Short-termist arguments against psychedelics/drug reform as an EA cause area usually focus on reputation risk. 

I want to brainstorm more ideas about potential benefits and risks from a longtermist perspective. Any ideas? 

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Psychedelics could be a tool for enhancing 'benevolence' in a mind enhancement context.. (see https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/FvZmZdqHNofJyw4Xv/mind-enhancement-a-high-impact-high-neglect-cause-area) Also, there is quite a bit of literature on moral enhancement, some of it focusing on psychedelics. I am planning on writing a cause area profile examining Importance, Neglectedness and Tractability of moral enhancement soon. Would be happy to collaborate/chat!

There's also the psychedelics in problem-solving experiment. The experiment involved having groups engineers solve engineering problems while on psychedelics in order to see if the psychedelics would enhance their performance. 

Interesting question... some random brainbreezes:

  • spontaneously seems fairly difficult to me to think about the downstream effects of marginally increasing and liberalizing psychedelics usage or drug use in general :D
  • also without a robust theory of change it seems unlikely to have a significant effect compared to where it's clearer?
  • I'd be interested in hearing more from people who think broadly affecting human cultures is a good bet for improving the chances of long-term human flourishing / reducing x-risks
    • e.g. I think psychedelics can have large effects on individual minds, and that those changes plausibly have longterm positive effects (increase cosmopolitanism, increase inward-focus/caring about moment-to-moment experience, decreasing aggression/increased peacefulness, increasing general mental health), 
    • but also can plausibly have negative effects (undermine important cultural features, ambition?, maybe decrease overall functionality of more liberal cultures over authoritarian ones?)
  • for an ambitious push it would probably be especially interesting to go through cultures and movements with more liberal drug norms and look at their features and maybe what changed with liberalization
    • hippie movement maybe had relatively bad epistemics, naive versions of pacifism, exploitability through sociopaths
    • did it have noticeable effects on innovation, economic productivity?

Adding to MaxRas brainbreeze list of possible positive effects ("increase cosmopolitanism, increase inward-focus/caring about moment-to-moment experience, decreasing aggression/increased peacefulness, increasing general mental health"): creativity/pursue of new lines of ideation, less addictions, moral circle expansion, increase in nature relatedness,  and gaining WISDOM. 

Talking about a longtermist perspective I would like to cite Toby Ords introduction to his book "The Precipice", where he talks about the importance of WISDOM for longterm secur... (read more)