We all hope we’d be filled with grace and serenity when facing death at the end of a long struggle with a terminal illness. But for many, it is a moment of anxiety, fear and potential psychological trauma. Now, science is turning its interest back to the potential healing power of psychedelic drugs to alleviate end-of-life anxiety.
“The thinking is that with the aid of the psychedelic… it may help bring back memories; it promotes introspection, it can be a touchstone, it can be grounding,” said Dr. John Halpern, a researcher who has used MDMA – also known as ecsatasy – to help relieve end-of-life stresses in two cancer patients.
We’ll talk with Dr. Halpern about the state of the science of psychedelics, and what it says over all about how Americans approach end-of-life care.
Guest: Dr. John Halpern, head of the Laboratory for Integrative Psychiatry at McLean Hospital