From social isolation to rising unemployment and racial uprisings, last year has left its mark on us all. Yet while the pandemic has forced us to expect the unexpected, the fact that psychedelics are now being touted as the solution to the looming mental health crisis is, for many, a turn up for the books.
Last summer, an academic report on trials of the therapeutic use of psilocybin, a compound derived from magic mushrooms, at Imperial College, London and Trinity College, Dublin suggested the treatment has the potential to play an important therapeutic role for various psychiatric disorders in post-Covid-19 clinical psychiatry. The study was just the latest in a long line of clinical findings in recent years which have led many to herald a psychedelic renaissance.
However, despite the fact that black people live with a disproportionate level of psychological wounds, we are notably absent from psychedelic research and clinical trials, accounting for just 2% of studies since 1993. As a consequence, meaningful data is lacking as to the benefits and cautions of these medicines for people of African descent.
In a recent article, two black practitioners, Nicolle Greenheart and NiCole Buchanan concluded, “Our absence in clinical trials mean that people of color are denied the radical, transformative changes often seen with the therapeutic use of psychedelics.”