The heads of the FDA and NIH co-authored a letter acknowledging the therapeutic potential of LSD, MDMA, psilocybin, and ketamine.
The heads of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have acknowledged the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs ranging from LSD to ketamine in a letter discussing the status of research on these drugs in the US.
The letter was written in response to an inquiry from Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz, who asked whether the government had plans to research or approve psychedelic drugs for medical use. In his letter, Schatz wrote that “studies have found the benefits of the controlled use of psychedelics in psychotherapy programs, including the benefits of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) to reduce anxiety for patients with life-threatening diseases, and the safety and efficacy of ketamine, MDMA, psilocybin, LSD, and ibogaine in clinical trials.”
The first research center of its kind in the country is bringing renewed rigor to the investigation of the drugs’ therapeutic uses.
Psychedelic drugs—once promising research subjects that were decades ago relegated to illicit experimentation in dorm rooms—have been steadily making their way back into the lab for a revamped 21st-century-style look. Scientists are rediscovering what many see as the substances’ astonishing therapeutic potential for a vast range of issues, from depression to drug addiction and acceptance of mortality.
Psychedelics are going through a serious revival right now. Clinical trials are taking place with LSD and psilocybin (magic mushrooms), MDMA is already being used to treat PTSD, and ketamine is being prescribed for depression (you’ve probably heard all of this countless times). Now is most certainly a great time to explore the unusual and deeply expressive headspaces that these substances have to offer. Read more…
Psilocybin has shown promise for conditions like depression. Now, researchers are asking if the psychedelic experience is absolutely necessary to treat mental health.
A patient with depression once described their condition as „being enclosed in the most narrow confined space imaginable, it was like a sack over my head.“ Another said it was as if he was locked in a metal cage „from the shoulders up,“ or in a „mental prison.“
During and after taking a high dose of psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, something changed. „It was like being on holiday away from the prison of my brain,“ one person said. „I was a ball of energy bouncing around the planet, I felt carefree, re-energized.“ Read more…
PSYCHEDELIC THERAPY, whether for the treatment of psychological problems or as a means of facilitating self-exploration and spiritual growth, is undergoing a renaissance in America. This is happening both underground, where the community of guides like Mary is thriving, and aboveground, at institutions like Johns Hopkins, New York University and U.C.L.A., where a series of drug trials have yielded notably promising results.
A team of researchers from the Netherlands and Switzerland have confirmed that the drug 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) — commonly known as ecstasy or molly — enhances empathy towards others.
The findings, published April 3 in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, are based on a pooled sample of 118 participants from six double-blind placebo-controlled studies. The participants ingested either 75 mg or 125 mg of MDMA or a placebo pill before completing an empathy test.
Psychedelics are similarly safe physiologically, Rucker said, even compared with the least toxic current prescription drugs, such as fluoxetine. He did note that they can be “psychologically toxic,” potentially leading to tragic, if rare, events such as accidental death, suicide, or homicide if taken irresponsibly in recreational settings. But the most clear adverse physical events with psychedelics were short-term nausea, anxiety and disorientation.“You would need to eat many, many kilograms of magic mushrooms before the dose of psilocybin you ingested with them was harmful to your body,” Rucker said. “Psychedelics are much, much safer than opiates, which are routinely used in medical practice and kill thousands of people every year from overdose, but they are more legally restricted. It is quite a perverse situation, really, and certainly not an evidence-based one.”
Robin Carhart-Harris presentation on psychedelic science, at Imperial College London 25 October (57 mins)
“What brings you to Canada?” the Border Patrol asked Dr. Michael Mithoefer in the spring of 2015. Mithoefer, a psychiatrist, and his wife Annie, a psychiatric nurse, are pioneers in MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. Mithoefer had been invited to Toronto to address the largest gathering of psychiatrists in the world—the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association—on the results of their research into treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) using MDMA.
Needless to say, if there’s ever a time to avoid ruffling feathers with the mention of psychoactive substances, international border-crossing fits the bill. Mithoefer succinctly explained that he was presenting his PTSD research at the APA conference.
Ecstasy should be studied to understand the roots of empathy and sociality, and as potential treatments for disease, two psychiatrists argue.
Scientists are currently studying the therapeutic potential of psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression. Significantly reduced depression scores were observed in all patients at 1 week and were sustained out to 3 months.
“The results are not conclusive, but we strongly suspect that it is the psilocybin playing a role, because the quit rates are so much higher than even the best current psychological or pharmacological treatments for tobacco addiction, which are typically around 35%,” says Johnson. Based on the success of the initial trial, he and fellow researchers at Johns Hopkins have now embarked on a phase II randomised controlled trial with 80 participants, which started in October 2014.