Essay date: November 28, 2022

How Scientific Materialism Keeps Godsend Medicines from the Depressed

ome cures are so obvious that Americans are totally blind to them.

There is an obvious treatment for my depression, for instance, which no doctor will ever think to recommend for me: namely, the intermittent use of mood-elevating substances that will give me a break from gloom and let me see the world's opportunities laid out clearly before me,. And, no, I'm not just talking about the use of opium and coca, though they deserve a place on the long list of substances that could be employed in the multi-drug therapy about which I am writing here.. Alexander Shulgin synthesized over 200 mood-elevating substances, which he used without frying his brain, and which improved his life and gave him positive thoughts.

This is your Brain on Godsend Plant Medicine

Stop the Drug War from demonizing godsend plant medicines. Psychoactive plant medicines are godsends, not devil spawn.

But doctors disdain such treatments. Why? Because the results of such ministrations cannot be clearly traced to specific chemical or biological processes or origins and thus are not "real" treatments. They thus do not pass muster for materialists, for whom it's never enough that a substance work: it must work in a reductive fashion or else it is a "crutch." This is an ironic label since today's supposedly scientifically created anti-depressants are the very epitome of crutches. Why? Because they tranquilize one rather than help one see the possibilities in life and how one might adapt to them.

The poster child for this materialist blindness is Dr. Robert Glatter, who wrote a 2021 article for Forbes magazine with the title: "Can Laughing Gas Help People with Treatment-resistant Depression?"


The fact that Robert has to ask this question shows how completely materialists have lost track of common sense and thereby forced me to spend my whole life without medical godsends.

Laughing helps. Everyone knows that. Even the Reader's Digest tells us that it is "the best medicine." But, since we have to spell it out for materialists, let me state the obvious: namely, that the ability to laugh and, crucially, to look forward to laughing, would be a great psychological boost for depressives like myself. That's psychological common sense, Robert, or at least it used to be, until psychologists came down with a bad case of physics envy.

Of course, the Drug War is a co-conspirator in this plot to keep me from happiness, not just because it bans almost all therapeutic psychoactive substances but because it has spread the lie that potentially addictive substances can only be used on an addictive basis, which, of course, is a self-fulfilling prophecy given the fact that said Drug Warriors believe in scaring would-be users instead of educating them.

It will be argued that such treatments are not cures. But do we really want a cure for sadness? Surely, that's a mad ambition, to excise sadness itself from the repertoire of human emotions. (Do we really want to be like the Prozac-using journalist who found that he could not cry at his parents' funeral? ) We need to be able to tolerate and learn from the down sides of life, not to remove them altogether by living lives on tranquilizing antidepressants. We need to see our problems creatively, not merely sleep through the downsides that they cause for us. Besides, whose definition of "cure" are we accepting as valid? Am I cured of my depression when I'm tranquilized to the point that I no longer complain, or am I cured when I start living large and striking out in bold new directions in life?

We need substances that spread a welcoming vista before us and interest us in life and in the sheer possibilities that it offers. That's what I got out of my first psychedelic trip as a teenager: a vision of the seemingly infinite possibilities to which my daily gloom had completely blinded me without my even knowing it.

This is why ending the Drug War should be about so much more than harm reduction: it should be about benefit maximization as well, maximizing the benefits that we get from hitherto demonized drugs -- benefits that we have been dogmatically denying ourselves for over a century now thanks not just to the Drug War but to the materialist blindness of modern academics as well.

Related tweet: January 13, 2023

The use of laughing gas changed William James' ideas about the very nature of reality. To outlaw such substances is to outlaw human advancement.

Author's Follow-up: February 22, 2023

I ask myself in re-reading this post, why is the point it makes so difficult for Americans to believe? Why does it strike one as heresy just to be reading this? The answer is clear: because Americans have been taught from childhood to fear substances, not to understand them. The western attitude toward psychoactive medicine, thanks to Drug War propaganda, is: "be afraid, be very afraid!!!" And what has this attitude of willful ignorance plus fear accomplished: it has created the very dystopia that it warns against! And so America stands in thrall to a self-fulfilling prophecy about the supposed evil of the politically created boogieman called drugs. This is why the Drug War is not wrong here and there, but rather it represents a childish and counterproductive way of looking at the world: a superstitious and anti-scientific way of looking at the world: one that tells us falsely that there are substances in the world called "drugs" that have no positive uses, for anyone, anywhere, under any circumstances, and at any doses, at any time, ever.

Such caveman thinking bars us from benefiting from drugs, to the point that we effectively outlaw the search for cures for autism and Alzheimer's. Why? Because we outlaw and otherwise discourage research on drugs that have been known to grow new neurons in the brain. Likewise, we outlaw peace, love and understanding as we outlaw substances like MDMA and psilocybin that have been shown to bring human beings together in unprecedented harmony with their fellow human beings.

Part of the problem is the media. When there is a car crash, they never tell us that it was due to a problem called "killer cars." But whenever someone misuses a psychoactive substance, the media always traces the problem back to "killer drugs." This then reinforces the anti-scientific lie that the substances in question have no positive uses whatsoever, that they are, in effect, devil spawn. The media is, thus, the handmaiden of the Drug War, as we can see today when the "presenters" at Channel 5 in the UK egg on their talking heads to criminalize laughing gas in the name of the precious children of the UK -- thereby throwing millions of the depressed and anxious under the bus and outlawing the sort of research that inspired the philosophical outlook of William James.

Author's Follow-up: April 14, 2023

I think that this explains (apart from sheer cowardice) why there is so little pushback against the Drug War from academia. Scientists realize at some level that prohibition privileges the materialist understanding of the world by outlawing all the substances whose use could help us see the world as holistic and pervaded by consciousness.

Next essay: Alexander Shulgin: American Hero
Previous essay: Psychedelics and Depression

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old time radio playing Drug War comedy sketches

You have been reading essays by the Drug War Philosopher, Brian Quass, at Brian is the founder of The Drug War Gift Shop, where artists can feature and sell their protest artwork online. He has also written for Sociodelic and is the author of The Drug War Comic Book, which contains 150 political cartoons illustrating some of the seemingly endless problems with the war on drugs -- many of which only Brian seems to have noticed, by the way, judging by the recycled pieties that pass for analysis these days when it comes to "drugs." That's not surprising, considering the fact that the category of "drugs" is a political category, not a medical or scientific one.

A "drug," as the world defines the term today, is "a substance that has no good uses for anyone, ever, at any time, under any circumstances" -- and, of course, there are no substances of that kind: even cyanide and the deadly botox toxin have positive uses: a war on drugs is therefore unscientific at heart, to the point that it truly qualifies as a superstition, one in which we turn inanimate substances into boogie-men and scapegoats for all our social problems.

The Drug War is, in fact, the philosophical problem par excellence of our time, premised as it is on a raft of faulty assumptions (notwithstanding the fact that most philosophers today pretend as if the drug war does not exist). It is a war against the poor, against minorities, against religion, against science, against the elderly, against the depressed, against those in pain, against children in hospice care, and against philosophy itself. It outlaws substances that have inspired entire religions, Nazifies the English language and militarizes police forces nationwide.

It bans the substances that inspired William James' ideas about human consciousness and the nature of ultimate reality. In short, it causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, meanwhile violating the Natural Law upon which Thomas Jefferson founded America. (Surely, Jefferson was rolling over in his grave when Ronald Reagan's DEA stomped onto Monticello in 1987 and confiscated the founding father's poppy plants.)

If you believe in freedom and democracy, in America and around the world, please stay tuned for more philosophically oriented broadsides against the outrageous war on godsend medicines, AKA the war on drugs.

Brian Quass
The Drug War Philosopher

PS The drug war has not failed: to the contrary, it has succeeded, insofar as its ultimate goal was to militarize police forces around the world and help authorities to ruthlessly eliminate those who stand in the way of global capitalism. For more, see Drug War Capitalism by Dawn Paley. Oh, and did I mention that most Drug Warriors these days would never get elected were it not for the Drug War itself, which threw hundreds of thousands of their political opposition in jail? Trump was right for the wrong reasons: elections are being stolen in America, but the number-one example of that fact is his own narrow victory in 2016, which could never have happened without the existence of laws that were specifically written to keep Blacks and minorities from voting. The Drug War, in short, is a cancer on the body politic.

Rather than apologetically decriminalizing selected plants, we should be demanding the immediate restoration of Natural Law, according to which "The earth, and all that is therein, is given to men for the support and comfort of their being." (John Locke)

Selected Bibliography

  • Bandow, Doug "From Fighting The Drug War To Protecting The Right To Use Drugs"2018
  • Barrett, Damon "Children of the Drug War: Perspectives on the Impact of Drug Polices on Young People"2011 IDEBATE Press
  • Bilton, Anton "DMT Entity Encounters: Dialogues on the Spirit Molecule"2021 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Boullosa , Carmen "A Narco History: How the United States and Mexico Jointly Created the 'Mexican Drug War'"2016 OR Books
  • Brereton, William "The Truth about Opium / Being a Refutation of the Fallacies of the Anti-Opium Society and a Defence of the Indo-China Opium Trade"2017 Anna Ruggieri
  • Burns, Eric "1920: The year that made the decade roar"2015 Pegasus Books
  • Carpenter, Ted Galen "The Fire Next Door: Mexico's Drug Violence and the Danger to America"2012 Cato Institute
  • Chesterton, GK "Saint Thomas Acquinas"2014 BookBaby
  • Filan, Kenaz "The Power of the Poppy: Harnessing Nature's Most Dangerous Plant Ally"2011 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Griffiths, William "Psilocybin: A Trip into the World of Magic Mushrooms"2021 William Griffiths
  • Hofmann, Albert "The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications"2005 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Irwin-Rogers, Keir "Illicit Drug Markets, Consumer Capitalism and the Rise of Social Media: A Toxic Trap for Young People"2019
  • James, William "The Varieties of Religious Experience"1902 Philosophical Library
  • Mariani, Angelo "Coca and its Therapeutic Application, Third Edition"1896
  • Mortimer MD, W. Golden "Coca: Divine Plant of the Incas"2017 Ronin Publishing
  • Partridge, Chiristopher "Alistair Crowley on Drugs"2021 uploaded by Misael Hernandez
  • Rudgley, Richard "The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Substances"2014 Macmillan Publishers
  • Shulgin, Alexander "PIHKAL: A Chemical Love Story"1991 Transform Press
  • Shulgin, Alexander "The Nature of Drugs Vol. 1: History, Pharmacology, and Social Impact"2021 Transform Press
  • Smith, Wolfgang "Cosmos and Transcendence: Breaking Through the Barrier of Scientistic Belief"0
  • Smith, Wolfgang "Physics: A Science in Quest of an Ontology"2022
  • St John, Graham "Mystery School in Hyperspace: A Cultural History of DMT"2021
  • Szasz, Thomas "Interview With Thomas Szasz: by Randall C. Wyatt"0
  • Wedel, Janine "Unaccountable: How the Establishment Corrupted Our Finances, Freedom and Politics and Created an Outsider Class"2014 Pegasus Books
  • Weil, Andrew "From Chocolate to Morphine: Everything You Need to Know About Mind-Altering Drugs"2004 Open Road Integrated Media
  • Site and its contents copyright 2023, by Brian B. Quass, the drug war philosopher at For more information, contact Brian at