Psychedelics for psychotherapy?

Magic mushrooms, are they the next Prosac
Magic mushrooms, are they the next Prosac?

Turn on, tune in, drop out. The rallying cry of the counterculture and hippie movement of the late 60s and early 70s, when LSD and other psychedelic drugs were perceived as being a shortcut to spiritual Nirvana and an essential tool in opening minds to new experiences.  Research on the effects of psychedelics was in vogue, and for a time it was hoped that they would offer a panacea for many ills. Too many bad trips and the decline of the hippie culture saw the research quietly shelved and forgotten about. However, that is gradually changing and there seems to be a renewed interest in the medicinal effects of these drugs.

Research from 2014 and again in 2016 has shown that the controlled administration of LSD and psilocybin, which is the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, can radically improve the well being and positivity of terminally ill cancer patients. It isn’t crackpot scientists carrying out the research either, but experienced and respected researchers from Johns Hopkins and New York Universities

Further, there are a whole bunch of people who swear by the benefits of daily micro-dosing small quantities of LSD to increase creativity, mood, cognition and productivity. Interest in the use of MDMA (the active ingredient in ecstasy) to treat post traumatic stress disorder is on the increase, as is interest in using psilocybin to treat alcoholism. Funding for such experiments is difficult to come by but crowdsourced funding seems to be an option to get the experiments up and running.

Whether we are on the verge of another wave of recreational drugs being used for bona fide medicinal use, only time will tell. Either way, like with the legalisation of marijuana for medicinal purposes, it will provoke plenty of healthy debate from both sides.

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