Could Psychedelics Make Us Feel More Content?

How amazing is it to see articles actually wondering out loud if psychedelics could make us feel content? Whenever we check out the conversations on today’s social media, we see that many people are not content and would like to have much more than we currently have.

Stress About Our Present State of Affairs

Many experts attribute these overall feelings in modern society to several common psychological factors like depression and anxiety. This causes so many of us to not be happy with where we are, so we worry about our future, the things we do not have, the things that our friends and colleagues have, and wonder why we are in our present state. 

There has always been pretty sound argument for wanting to pursue a life that is contented, particular when you live in a country like America – which is full of opportunity. As Robert Lustig has written in his popular book, The Hacking of the American Mind, serotonin has been identified as the molecule of contentment. He made it a point to not confuse that molecule with dopamine, which drives our desire to pursue pleasure. While we adore a quick boost of dopamine whenever we put ourselves on the back, we are not as fond of the slow and lazy path towards any contentment because it simply does not have the same traction in our seeking the instant gratification that is popular today. 

Using Psychedelics As Treatment

Lustig actually suggests several worthy ideas for the cultivation of contentment—ideas such as meditation, exercise, cooking, volunteering, mindfulness, conversations—yet psychedelics is a very interesting suggestion. He has claimed that he is not interested in the promotion of illegal substances per se. It is science that really matters in the end, and after he had read the highly popular Michael Pollan piece about where people who are receiving end of life care had considered psychedelics, he investigated the topic further. Here is what he further said about the topic:

“When my editor and I sat down to discuss Chapter 8 [“Picking the Lock to Nirvana”] that was the chapter we discussed the most. We spent five times as much time on Chapter 8 as we did on any other chapter because we wanted to make sure we got it right, because it potentially has a propensity for abuse.”

Lustig learned that there were certain psychedelics that do enhance contentment. The molecular structure of serotonin, which we said earlier helps us feel contentment, was actually validated in 1953. Even though scientists originally revealed its presence inside the human brain, serotonin is also found within the human gastrointestinal tract as well. This particular fact actually helps our understanding of the human emotional bond with food. 

While the serotonin-1a receptor is connected to contentment, the serotonin-2a receptor is connected to mystical experiences. In addition, we know that psilocybin and LSD actually binds to both of these receptors, and we know that mescaline bind exclusively to 2a—which causes hallucinations in the absence of emotional satisfaction. That could actually explain the reason that a host of current research in psilocybin, which is the active ingredient that exists in “magic mushrooms,” and also LSD are indicating they offer beneficial results for many cognitive disorders. There is a report from New Scientist which states, 

“Mental illness has reached crisis proportions, yet we still have no clear links between psychiatric diagnoses and what’s going on in the brain – and no effective new classes of drugs. There is one group of compounds that shows promise. They seem to be capable of alleviating symptoms for long periods, in some cases with just a single dose. The catch is that these substances, known as psychedelics, have been outlawed for decades.”

This attitude is gradually changing because more and more organizations are exploring the therapeutic potential for using psychedelics on a variety of ailments such as healing trauma, depression, addiction, anxiety, fear of death, as well as other emotional and mental afflictions. This may very well open some doors in treating people across several medical spectrums.