Are Mind-Altering, Psychedelic Drugs — like 'magic mushrooms' — Therapeutic? : Short Wave Psychedelic drugs – like LSD, salvia, ayahuasca, Ibogaine, MDMA (AKA ecstasy), or psilocybin (AKA 'magic mushrooms' or 'shrooms') – are experiencing a resurgence of interest in their potential medical benefits.

At the Neuroscience 2022 meeting held by the Society of Neuroscience, the appetite for psychedelic research permeated the sessions, discussions, and even after-hours barroom talk — drawing in researchers, neuroscientists, companies, reporters, and advocates alike.

"In the last couple of years there has been a lot of excitement in psychedelics. I think it started first in the popular media." says Alex Kwan, associate professor at Cornell University. "Neuroscience, actually, I think took another year or two to catch on."

Today on the show, host Aaron Scott and NPR's brain correspondent Jon Hamilton chat psychedelic drugs — whether this renewed interest will represent incremental or revolutionary changes in the fields of medicine, psychology, and neuroscience.

Brain Scientists Are Tripping Out Over Psychedelics

Brain Scientists Are Tripping Out Over Psychedelics

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The active chemical in psylocibe cubensis (the "magic mushrooms" shown here) is being studied closely for its potential therapeutic benefits. labuda/Getty Images hide caption

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labuda/Getty Images

The active chemical in psylocibe cubensis (the "magic mushrooms" shown here) is being studied closely for its potential therapeutic benefits.

labuda/Getty Images

Psychedelic drugs – like LSD, salvia, ayahuasca, Ibogaine, MDMA (AKA ecstasy), or psilocybin (AKA 'magic mushrooms' or 'shrooms') – are experiencing a resurgence of interest in their potential medical benefits.

At the Neuroscience 2022 meeting held by the Society of Neuroscience, the appetite for psychedelic research permeated the sessions, discussions, and even after-hours barroom talk — drawing in researchers, neuroscientists, companies, reporters, and advocates alike.

"In the last couple of years there has been a lot of excitement in psychedelics. I think it started first in the popular media." says Alex Kwan, associate professor at Cornell University. "Neuroscience, actually, I think took another year or two to catch on."

Today on the show, host Aaron Scott and NPR's brain correspondent Jon Hamilton chat psychedelic drugs — whether this renewed interest will represent incremental or revolutionary changes in the fields of medicine, psychology, and neuroscience.

This episode was produced by Thomas Lu, edited by Gabriel Spitzer, and fact-checked by Abe Levine. Alex Drewenskus was the audio engineer. Gisele Grayson is our senior supervising editor. Brendan Crump is our podcast coordinator. Beth Donovan is the senior director of programming. And Anya Grundmann is the senior vice president of programming.