Psychedelics: Ready for a Medical Comeback 

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In Switzerland, Canada, Brazil, Peru, Mexico and the United States, researchers with no evident countercultural tendencies are conducting research that is finding psychedelic drugs a valuable adjunct to psychotherapy in treating addiction, post-traumatic stress and the depression or anxiety that often comes with terminal illness.

Melissa Healy reports: New research on the use of psychedelic drugs as treatment for a range of mental disorders appears to be throwing open doors of perception long closed within the medical community, says a new analysis in the Canadian Medical Assn. Journal.

“Experimental therapeutic uses of psychedelic drugs have been tightly controlled, requiring extensive screening of prospective patients, close monitoring during medication use, and extended follow-up.”

For several decades, the North American medical establishment has classified psychedelic drugs — including lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocybin and methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) — as drugs of abuse with little to no medical purpose or means of safe use.

LSDTrippinFamily

“But for all of that, when psychedelics such as MDMA have been tested in conjunction with psychotherapy for PTSD, or psilocybin for alcohol dependence, ‘relatively time-limited interventions’ have been shown to have enduring benefits.”

That, four researchers argue, is changing.

[Also see – LSD, Reconsidered for Therapy]

[More – Psychedelics: Poised for a Comeback]

In Switzerland, Canada, Brazil, Peru, Mexico and the United States, researchers with no evident countercultural tendencies are conducting research that is finding psychedelic drugs a valuable adjunct to psychotherapy in treating addiction, post-traumatic stress and the depression or anxiety that often comes with terminal illness.

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“It’s been a cautious road, but one that’s data-driven. A big factor is really that enough time has passed for the sensationalism to kind of simmer down and for sober heads to say, ‘Hold on, let’s look at the evidence.'”

While most are small-scale pilot studies, larger trials are planned — and “more and more people are becoming interested and even jumping into the field to start trials themselves,” said senior author Matthew W. Johnson, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University. Read the rest of this entry »