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UC Berkeley launches Center for the Science of Psychedelics

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This week, the University of California – Berkeley has launched the Center for the Science of Psychedelics.

The new research facility explores how we can use psychedelic substances (e.g., psilocybin, LSD, DMT, ayahuasca, and others) to better understand our brains, enhance well-being, and deepen spiritual insight. Its work will complement that of existing research centers focused on the topic – including those from Johns Hopkins University and Imperial College London – that combine psychedelic substances with psychotherapy to treat anxiety, depression, addiction, and a wide range of other mental illnesses.

“Some of these studies have produced striking results in cases that are otherwise resistant to more conventional medical treatment. This suggests that psychedelic compounds may offer new hope for people suffering from these disorders,” said Michael Silver, the Center’s inaugural director.

In addition to conducting research to better understand how psychedelics affect our brains and can provide practical benefits to our deepest personal challenges, the Center will also emphasize educating the public on how these substances can be used safely and to the great benefits of those who take it. For most Westerners, the use of such substances remains both illegal and taboo, often seen as deviant, unsafe, and irresponsible.

For me, this stigma is among the greatest and most tragic misperceptions of modern society. These substances are among the most powerful medicines known to humankind, frequently catalyzing life-altering experiences and prolonged behavioral change without the need for ongoing prescriptions. Perhaps this new center can help dispel this stigma and create a world where we are all encouraged to explore our internal worlds.

Have you used psychedelics to better understand yourself and what may be holding you back from living your fullest life? If not, why?

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Peter Schulte

Peter Schulte is the founder and editor of Kindling. Peter is also Senior Digital Engagement Associate for the Pacific Institute and the UN Global Compact's CEO Water Mandate, connecting businesses to sustainable water practices. Peter holds a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. in Sustainable Systems from Pinchot University. He lives in Bellingham, WA, USA with his wife, son, and cat.

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