depression in patients with cancer. The study’s authors note that “these results suggest that psilocybin may be efficacious as a treatment for mood disorders.”
“The drugs of the future will be computers. The computers of the future will be drugs.” -Terence Mckenna
Other psychedelic technologies include artificial intelligence (AI), which can help improve mental health diagnoses and understand a person’s facial expressions and other nonverbal cues around feelings. This can help doctors diagnose depression and anxiety earlier than traditional methods allow. Recently, a team of researchers used AI to trace the origins of psychedelic experiences in the brain. By understanding how psychedelics affect the brain, we may be able to develop better treatments for mental health conditions. The study found that psychedelics activate specific parts of the brain that are also involved in dreaming and creativity. Their findings could help us to understand better the effects of psychedelics and how they are used therapeutically.
Psychedelics and virtual reality seem to be two opposite ends of the spectrum. But when we grasp how psychedelic substances help with changes in perception, we recognize how virtual reality technology also creates immersive digital environments. We can better see and understand how they could be used in a complementary way.
At Wonderland, I spoke with the folks from Enosis Therapeutics and then looked at a growing body of research that suggests virtual reality can treat conditions like anxiety and depression. Virtual reality allows people to escape from their usual environment and enter a simulated world more conducive to their needs. Virtual reality may offer a powerful tool for exploring the mind with psychedelics. This could provide new insight into mental health conditions and allow people to explore their thoughts, feelings, and relationships with people, places, and things in a safe and controlled environment. Timothy Leary argued that “cyberdelics” – the fusion of psychedelic drugs and cyberculture – could reprogram the mind, and went so far as to change his popular catchphrase “turn-on, tune-in, drop-out” to “turn-on, boot-up, and jack-in.”
Psychedelics can help create non-ordinary states of consciousness that have therapeutic benefits. Shamanic dancing, meditation, and sensory stimulation can also achieve these effects. VR is a powerful tool for disrupting the conscious experience, often by providing specifically designed visual content. Psychedelics are often used in spiritual or religious contexts to induce mystical experiences.
Virtual reality can also be used for spiritual purposes, such as in VR meditation apps. VR can also be used for more secular purposes, such as studying or working in a different environment. VR may also have potential use for mental health conditions, such as exposure therapy for phobias or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Psychedelics have come a long way since Timothy Leary’s days. The early 60s were a time of exploration and discovery, as people began experimenting with different substances to expand their consciousness. While there was a lot of promise at the time, the research and application for trauma treatment were not as developed as today.
Thankfully, we have progressed significantly in the last few decades. Psychedelics are now being studied more extensively for their potential therapeutic benefits. Even in congress, psychedelics are catching the interest of both sides of the aisle with a bipartisan caucus that will look into “ways to alleviate the national mental health crisis through psychedelic science and research.” There is mounting evidence that they can effectively treat conditions like PTSD and so much more. There is still a lot of work to be done, but it seems clear that psychedelics have a bright future in mental health.
The author is a contributing freelance writer, does not condone or endorse the use of psychedelic drugs and encourages appropriate medical supervision. You can listen to his Wonderland Miami Interviews by tuning into The Mindfulness Experience on Apple, Spotify, Amazon, or your favorite platform.