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Child Psychiatrist /Adult Psychiatrist

Dune and The Third Coming of the Psychedelics



The publication of the book Dune in 1965 came at the height of the use and abuse of psychedelics in what could be called the first coming of the psychedelics in the United States. Now, years after they became federally illegal in 1970, they are being researched and used again in what could then be called their second coming. Besides their potential to help treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, and trauma, they may be beneficial for loneliness, opiate addiction, and traumatic brain injuries.

We also should not forget the long world-wide use of psychedelics by the indigenous over millennia. In the “Stoned Ape Theory,” ingesting psilocybin regularly in diets is said to have potentially led to the rapid evolution of brain size and abilities.

Ketamine, which seems to have some psychedelics properties, has been practically available because it had approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an anesthetic years ago. Research has indicated its potential usefulness for treating depression more rapidly. No wonder, then, that this promise and availability of ketamine has led to numerous so-called ketamine clinics. I was asked to consult on one locally and suggested following the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) 2017 guidelines,2 as well as to make sure that there was a psychiatrist onsite. As far as I can tell, that has not been followed locally or nationally. No wonder, then, that the APA has recently told MedPage that those clinics are like the “wild west,” where patients do not received adequate informed consent on the downsides.3 The profit potential on refined psychedelic doses is another influence.

The hope is that when other purer psychedelics receive FDA approval, that they are more carefully regulated and monitored. However, even if that proves so, underground usage will likely continue as usual.

If we can skip the imagined 10,000 years to reach “Dune: Part Two,” the third coming of psychedelics seems in full swing. A highly addictive and very power psychedelic is in planetary use for producing a longer life, vitality, and awareness. At higher doses, it produces increased computational skills, making interstellar travel practical. As what seems to be a key ingredient in the poisonous narcotic Waters of Life, past memories and clairvoyant visions of the future can become available.

However, in “Dune: Part 2,” we see very little, if any, of the touted cosmic connections from our current psychedelics. Instead, competition for spice seems to have escalated conflict and colonialism, once again depicting both the promise and perils of psychedelics.

Although there is no formal psychiatry depicted in the movies or book, real life psychiatry has the knowledge and some power to guide our psychedelic future for the better.

Note: This article originally appeared on Psychiatric Times

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