For a while now we have been hearing about the health benefits and potential of psychedelic drugs as an effective form of treatment. In the past research has shown us that patients who use psychedelic drugs or LSD when they were mentally ill saw a reduction in psychological distress and suicidal thoughts. The results aren’t temporary either, a study back in 2013 they came to the conclusion that psychedelics have long “lasting” mental health benefits.
Overcoming Societies Stigma.
Unfortunately even though the treatment potential has been proven by science we still have a big obstacle to overcome, the negative stigma from society. The psychedelic culture from the 60s and 70s with the association of the stoned hippie still keeps society at arms length. There is a lot of fear and mistrust about the substances that is still going on today.
Just like the research coming out about the awesome health benefits of marijuana any studies about the illegal psychedelic medicines are often met with fear, backlash, tight regulations, or rejection. This makes it very hard for scientists to move forward with their studies. Even the research for the movie DMT: The Spirit Molecule (2010) mentioned having to jump through years of hoops just to get permission to study a chemical that our body produces naturally.
All of this stigma and fear may finally be changing thanks to the hard work and progressing opinions from psychiatrists. Some new research that came out of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver about the possible use of psychedelics in psychotherapy.
Published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) an analysis reviewed several smaller studies that used psychedelics and they concluded that these drugs should be brought into the spotlight.
“The re-emerging paradigm of psychedelic medicine may open clinical doors and therapeutic doors long closed.”
Said professor of medicine Dr. Evan Wood, a Canada research chair member at the University of British Columbia, said in the official press release.
The researchers analyzed a randomized study with controls where they concluded that using LSD in psychotherapy could help reduce the anxiety caused by having a terminal illness.
In a second study, researchers analyzed finds from a trial where they used a specific active molecule found in mushrooms, sometimes known as ‘shrooms’, to treat people who were addicted to alcohol. They found it to be effective in helping people recover from their alcoholism.
Another study also showed that MDMA (ecstasy) can help lower PTSD symptoms in people who suffer from chronic PTSD.
“Continued medical research and scientific inquiry into psychedelic drugs may offer new ways to treat mental illness and addiction in patients who do not benefit from currently available treatments,” the authors wrote.
According to the American Psychological Association:
“The benefits of these illegal drugs may outweigh the risks in certain scenarios,” and “the drugs may help improve functioning and lift the spirits of those with cancer and other terminal diseases, as well as help treat people with post-traumatic stress disorder.”
The biggest thing we need to do as a society is to become a bit more open-minded about research into the medical benefits of these illegal ‘drugs’. We need to be a bit more trusting and expect that doctors, psychologists, and scientists will be cautious and full of care when they are looking into the mental realms of psychedelia.
Honestly, if a person was properly trained and in a clinical setting were to guide a patient through a Psychedelic experience the results could be long lasting and life changing. Whereas traditional medications may offer very little help and lots of harmful side-effects.
“Although methodological and political challenges remain to some degree, recent clinical studies have shown that studies on psychedelics as therapeutic agents can conform to the rigorous scientific, ethical, and safety standards expected of contemporary medical research,” they wrote
What do you think? Should we legalize psychedelics for medical use? Let us know about your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.
Tupper K, Wood E, Yensen R, Johnson M. Psychedelic medicine: a re-emerging therapeutic paradigm. CMAJ. 2015.
Image Credit- cbsnews.com
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