What Psychedelic Research Can Teach Us About Mental Health

By Natalie Ginsberg on Wednesday, 26 March 2014, hits: 6578


Key to the psychedelic resurgence we are currently in the midst of is the dramatic increase in academic research on their capacity to transform human health, often in ways many of us have known about all along. Instead of a daily pharmaceutical regime alleviating the symptoms of certain psychological conditions, we are finally rediscovering the tools that help us address the root of such issues. 

Here Natalie Ginsberg of The Huffington Post briefly summarizes this aspect the current situation:

For the first time in over four decades, researchers in Switzerland -- which is appropriately enough, the birthplace of LSD -- have returned to examining LSD's therapeutic benefits. Recently, Swiss researchers published the results of their government-approved, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study evaluating LSD-assisted psychotherapy as treatment for end-of-life anxiety. The results were overwhelmingly positive: Patients' anxiety levels plummeted following only two LSD-assisted psychotherapy sessions, and no adverse effects were recorded beyond temporary and therapeutic moments of distress during the LSD experience.

Psychedelic-assisted therapy has not only proven effective in alleviating terminally ill patients' anxiety, but has also yielded promising results in treating a variety of intractable psychological conditions over the years. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, researchers demonstrated LSD's therapeutic potential in treating crippling conditions such as addiction, depression and anxiety. But the United States criminalized psychedelics in the late 1960s, effectively halting further research exploring psychedelics' medical value.

Recently, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) has worked to revive psychedelic research, sponsoring studies across the United States and around the world, including Switzerland's most recent success. Other current MAPS-sponsored studies include evaluating MDMA-assisted therapy as treatment for PTSD, and psilocybin-assisted therapy for nicotine addiction. (Psilocybin is the active compound in psychedelic mushrooms.) Next month, another study will begin assessing MDMA-assisted therapy's ability to reduce social anxiety in adults on the autism spectrum.


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