For 40 years, Amanda Feilding, Countess of Wemyss and March, has believed psychedelics are an effective treatment for depression and anxiety. Now a growing number of scientists agree.
I don’t encourage anybody to do psychedelics for any purpose whatsoever. I think that people should be free to make up their own minds based on accurate, complete, and honest information. I do acknowledge that for me, personal experiences with psychedelics have been transformative and I wouldn’t consider them medical. Recreational use has been given a bad name, considered hedonistic and extraordinarily dangerous.
I think, for example, the celebratory use of psychedelics at festivals and concerts can be profoundly healing and inspirational. At the same time, MAPS is focused on providing psychedelic harm reduction services because people sometimes take these substances just for recreation and then deeper material rises to the surface. The use of these drugs explicitly for recreation with the intention of only having an easy happy experience is in some ways a recipe for disaster.
A deeper respect for the intention of these drugs should be involved even if the purpose is celebratory and recreational. For non-medical use to be as safe as possible we need to move to some sort of legalized setting so people can know what they’re getting. The distinction between medical and recreational is in some senses artificial. Sasha Shulgin used to say, there should be no such thing as a casual experiment with psychedelics.
-Rick Doblin, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director, MAPS
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Psychedelics have been the subject of experiments by scientists for decades but went out of favor with the law in the 1960s and 1970s when they “escaped the lab” and were picked up by proselytizers who helped give them a bad name, conference presenters said. This led to a backlash that slammed the lid on research for the next several decades.
The DEA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration maintain that there is insufficient research to justify recategorization from Schedule I. This stance creates a catch-22 by basing the decision on the need for more research while limiting the ability of scientists to conduct that research. The June report recommends transferring responsibility for drug scheduling from the DEA to another agency or nongovernmental organization without a history of anti-drug bias, such as the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. No matter how it happens, until the drugs are reclassified, bringing psychedelics from research into clinical practice will be an uphill battle.
Cluster headaches are often viewed to be the most painful headaches anyone can experience. The authors interviewed 53 cluster headache patients who had used psilocybin or lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) to treat their condition. 22 of 26 psilocybin users reported that psilocybin aborted attacks; 25 of 48 psilocybin users and 7 of 8 LSD users reported cluster period termination; 18 of 19 psilocybin users and 4 of 5 LSD users reported remission period extension. Why is this an amazing find?