After controversy surrounded mind-altering “psychedelic” drugs like LSD, MDMA and psilocybin (the compound found in “magic mushrooms”) in the 1960s, tougher drug laws brought many clinical studies hoping to reveal the drugs’ “complex psychological effects” to a halt. Now, the FDA has begun to approve some research using the drugs and some firmly believe they can help treat a myriad of psychological issues.
One clinical trial using MDMA, better known as “ecstasy,” to treat sex abuse survivors and veteran patients suffering from chronic PTSD, proved the drug may have potential therapeutic value. When administered along with psychotherapy, it helped subjects dig into long-buried traumatic memories and connect with emotions surrounding the event without being overwhelmed by fear or anxiety. Within two months of the treatments, 83 percent of the subjects who had been given the drug reported significantly fewer PTSD symptoms or none at all, while only 25 percent of the subjects, who had received the placebo, showed improvements.
Other “psychedelics” may also have some therapeutic advantages. According to UCLA researchers, psilocybin can ease “end-of-life anxiety” many cancer patients face, and a psychedlic called ibogaine can help heroin and methadone addicts ease their cravings. Supposedly, they can even be helpful in couples’ therapy, meditation and spiritual practices, when administered carefully. [VOA News]