JOHN WILCOCK: Participating in the Harvard Psilocybin Project


I like his note at the end:

In closing, I suppose you could call 50 milligrams of psilocybin to be quite a gateway drug…After that…I was finallly willing to try Pot!

It interests me that we’re still living in an age of misinformation about drugs. I recall trying psychedelics years and years ago, with the only bad part being…well, there was no bad part. Given Leary’s high profile, I would have thought people would look to him and see that he didn’t turn into a raving lunatic after what we might reasonably suspect to be a lifetime of using these substances. Of course, he was probably seen by the elites as fomenting rebellion against the status quo, which is clearly a nonstarter.
Great comic–can this be another regular feature?


No bad part? I’ve personally seen someone wind up in a mental institution from psychedelics. She didn’t get better when they wore off, not for years after, and now 25 years later she still has problems. You can talk about exposing underlying illness, and all that, but she was profoundly broken by psychedelics. That isn’t based on misinformation, that is based on painful personal experience.

Hearsay reports are not generally held to be misinformation, just not true evidence.
I hope your friend feels better.

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Yeah, they’re not for everyone. That said, I’ve never had any direct experience with anyone who’s had something like this happen. I have directly witnessed lots of positive psychedelic experiences. Seems to me like psychotic breaks due to psychedelics are rare – so rare that it’s not immediately clear that it is the psychedelic (or, at any rate, just the psychedelic) that is the cause of the psychosis.

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Yes? And pot is a bad idea for schizophrenics as well. Their reaction is related to the substances involved, but there’s no guarantee that it would not have occurred without the drugs. After all, these conditions often show themselves around the times that a person first starts trying “drugs” to begin with.

miasm, wysinwyg, mausium, I think maybe we haven’t shared similar life experiences, or something like that. Most people can get by with trying psychedelics a few times, and no harm done. I’m guessing your experience is mostly biased towards cases like that.

But you will never convince me that prolonged regular use of weed, acid, mushrooms, or whatever the young’uns are using these days, doesn’t make you at least slightly crazier than you were before. I’ve just seen it too many times, over too many decades. And though psychologist think you can measure crazy, it isn’t something where you can just go create a survey, and establish a correlation between heavy drug use and sanity.

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You’re making unwarranted assumptions.

My experience is actually “biased” towards people who routinely use psychedelics recreationally. Not “a few times” but hundreds of times over the course of decades.

From my personal experience, prolonged regular use of weed doesn’t make you at least slightly crazier than you were before. In my case, it seems to make me less crazy. My emotional responses to stimuli seem much more appropriate to me when I’m under the influence of marijuana than when I’m not. Then again, marijuana intoxication is usually too mild to qualify as what I’d call a “psychedelic” although some strains are potent enough to trigger psychedelic experiences even in people with a bit of a tolerance.

I would happily grant that sustained acute use of psychedelics (dropping every day for a week, for example) can cause some degree of dissociation from “reality” (however you want to define that). However, I suspect occasional use of these substances tend to make people “less crazy” (again depending on your definition).

I’m also happy to grant that you experienced what you claim to have experienced and that those experiences are entirely valid. Can you grant as much to me?

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As mentioned downthread, that was my experience, so YMMV, as Teh Intertubes like to say. Besides that, when you add:

I’m sorry to hear of your acquaintance’s problems, but I’ve been around a pretty solid number of people who’ve experimented regularly with such substances, and to a person they’re nominally sane. I’m too lazy to look at the moment, but I would suspect the scientific literature would back me up on the relatively low number of serious mental issues correlated with the use of psychedelics. And I’d still argue that the government has presented false or misleading advertising about the dangers of drug use.

Sure. I get where you are coming from. I just feel strongly about psychedelics being dangerous. But the operant word is feel. My comments are based on my belief system, not verifiable facts. This subject isn’t something that lends itself to a quantitative analysis.

And you raised an interesting point about the definition of crazy. I think the definition is very much based on someone’s frame of reference. Immersed in a drug using sub-culture, someone might have a completely different opinion of what constitutes mentally unbalanced, relative to someone, say in a fundamental religious sub-culture, or someone who works in mental health. But to pharaphrase the supreme court justice on Larry Flint, “I don’t know how to define it, but I know it when I see it.” I believe I have seen it.

So just trust me on this: please be careful with your brain.

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I’ve written this before, but this series is a real treat and probably my favorite thing on this site. Everything about it is great. I only wish it came out more often!

Note: JOHN WILCOCK will continue with Chapter Six in a few months

A few months!! bummer (◞‸◟;)

I could say the same to you. Too much normal is bad for your mental health. :wink:

There are plenty of people that can have a psychotic break on alcohol in amounts too small to make them legally drunk.

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