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Replacing antidepressants with entheogens

new hope for the millions who are dependent on SSRIs and SNRIs

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

April 21, 2024

Letter to Liz Martinez, Research Participant Advocate at Johns Hopkins University.

Good afternoon, Liz.

I am writing to volunteer for participation in a clinical trial that no one has yet undertaken: a trial to see if the use of entheogenic drugs can help the SNRI-dependent individual get off of Big Pharma meds like Effexor. I am a 65-year-old chronic depressive who has been on Effexor for several decades now and I would like to finish my life by renouncing my status as an eternal patient. To that end, I have sought out clinical trials and overseas retreats through which I might use entheogenic medicine, but in all cases I have been rebuffed, due, in my view, to overblown liability concerns (always disingenuously presented as concerns for my health) regarding a poorly studied, rare and generally mild contraindication known as Serotonin Syndrome.

In other words, I have discovered that the psychedelic renaissance is not available for precisely those who need and deserve it most: namely, the millions (including 1 in 4 American women!) who have been turned into wards of the healthcare state by myopic materialism and the Drug War, which has outlawed all obvious antidepressant godsends, including the San Pedro cactus, which the Conquistadors outlawed before them, meanwhile telling me that they're not even sure that laughing gas or MDMA could help the depressed (see Dr. Robert Glatter's article in Forbes magazine 2021)! To the contrary, the FDA is now busy trying to make laughing gas (William James' go-to substance for philosophical investigation) a "drug," thus making it less available to the suicidal than ever, not to mention philosophers.

The point is: I am your guinea pig for a study to see if the use of entheogenic drugs can help one wean themselves off of drugs like Effexor. Although I am not a doctor, I have read many accounts of the spiritually boosting effects of drugs like San Pedro cactus, from which I conclude that there is what philosophers call a PRIMA FACIE case to be made for prescribing entheogens to the chronically depressed, to inspire and give them fortitude in their quest to end Big Pharma use. The latest NIH results indicate that Serotonin Syndrome is usually mild and can be easily monitored and corrected should it occur. Besides, in the real world, many folks -- certainly myself -- do not place safety at the top of their priorities in life. I am willing to take reasonable -- indeed mild -- risks to achieve my goal of experiencing the perennial wisdom that comes from certain psychedelic medicine-- from which outrageous drug law has debarred me until now.

I consider myself an expert on this topic -- or at least on a certain aspect of this topic -- given my 30+ years of experience "on" Effexor and the hundreds of articles that I have written about how the Drug Warriors have turned me into an eternal patient by denying me access (like the Conquistadors before them) to the plants and fungi that grow at my very feet. Please give me an opportunity to fight back, meanwhile giving hope to the millions of chronically depressed who are currently considered ineligible for psychedelic healing. In my view, materialist medicine owes these people something, since our society and its materialist presuppositions essentially signed off on this unacknowledged yet unprecedented mass pharmacological dystopia thanks to which 1 in 4 American women take a Big Pharma med every day of their life. It's really unfair that the psychedelic renaissance is leaving this demographic behind, leaving them to their fate as wards of the healthcare state, as they-- still -- keep complaining of the depression for which they yet religiously still keep "taking their meds."

I'm your guinea pig.

I would be glad to write a detailed proposal for how a study of this kind would proceed. To summarize and recap: I propose a study whereby various entheogens are given to someone (myself) as they withdraw from a Big Pharma med (Effexor), based on the PRIMA FACIE argument that a drug that inspires wholeness, meaning and focus (like San Pedro cactus) could help create the mindset wherein the psychological downsides of antidepressant withdrawal could be overcome. For withdrawal by itself (without entheogens) has been shown to have a recidivism rate of 95%. Clearly, the mindset of the user has to adapt to the withdrawal of a drug like Effexor (one that mucks about with brain chemistry), and if any class of drugs on earth has the potential to improve mindset and attitude, it is the entheogen. It can inspire change.

But I hope that science won't take its usual glacial course and wait like Dr. Spock until this "inspiration" can be documented on a PowerPoint chart, since I don't think any of us will live so long! (We all know how long it took science to grudgingly accept that pets might have "real" emotions -- and it is only within the last few weeks that scientists grudgingly acknowledged that lowly life forms may have some kind of consciousness and/or intelligence after all, something that the Mesoamerican natives have known for millennia) We know that entheogens can inspire change: let me help establish that the use of such drugs can help me get off Effexor. A successful trial of this kind would give hope to millions of the chronically depressed who are completely disempowered by the knowledge (conscious or not) that they are eternal patients thanks to their use of Big Pharma antidepressants.

Let's stop telling the chronically depressed to "keep taking your meds!" as rich yuppies keep flying to Peru to try ayahuasca. Please, let's provide the victims of the Drug War with a blessed alternative, the help of entheogens in their quest to get off of big pharma antidepressants, a feat that is far more difficult than most Americans (not to mention the pharmaceutical companies) are willing to acknowledge, let alone do something about.

best wishes.

hope to hear from you soon.

Best Wishes!

Hope to hear from you soon!

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William James Tweets

William James knew that there were substances that could elate. However, it never occurred to him that we should use such substances to prevent suicide. It seems James was blinded to this possibility by his puritanical assumptions.
So he writes about the mindset of the deeply depressed, reifying the condition as if it were some great "type" inevitably to be encountered in humanity. No. It's the "type" to be found in a post-Christian society that has turned up its scientific nose at psychoactive medicine.

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You have been reading an article entitled, Replacing antidepressants with entheogens: new hope for the millions who are dependent on SSRIs and SNRIs, published on April 21, 2024 on For more information about America's disgraceful drug war, which is anti-patient, anti-minority, anti-scientific, anti-mother nature, imperialistic, the establishment of the Christian Science religion, a violation of the natural law upon which America was founded, and a childish and counterproductive way of looking at the world, one which causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, visit the drug war philosopher, at (philosopher's bio; go to top of this page)