Scientists: Are Psychedelic Drugs Poised to Make a Medical Comeback?

Sep 09, 2015 08:00 PM EDT | By Alexis Villarias

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Almost half a century has passed since LSD was a trend for opening the mind.  However, this trend led to deaths as hallucinations become uncontrollable.  This may about to change as studies are currently done about lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) as treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) and anxiety.

New research on the use of psychedelic drugs as treatment for a range of mental disorders seems to change the perception of the medical community.  According to Canadian Medical Association Journal, new analysis of psychotic drugs such as LSD and methylenedioxymethamphetamin (MDMA) may prove their purpose in treating mental health disorders.

Researchers in Switzerland, Canada, Brazil, Peru, Mexico and United States are investigating that finds psychedelic drugs valuable as a supplement to psychotherapy in the treatment of addiction, post-traumatic stress and depression that often comes with terminal illness.  As of the moment, trials are done in small-scale however, researchers are planning trials for larger test groups.  Matthew Johnson, professor of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences at John Hopkins University said that the study is catching the attention of a few, "more and more people are becoming interested and even jumping into the field to start trials themselves."

Experimental therapeutic uses of psychedelic drugs have been set up in a tightly controlled environment. From extensive screening process of prospective patients, close monitoring during medication and to extensive follow up.  Researchers are demonstrating that this type of research is possible and can conform to rigorous scientific, ethical and safety standards expected of a contemporary medical research.  

The results show a reduction in both anxiety and depression compared to regular treatments.  We're not talking about acute change in mood while the drug is in effect," says Johnson. "People seem to have major shifts in their perspective, that is evidence going forward long-term."  More so, there has been a decrease of symptoms in people with chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD, more effective than regular treatments.

The research entitled, "Psychedelic medicine: a re-emerging therapeutic paradigm" has proof that drugs like MDMA, LSD and psilocybin can be effective in treating well-chosen patients.  Although studies were in small scale and results are preliminary, more work needs to be done in order for the drugs to be safely recommended for widespread clinical application.

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