The Future of Psychedelic Science

December 27, 2019

The last decade has been inarguably incredible for the field of psychedelic science. The term renaissance is hyperbolically thrown around a lot these days but in this context it is perfectly apt. Moving from the fringes of the research world and shaking off years of baggage from illicit recreational circles, scientists have made startling progress in legitimizing the medical potential of these drugs.

With both MDMA and psilocybin on the precipice of approvals as mainstream medicines, and several leading universities opening dedicated psychedelic research facilities, the story of the last 10 years has been one of profound breakthroughs. So, as we stand on the precipice of a new decade, it’s worth pausing for a moment and looking forward to investigate what the 2020s may hold in this rapidly accelerating field.

New Atlas spoke to several leading psychedelic researchers to get their thoughts on three big future-forward questions. Where will psychedelic science be in 2030, what is the biggest hurdle psychedelic researchers will face in the 2020s, and what is the most interesting psychedelic research topic that has yet to be fully explored?

Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)

Founded by Rick Doblin in 1986, MAPS ostensibly began as a response to the DEA criminalizing MDMA, a drug Doblin viewed as holding remarkable potential as an aid to psychotherapy. For the next 30+ years MAPS has been at the forefront of the movement to legitimize psychedelic research and science.

With MAPS on the verge of culminating decades of work with an FDA approval for MDMA as a PTSD treatment the organization’s Director of Strategic Communication Brad Burge offers us an exciting insight into what the next 10 years hold for the field of psychedelic science.

The next 10 years?

Within 10 years we are likely to have multiple psychedelic-assisted therapies approved in the US, Europe, and in many countries around the world for the treatment of various mental health conditions. As new success stories from treatment with psychedelic therapy continue to emerge, and new scientific evidence continues to be collected from ongoing clinical trials and neuropsychopharmacology research, many more patients will be asking for these treatments.

We’ll see multiple forms of treatment centers emerge, including psychiatric hospitals as well as privately owned clinics and independent practitioners. Psychedelic therapy is on track to be the next major breakthrough in mental health care.

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