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    psychoactive plants global mental health agenda study ICEERS

    Study: Psychoactive Plants and the Global Mental Health Agenda


    Traditional Healing Practices Involving Psychoactive Plants and the Global Mental Health Agenda: Opportunities, Pitfalls, and Challenges in the “Right to Science” Framework

    José Carlos Bouso & Constanza Sánchez Avilés.

    Health and Human Rights Journal


    About the study

    Based on the principles of respect for human rights and evidence-based treatments, the increasingly important global mental health (GMH) movement that drives the agenda led by the United Nations has nevertheless marginalized the recognition of traditional medicines and healers, which remain in a secondary place in comparison to the role given to Western psychiatry.

    Consequently, the right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications necessitates an approach to health that values traditional medicine and health care.

    Paradoxically, traditional healers are more numerous in most parts of the Global South than mental health workers, and they constitute the main health resource that local populations use and believe in,” say the authors. Moreover, they add that “there is a scarcity of institutional documents and international GMH proposals that consider investing in traditional medical practices and research.”

    “In today’s globalized world, a large diversity of people from a broad range of genetic and cultural backgrounds coexists and travels throughout various territories and countries. Traditional healers conduct ceremonies in Western countries, and Westerners travel into indigenous territories in search of traditional treatments. Thus, different medical systems, backed by their respective epistemologies, coexist. If traditional practices and epistemologies are not properly addressed within the GMH movement and WHO’s Mental Health Action Plans, this may pose a challenge to health-related human rights”.

    Finally, traditional practices provide a more holistic view where the environment in which mental disorders develop is of great importance. The right to share this valuable knowledge is allegedly preserved both in the International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Control, and in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, but its application still means a challenge for the scientific and medical community in the West.

    “Thus, the Global Mental Health agenda should start to recognize the immense value of traditional medicines based on psychoactive plants, the ethnographic literature should be used as a legitimate source of evidence regarding safety and efficacy, and research budgets should be allocated for multidisciplinary approaches to study non-institutionalized traditional medicines, such as ayahuasca healing systems.”

    Link to the article

    Photo by Pretty Drugthings on Unsplash.

    Categories: Studies & papers , Ayahuasca
    Tags: ayahuasca , scientific research , study , therapeutic , global , psychedelics , traditional , hallucinogens , mental health