Psychedelics have been used medicinally and as vehicles for spiritual discovery for millennia. They achieved international notoriety in the decades following Albert Hofmann’s accidental discovery of LSD’s psychological effects, which spurred an explosion of psychedelic research. While much of the research showed psychedelics to have tremendous therapeutic potential, some studies declared them to be dangerous. By the end of the 1960s, LSD and other classic psychedelics had become cultural pariahs, linked to the counterculture, chromosome damage, and birth defects. For this reason, Congress outlawed psychedelics in the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Control and Prevention Act of 1970, which consolidated more than a half-century of racist and xenophobic drug legislation into one law. This essentially strangled psychedelic research with bureaucratic control and rendered reclassification all but impossible, despite promising modern research. For these reasons, this capstone will consider psychedelic drugs in the context of United States illicit drug policy as a whole and effectively argue that racism, classism, and xenophobia brought about psychedelic prohibition to the detriment of those seeking nontraditional medicine to help assuage the symptoms of a variety of mental illnesses.
Advisor(s) or Committee Chair
Dr. Patricia Minter, Dr. Eric Reed, Dr. Chris Keller
History | Law
McDowell, Seth, "Addicted to Drug Control: The History of American Drug Prohibition and its Consequences for Modern Psychedelic Medicine" (2019). Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects. Paper 820.