By Preston Peet
The fourth annual Horizons: Perspectives on Psychedelics conference was held on the last weekend of September in New York City. Speakers focused more on the hard science rather than the metaphysics that many researchers find inherent in taking psychedelics. Balktick, founder and Director of Horizons said, “Using drugs to party is not an important message that I feel the need to spread. I produce parties as well and would be very happy to see an increase in sober partygoers.”
Matthew J. Johnson, Ph. D. and his partner Mary P. Cosimano, MSW, described their initial look into the efficacy of treating patients attempting to kick nicotine addictions using psilocybin at the John Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. Claire S. Wilkins, Director of Pangea Biomedics, a clinic located in Tijuana, Mexico, gave a presentation entitled, “400 Ibogaine Sessions; Data on Detoxification, Recidivism, and Quality of Life.” Wilkins pointed out that after canvassing various treatment centers and drug policy groups she came to the realization that “there is no clear consensus as to what abstinence really is.” Compared to most other forms of treatment, the patients she has seen seem to be able to remain free of their problem-causing substances.
Rick Strassman, M.D., who wrote the seminal book, DMT: The Spirit Molecule, which covers the DMT experiments he performed upon human subjects at the University of New Mexico from 1990-95, offered a somewhat bizarre presentation using the Old Testament as a guide for current experiences with psychedelics. He even suggested that scholars use psychedelics as a means to “access the state of consciousness out of which emerged Old Testament text.”
“I love our focus on research and I love the relaxed, open-minded vibe the conference seems to generate and attract,” said Neal Goldsmith, Ph.D, co-founder of Horizons “I love being able to bring in my heroes and colleagues as speakers, and I love that we can bring this rational science, research-based perspective on psychedelics to the people who come to learn and make community.”