Listen: OSU's Peter Sparks Talks Psilocybin 🎧 | Local News | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

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Listen: OSU's Peter Sparks Talks Psilocybin 🎧

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For this week’s episode of “Bend Don’t Break” we talk with Peter Sparks, professor of psychology at Oregon State University - Cascades. We wanted to have Sparks on in light of Measure 109 on the general election ballot which would legalize the use of psilocybin (psychedelic mushrooms) in a clinical setting. It would make Oregon the first state to allow some legal use of the drug. (Full disclosure: The Source endorsed Measure 109.)

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Over the last few years, Sparks has developed a reputation as a great resource for people interested in learning more about psychedelics. He’s led a number of workshops that explore society’s changing attitudes towards these drugs and how psychedelics have been used both therapeutically and recreationally throughout history.

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Sparks explained that in the 1950s and 1960s, scientists studied psychedelics as a potential therapy for alcoholism, depression and anxiety. But that all came to a halt in 1970 when LSD, psilocybin and other psychedelics were declared Schedule I drugs by the federal government. Today, there is a renaissance of promising research on the therapeutic use of hallucinogens.

Sparks talked about the mental, spiritual and emotional benefits of psychedelics as well as some of the dangers. He especially warned against mixing LSD or psilocybin with other mind-altering substances. Sparks has also done a lot of personal research on the intersection between neurobiology and spirituality, which led us to an interesting discussion of how chemical processes can promote feelings of expansiveness and connection with others and the universe.

Listen to more from Peter Sparks of OSU - Cascades on this week's episode of “Bend Don't Break,” hosted by the Source Weekly’s publisher Aaron Switzer. Every week, Switzer invites on a someone from the community with a new perspective on living through the COVID-19 pandemic including mental health professionals, economists, educators, artists, business people, local leaders and historians. Subscribe on iTunes, Soundcloud or wherever you get your podcasts.

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