How Psychedelic Medicine Followed Medical Marijuana But Don’t Mention the Drug War


It was a total coincidence, but in 1993 two books were published about the same time. One, Listening to Prozac by psychiatrist Peter D. Kramer, got national publicity and was widely reviewed. Kramer graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor of arts degree in 1970 and an MD in 1976.

The other book, Marihuana, the Forbidden Medicine, by James Bakalar, and my old friend, the late great Dr. Lester Grinspoon, was aggressively ignored, even though he “was associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He concurrently served as a senior psychiatrist at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center in Boston, Massachusetts for 40 years. Grinspoon was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Psychiatric Association. He was founding editor of The American Psychiatric Association Annual Review and Harvard Mental Health Letter. Grinspoon was editor of Harvard Mental Health Letter for fifteen years.”

The book was actually published by Yale University Press because the quackocracy at Harvard did not have the intellectual integrity to acknowledge its importance. To get some idea of how intellectually and morally corrupt one of the world’s leading medical schools had become, four years later, Harvard Medical School actually gave the U.S. Drug Czar, General Barry McCaffrey, an award named for the deceased Dr. Norman Zinberg, who was a friend and colleague of Grinspoon’s, and who had been on the NORML Board of Directors!

See: Profiles in Prohibition: General Barry McCaffrey’s War on Marijuana Users and see Controversy Follows Drug Czar Invitation.

In fairness to Harvard, Kevin Sabet, America’s leading Reefer Madness propagandist is actually an “Assistant Professor Adjunct/ Yale School of Medicine Yale School of Medicine; Institution for Social and Policy Studies.”

See: The Big Problem with the “Big Marijuana” Bogeyman and The Individual Courage And Collective Cowardice Of The Medical Profession.

Nonetheless, Yale Press is widely respected, so they naturally expected the book would be reviewed by the “quality press.” Nope.

By coincidence, I was the National Director of NORML at the time. So I decided to write a review that NORML would distribute. I was very aware of all the attention given to the Prozac book, so I called it: “Listening to Prozac, Silencing Marijuana” and sent it to Yale Press for their approval.

They were very nice about it but asked me to wait because they still believed that surely someone somewhere in U.S. journalism would have the courage and/or intellectual integrity to just review it. Nope!

I had graduated from Yale in 1962, so I just laughed and said that after 30 years I was still getting Cs from Yale. Unfortunately, I was right and it was months before anyone even acknowledged it.

Now, almost 30 years later, 90% of the American people support legalizing medical marijuana, and psychedelics are finally being recognized as very effective antidepressants. On the other hand, addiction to Prozac and other pharmaceutical antidepressants has become a major business.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness:

“Stopping fluoxetine (Prozac) abruptly may result in one or more of the following withdrawal symptoms: irritability, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, nightmares, headache, and/or paresthesias (prickling, tingling sensation on the skin).”

But you can still get Prozac online: “Get genuine Prozac® prescribed online for only $19/month. Get genuine Prozac® prescribed, plus unlimited online visits with U.S. licensed doctors.”

Absurdly, there are also articles on treating marijuana “dependence” with Prozac.

See: Effectiveness of Fluoxetine in Young People for the Treatment of Major Depression and Marijuana Dependence 

Perhaps psychedelics would work better. In any case, the medical psychedelic movement has been very different from the drive for medical marijuana. First, it benefited from the recognition that the Prohibitionist police state had lied to the American people, and there is a growing recognition that the Drug War has been a disaster.

Nonetheless, some psychedelics are still Schedule 1 drugs which include “heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote.”

See: The federal drug scheduling system, explained 

Also, they have chosen to go through the FDA process to isolate the active ingredients, which was never possible with marijuana because the DEA/NIDA has effectively blocked all research on the plant.

See: The Acquisition Of GW Pharmaceuticals Raises Many Interesting Questions

By going through the FDA system, they will bypass the Quackocracy, but we will still need to legalize the freedom to use natural psychedelics, because if we don’t own our own minds, what do we own?

Richard Cowan is a former NORML National Director and author of the Role Of Terpenes In CBD Products.

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