Researchers are upbeat about the possibility of treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with psychedelics. Despite anti-drug campaigns calling for the criminalization of psychoactive compounds, the healing power of psychedelic compounds such as Ecstasy, LSD and magic mushrooms offers real hope for patients suffering from certain mental health disorders.
The Outlook For Decriminalization
Although psychedelic drugs have been criminalized for decades and their users denigrated, it may well be only a matter of time before the Food and Drug Administration (and regulators in other countries) approves psychoactive compounds four treating depression, PTSD, and similar conditions. This issue is already under consideration in countries such as India, Canada, and Australia.
Removing the hurdles raised by this long-standing stigma would pave the way for further progress in psychiatric treatment. Naturally, strict directives would steer the use of these substances for medical purposes.
What The Academic World Is Saying
A highly respected journal – Nature Medicine – has published the results of a lab study on MDMA conducted by Rick Doblin, the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). This could be a significant step forward in his battle to add psychedelics to the mainstream pharmacopoeia, as the first Phase III clinical trial of his study showed that MDMA with counselling provided significant relief to patients suffering from severe PTSD.
This encouraging news follows hot on the heels of an article in the New England Journal of Medicine that indicated possible antidepressant properties for the active ingredient in magic mushrooms: psilocybin. According to several reputable studies, psychedelics like psilocybin and LSD are not addictive and cause no organ damage, even at high doses.
A warning note comes from the head of the Langone Health Center for Psychedelic Medicine at New York University, Dr. Michael P. Bogenschutz. He notes that most studies have been conducted with relatively small samples of patients who had been carefully examined, and rarely include people with schizophrenia and other severe mental disorders.
This also raises the issue that approving MDMA and other psychedelics for therapeutic purposes might heighten the risks for people with serious mental issues, undermining the push for mainstream acceptance. Further research is needed, quantifying adverse impacts (at the individual, social and economic levels) of unsupervised self-medication.
Follow The Money
Farsighted investors are channeling millions of dollars into start-ups focused on medical uses for MDMA and psilocybin, with major universities examining the possibility of setting up psychedelic drug research centers. As cities and states in the USA are easing some constraints on the use of certain drugs, researchers are urging decriminalization for therapeutic (and possibly recreational where you can buy magic mushrooms online) use at the federal level.
Institutions like Yale University, Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and the Johns Hopkins Hospital are planning to set up psychedelic research departments, or have already done so, financed by private donors. In general, scientists are enthusiastic about possible new uses for psychedelics, particularly for treating anorexia, autism, opioid addiction, and depression, as well as lessening anxiety in terminal patients.
Fresh Hope With Fast Results
The founder of the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins, Roland R. Griffiths stressed that “We must be careful not to overpromise, but these are fantastically interesting compounds with numerous possible uses. ” In fact, a small group of adults in a Johns Hopkins study showed significant reductions in depressive symptoms after only two doses of psilocybin and therapy, with half of them in remission after only a month.
Although many researchers still feel that other possible side effects must be investigated, particularly among users with chronic comorbidities like high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart problems, the trend is leaning towards easing the current blanket ban on psychedelics. As the mental health crisis worsens, old friends like psychedelics are following in the footsteps of cannabis: offering fresh hope as innovative therapeutic tools.