Touching the Void: Psychedelics and Death


Can psychedelic drugs help prepare terminal patients for death? Can MDMA ease the pain of dying through the ultimate transcendent experience? In this episode, Julie and Robert discuss what some researchers believe may be the future of end-of-life care.

Touching the Void: Psychedelics and Death

Can psychedelic drugs help prepare terminal patients for death? Can substances like MDMA ease the dying through the ultimate transcendent experience? While the scientific study of psychedelic experience has been somewhat of a touchy subject since the 1960s, some researchers continue to seek out the beneficial aspects of these powerful, mind-altering substances. What actually goes on inside the mind during a "trip" and how might we use that to ease our passage through death?

In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and I discuss what some researchers believe may be the future of end-of-life- care. We even discuss Timothy Leary somewhat, who is a far more fascinating figure that you might suspect.

Even as we were recording this one, my mind turned to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, which ensures that the dying consciousness moves safely through eight stages of death to the death point - and beyond. Discussion of this didn't come up organically in our discussion, but if you'd like to explore that topic, I suggest reading my article "How Sky Burial Works." For a deep dive, Robert Thurman's translation of the book itself is worth a read.

Image Caption: The man himself: Timothy Leary. (Chip Simons/Science Faction/Getty)

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Topics in this Podcast: LSD, MDMA, drugs, death, psychedelics