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Campus Current

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Students learn about psychedelics at “Lunch and Learn” event

Divine Mesumbe
Professor Shad Ewart speaks to students about psychedelics at an open discussion.

Three professors hosted an open discussion on psychedelics for students on wednesday.

Professors Shad Ewart, Kevin Murphy, and Forrest Caskey hosted the free lecture on psychedelics and invited all students, faculty, and staff to learn and voice their opinions on psychedelics such as marijuana, LSD, magic mushrooms, and more.

“It’s one of those subjects that has long been taboo,” Caskey said. “Learning about things whether we agree with them or disagree with them makes us a better person.”

The panel discussed the legality, ethical uses, cultural influences, religious influences, political complications, health concerns and business aspects of psychedelics without judgment.

Caskey said he sees the influence of psychedelics all throughout modern-day music.

“These days, all the artists are talking about being influenced by [psychedelics],” Caskey said. “Even if you don’t agree with something, it doesn’t negate the fact that it exists.”

Murphy said he changed his mind on cannabis, initially believing it to be “the worst thing in the world” before learning more about it.

“Anybody that used it … I judged them pretty harshly,” Murphy said. “After hearing [a] doctor explain the system and all the medical uses of cannabis, my eyes started to open.”

For Ewart, hosting this event was about seeing how students respond to the topic.

“We would like to see what kind of interest students have about this topic,” Ewart said. “Depending on the kind of feedback we get, we may develop a course.”

As a “cannabis guy,” who teaches a business class on marijuana, Ewart said he “feels almost obligated” to educate people on the usage of psychedelics.

“Ignorance can be painful. … [If] you are ignorant of [psychedelics], you will never know to ask for them [in medical situations],” Ewart said. “Knowledge is knowledge, it should be completely free.”

First-year pre-medical student Santiago Zapata, a returning student from the military, said he sees the merit in having a class after attending the event.

“If you’re interested in this stuff, your only source right now it’s basically the internet,” Zapata said. “I think [a] natural course of that information by a [professor] would be light years ahead of trying to figure it out yourself.”

Zapata said he thinks more research should be done on the long-term effects of psychedelics.

“What is psilocybin going to do over 30 years? These things we don’t know,” Zapata said. “Lack of knowledge is the downfall of humanity.”

First-year nursing student Skyler Smith said she “got a lot to take away” from the open discussion.

“Psychedelics, I feel like, are kind of growing these days,” Smith said. “That’s why I felt like I could learn more from this [event].”

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