Mind-Altering Drugs News StoriesExcerpts of Key Mind-Altering Drugs News Stories in Major Media
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Scientists at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore have enlisted two dozen religious leaders from a wide range of denominations, to participate in a study in which they will be given two powerful doses of psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms. Dr William Richards ... who is involved in the work, said: “With psilocybin these profound mystical experiences are quite common. It seemed like a no-brainer that they might be of interest, if not valuable, to clergy.” The experiment, which is currently under way, aims to assess whether a transcendental experience makes the leaders more effective and confident in their work and how it alters their religious thinking. Despite most organised religions frowning on the use of illicit substances, Catholic, Orthodox and Presbyterian priests, a Zen Buddhist and several rabbis were recruited. The team has yet to persuade a Muslim imam or Hindu priest to take part, but “just about all the other bases are covered,” according to Richards. The participants have been given two powerful doses of psilocybin in two sessions, one month apart. “Their instruction is to go within and collect experiences,” Richards said. “So far everyone incredibly values their experience. No one has been confused or upset or regrets doing it.” A full analysis of the outcomes will take place after a one-year follow-up with the participants, whose identities are being kept anonymous. “It is too early to talk about results, but generally people seem to be getting a deeper appreciation of their own religious heritage,” he said.
Note: In 1962, a similar experiment was conducted called the "Good Friday Experiment." Almost all of the members of the experimental group reported experiencing profound religious experiences. In 2002, a similar experiment at Johns Hopkins University yielded similar results. Learn about both of these in this Wikipedia article. Read more about the potentials of mind altering drugs now being explored by the scientific community.
When Noa Shulman came home from school, her mother, Yael, sat her down to eat, then spoon-fed her mashed sweet potatoes - mixed with cannabis oil. Noa is part of the first clinical trial in the world to test the benefits of medicinal marijuana for young people with autism, a potential breakthrough. There is anecdotal evidence that marijuana’s main non-psychoactive compound - cannabidiol or CBD - helps children in ways no other medication has. Now this first-of-its-kind scientific study is trying to determine if the link is real. Israel is ...one of just three countries with a government-sponsored medical cannabis program, along with Canada and the Netherlands. Conducting cannabis research is also less expensive here and easier under Israeli laws, particularly compared to the United States. Autism is one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders, affecting 1 in 68 children in the United States. Only two medications have been approved in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration to treat the symptoms of autism. Both are antipsychotic drugs that are not always effective and carry serious side effects. Adi Aran, the pediatric neurologist leading the study, said nearly all the participants previously took antipsychotics and nearly half responded negatively. Anecdotal reports of autistic children who benefited from cannabis ... led Aran to pursue more scientific testing. After seeing positive results in 70 of his autistic patients in an observational study, Aran said, “OK we need to do a clinical trial."
Note: Dozens of studies have found evidence that CBD can treat epilepsy as well as a range of other illnesses. While more people are arrested in the US for marijuana use than for all violent crimes combined and the US federal government continues to regard non-psychoactive CBD as a dangerous drug, the UK government recently announced it will regulate CBD as medicine. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.
As eight states plus the District of Columbia have moved to fully legalize recreational marijuana, debates on the merits of legalization have focused on the effects of marijuana use on individuals and society. The National Academies of Sciences, Medicine and Engineering have brought a great deal of clarity to the situation with an encyclopedic report summarizing pretty much everything researchers know (and don't know) about the health effects of marijuana use. For the 395-page report, a team of dozens of drug policy experts at some of the nation's most prestigious universities analyzed 24,000 scientific papers to arrive at more than 100 conclusions regarding the effects of marijuana use. The committee found strong evidence showing marijuana is effective at treating chronic pain in adults. Given the current public health crisis involving tens of thousands of deaths annually because of painkiller overdoses, this is a potentially significant finding. The report also turned up strong evidence that marijuana is effective at treating nausea and vomiting, [as well as] muscle spasticity. The literature shows limited evidence that marijuana use is linked to the use of other substances. The report does not address the implications of these findings for current legalization debates. The researchers do, however, state emphatically that the current designation of marijuana as a Schedule 1 controlled substance ... is one of the chief barriers to conducting more badly needed research.
Note: Big Pharma has been caught systematically bribing doctors to over-prescribe deadly painkillers, and an ex-DEA official has publicly accused Congress of helping drug makers avoid responsibility for their role in the US opioid epidemic. Meanwhile, more people are arrested in the US for marijuana use than for all violent crimes combined. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and health.
Jackson Leyden had always been a healthy kid. But in 2011, a few months after his eighth birthday, he began having seizures several times a day. His parents took him to more than 20 doctors. He tried more than a dozen medications. Nothing worked. Two years ago, the Leydens ... decided to see whether marijuana might help. “Within a few days, he was having hardly any seizures,” says his mother, Lisa. “I was shocked.” Over the next few months, he stopped taking other medications. Not only did the medicine help, it did so without making him high. The strain of marijuana that Jackson takes is unusual: It contains high levels of cannabidiol, or CBD, one of the two main molecules in marijuana; the other is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. While THC is famously mind-altering, CBD is not. Over decades, researchers have found that THC may help treat pain, nausea, loss of appetite and other problems, while CBD was thought to be biologically inactive. But in the past 10 years ... dozens of studies have found evidence that the compound can treat epilepsy as well as a range of other illnesses, including anxiety, schizophrenia, heart disease and cancer. Now 13, Jackson ... continues to use marijuana every day. He still has seizures, but they are less severe and they occur once every week or two, down from around 200 a month before he started using cannabis. Although it doesn’t make users high, CBD ... is classified by the federal government as a Schedule 1 drug [with] no accepted medical use.
Note: While more people are arrested in the US for marijuana use than for all violent crimes combined and the US federal government continues to regard non-psychoactive CBD as a dangerous drug, the UK government recently announced it will regulate CBD as medicine. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.
On a summer morning in 2013, Octavian Mihai entered a softly lit room. He swallowed a capsule of psilocybin, an ingredient found in hallucinogenic mushrooms. Then he put on an eye mask and headphones and lay down on a couch. Mr. Mihai, who had just finished treatment for Stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was participating in a study looking at whether the drug can reduce anxiety and depression in cancer patients. Throughout that eight-hour session, a psychiatrist and a social worker ... stayed by his side. The results from that study, and a similar small, controlled trial, were striking. About 80 percent of cancer patients showed clinically significant reductions in both psychological disorders, a response sustained some seven months after the single dose. Side effects were minimal. In both trials, the intensity of the mystical experience described by patients correlated with the degree to which their depression and anxiety decreased. Although cancer patients will not have access to therapeutically administered psilocybin anytime soon, the findings add vigor to applications to expand research in a multicenter trial with hundreds of participants. Psilocybin trials are underway in the United States and Europe for alcoholism, tobacco addiction and treatment-resistant depression. Other hallucinogens are also being studied for clinical application. This week, the Food and Drug Administration approved a large-scale trial investigating MDMA, the illegal party drug better known as Ecstasy, for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Note: See another article in the UK's Independent showing remarkable results from these studies. Learn more about the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs now being explored by the scientific community.
After three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, C. J. Hardin wound up hiding from the world. He had tried almost all the accepted treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder. “Nothing worked for me,” said Mr. Hardin. Then, in 2013, he joined a small drug trial testing whether PTSD could be treated with MDMA, the illegal party drug better known as Ecstasy. “It changed my life,” he said. “It allowed me to see my trauma without fear or hesitation and finally process things and move forward.” Based on promising results like Mr. Hardin’s, the Food and Drug Administration gave permission Tuesday for large-scale, Phase 3 clinical trials of the drug - a final step before the possible approval of Ecstasy as a prescription drug. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, a small nonprofit created in 1985 ... sponsored six Phase 2 studies treating a total of 130 PTSD patients. Two trials ... focused on treating combat veterans, sexual assault victims, and police and firefighters with PTSD who had not responded to traditional prescription drugs or psychotherapy. Patients had, on average, struggled with symptoms for 17 years. After three doses of MDMA administered under a psychiatrist’s guidance, the patients reported a 56 percent decrease of severity of symptoms on average, one study found. By the end of the study, two-thirds no longer met the criteria for having PTSD. Follow-up examinations found that improvements lasted more than a year after therapy.
Note: Read more about how MDMA has been found effective for treating PTSD in a therapeutic context. This FDA approval to begin Phase 3 clinical trials of MDMA suggests that the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs are gaining mainstream scientific credibility.
For a long time, Daniel Au Valencia got the message that she was wrong, wrong, wrong. “There’s a lot of shame around autism,” she says. Last year Valencia heard about an unusual experimental study ... exploring a treatment specifically for social anxiety in autistic adults. Many traditional therapies don’t work for autistic people, says Nick Walker, [a] consultant on the new study, because they reinforce stigma around autism. He sees this new research as a uniquely “culturally appropriate” approach to addressing the “epidemic” of social anxiety in autistic adults. The treatment is MDMA, known more commonly as Ecstacy or Molly. Early studies ... show it can ease or erase symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. In one study, 83 percent of study participants treated with MDMA and psychotherapy were cured of their PTSD. Psychologist Alicia Danforth [is] conducting the social anxiety study at UCLA’s Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, along with psychiatrist Charles Grob. Valencia is one of just 12 autistic adults participating in the pilot study. It’s impossible to draw a direct line between the treatment and how Valencia is doing right now, but she says she’s doing great. She’s got a steady full-time job, her own apartment, and she just got married. She says her biggest takeaway ... is more about emotions than social anxiety. She says she’s learned that there’s no such thing as good emotions or bad emotions. “All emotions deserve to exist,” she says.
Note: Learn more about the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs now being explored by the scientific community.
For as long as Alice, now 32, can remember, her father, “a major drug dealer with freezers full of cocaine”, was physically abusive towards her and her mother. Alice’s post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) ... went misdiagnosed for many years. She tried [many therapies]. Nothing worked. Then, two and a half years ago, Alice enrolled in a clinical trial for a treatment combining psychotherapy with MDMA. Her “trips” were accompanied by eight-hour therapy sessions. During the session[s], her psychiatrist guided the conversation according to goals she had set with Alice beforehand. Alice’s recovery was astonishing. The clinician-administered PTSD scale, or Caps ... uses a lengthy questionnaire to determine the severity of a patient’s symptoms. Any score over 60 is “severe”. Alice’s score went from 106 to two. It’s now at zero. In other words, her PTSD is gone. Alice is one of 136 patients who have undergone MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in trials run by the not-for-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (Maps), based in Santa Cruz, California. [In] one South Carolina study ... 83% of those given the MDMA no longer met the criteria for PTSD following treatment, compared with 25% of those who were not given the drug. Best of all? The results have held for several years. MDMA is not a silver bullet: treatment is heavily reliant on the accompanying therapy, and there is a lot of therapy: three monthly sessions with the drug, lasting eight hours each, punctuated by nine weekly 90-minute sessions without it.
Note: Read more about how MDMA has been found effective for treating PTSD in a therapeutic context. Articles like this suggest that the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs are beginning to gain mainstream scientific credibility.
The German writer Norman Ohler['s] book ... "The Total Rush" – or, to use its superior English title, "Blitzed" – reveals the astonishing and hitherto largely untold story of the Third Reich’s relationship with drugs, including cocaine, heroin, morphine and, above all, methamphetamines (aka crystal meth). The story Ohler tells begins in the days of the Weimar Republic, when ... Hitler’s inner circle established an image of him as an unassailable figure who was willing to work tirelessly on behalf of his country, and who would permit no toxins – not even coffee – to enter his body. When the Nazis seized power in 1933, “seductive poisons” were immediately outlawed. Some drugs, however, had their uses. A substance that could “integrate shirkers, malingerers, defeatists and whiners” into the labour market might even be sanctioned. Ohler describes [the methyl-amphetamine Pervitin] as National Socialism in pill form. In 1940, as plans were made to invade France through the Ardennes mountains, a “stimulant decree” was sent out to army doctors, recommending that soldiers take [Pervitin]. The invasion of France was made possible by the drugs. In Berlin, Hitler was [prescribed injections of] a designer opiate. He would combine it with twice daily doses of the high grade cocaine. The effect of the drugs could appear to onlookers to be little short of miraculous. One minute the Führer was so frail he could barely stand up. The next, he would be ranting unstoppably at Mussolini.
Painkiller abuse and overdose are lower in states with medical marijuana laws. When medical marijuana is available, pain patients are increasingly choosing pot over powerful and deadly prescription narcotics. Now a new study [provides] clear evidence of a missing link in the causal chain running from medical marijuana to falling overdoses. Researchers at the University of Georgia scoured the database of all prescription drugs paid for under Medicare Part D from 2010 to 2013. In the 17 states with a medical-marijuana law in place by 2013, prescriptions for painkillers and other classes of drugs fell sharply compared with states that did not have a medical-marijuana law. They found that, in medical-marijuana states, the average doctor prescribed 265 fewer doses of antidepressants each year, 486 fewer doses of seizure medication, 541 fewer anti-nausea doses and 562 fewer doses of anti-anxiety medication. But most strikingly, the typical physician in a medical-marijuana state prescribed 1,826 fewer doses of painkillers in a given year. Estimating the cost savings to Medicare from the decreased prescribing, [the study] found that about $165 million was saved in the 17 medical marijuana states in 2013. The estimated annual Medicare prescription savings would be nearly half a billion dollars if all 50 states were to implement similar programs.
Note: The war on drugs has been called a "trillion dollar failure", and an increasing number of deaths are caused by prescription opioid overdose in the US each year. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
In recent years, researchers have sought to rescue hallucinogens from exile by examining their efficacy in treating certain disorders of the mind. Psychoactive substances, often derived from mushrooms, have been part of human cultures ... for thousands of years. In the 1950s and ’60s, researchers assiduously explored LSD as a tool for treating mental illness and various addictions. The Central Intelligence Agency tested the drug’s possibilities as a truth serum or perhaps a vehicle for mind control. Prohibitions against LSD and brethren hallucinogens, like psilocybin and mescaline, were codified in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Soon enough, serious scientific exploration of psychedelics dried up. In recent years, though, mind-bending drugs have begun tiptoeing back into the research mainstream. Modern scientists are ... studying hallucinogens’ potential to help smokers kick the habit, to undo addictions to drugs and alcohol, to cope with cluster headaches and depression, and to deal with obsessive-compulsive and post-traumatic stress disorders. Institutions where such work is underway include New York University; Johns Hopkins University; the University of California, Los Angeles; Psychiatric University Hospital in Zurich; and Imperial College in London. Hallucinogens, while not addictive, remain officially taboo everywhere. Nonetheless ... if carefully administered, [some researchers] say, hallucinogens can reorient patients’ perceptions of their place in the universe and pull them out of ruts of negative thinking.
Note: Watch a 13-minute New York Times video on the return of psychedelics as a powerful healing modality. While the war on drugs has been called a "trillion dollar failure", articles like this suggest the healing potentials of mind altering drugs are starting to be investigated more scientifically.
In 1970, Congress dropped psychedelics into the war on drugs. The federal government declared that the drugs had no medical use - and high potential for abuse. Over the past decade, some scientists have begun to challenge that conclusion. Far from being harmful, they found, hallucinogens can help sick people: They helped alcoholics drink less; terminal patients eased more gently into death. And it’s not just the infirm who are helped by the drugs. They can help us solve problems more creatively and make us more open-minded and generous. Scientists think [that] when someone takes a psychedelic, there is a decrease in blood flow and electrical activity in the brain’s “default mode network,” [which] is primarily responsible for our ego or sense of self. When we trip, our default mode network slows down. With the ego out of commission, the boundaries between self and world, subject and object dissolve. Robin Carhart-Harris, a neuroscientist with Imperial College London, notes that the default mode network is responsible for a lot of our rigid, habitual thinking and obsessions. Psychedelics help relax the part of the brain that leads us to obsess. And they can help “loosen if not break” the entrenched physical circuits responsible for addictive behavior. Steve Jobs famously said that taking LSD “was one of the most important things in my life.” The entrepreneur Tim Ferriss said that “the billionaires I know, almost without exception, use hallucinogens on a regular basis.”
Psychedelics, the drugs of choice for many in the 1960s counterculture movement, may be making a comeback. Scientists, doctors and scholars who have researched the health potential of drugs such as LSD, magic mushrooms and ecstasy, gathered at the Horizons conference ... to discuss innovations in the field. Psychedelics ... went out of favor with the law in the 1960s and 1970s, [which] slammed the lid on research. Those prohibitions seem to be loosening somewhat, with some governments allowing a small amount of research with psychedelic drugs, results of which show they may carry promise for treating a wide variety of ailments, from anxiety to addiction. “Some of the most significant civilizations have given an honored place to psychedelics,” scholar and writer Graham Hancock told conference attendees. Hancock said hallucinogenic mushrooms played a part in cultures such as the Mayan Civilization and were depicted in European and African cave paintings as far back as 9,000 years ago. A recently completed project at New York University found that psilocybin appears to reduce anxiety and depression in terminal cancer patients. It appeared that psilocybin led many of the study participants, who were all in various stages of life-threatening cancer, to have “mystical experiences” that gave them great insights, improved their anxiety and generally made them more positive and loving, they and their loved ones reported. To date there have been no adverse reactions to psilocybin in any study.
Some users of LSD say one of the most profound parts of the experience is a deep oneness with the universe. The sensation ... correlates to changes in brain connectivity while on LSD, according to a study published Wednesday in Current Biology. An MRI scanner [showed that] the brains of people on acid looked markedly different than those on the placebo. Their sensory cortices, which process sensations like sight and touch, became far more connected than usual to the frontal parietal network, which is involved with our sense of self. "The stronger that communication, the stronger the experience of the dissolution (of self)," says Enzo Tagliazucchi, the [study's] lead author. Researchers also measured the volunteers' brain electrical activity with another device. Our brains normally generate a regular rhythm of electrical activity called the alpha rhythm, which links to our brain's ability to suppress irrelevant activity. But in a different paper published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, he and several co-authors show that LSD weakens the alpha rhythm. He thinks this weakening could make the hallucinations seem more real. The idea is intriguing ... says Dr. Charles Grob, a psychiatrist at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. "They may genuinely be on to something. This should really further our understanding of the brain and consciousness." And, he says, the work highlights hallucinogens' powerful therapeutic potential.
The profound impact of LSD on the brain has been laid bare by the first modern scans of people high on the drug. The images, taken from volunteers ... revealed that trippers experienced images through information drawn from many parts of their brains. Under the drug, regions once segregated spoke to one another. Further images showed that other brain regions that usually form a network became more separated in a change that accompanied users’ feelings of oneness with the world, a loss of personal identity called “ego dissolution”. David Nutt, the government’s former drugs advisor ... and senior researcher on the study, said, “This is to neuroscience what the Higgs boson was to particle physics.” [Study co-author Robin] Carhart-Harris said, “We saw many more areas of the brain than normal were contributing to visual processing under LSD, even though volunteers’ eyes were closed.” The more prominent the effect, the more intense people rated their dreamlike visions. Under the influence, brain networks that deal with vision, attention, movement and hearing became far more connected. But at the same time, other networks broke down. The drug can be seen as reversing the more restricted thinking we develop from infancy to adulthood. The study could pave the way for LSD or related chemicals to be used to treat psychiatric disorders. Nutt said the drug could pull the brain out of thought patterns seen in depression and addiction through its effects on brain networks.
Note: For more, see an NPR article titled "How LSD Makes Your Brain One With The Universe". This ground-breaking study appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. While the war on drugs has been called a "trillion dollar failure", studies like this suggest the healing potentials of mind altering drugs are starting to be investigated more scientifically.
A group of 22 medical experts convened by Johns Hopkins University and The Lancet have called today for the decriminalization of all nonviolent drug use and possession. The experts further encourage countries and U.S. states to "move gradually toward regulated drug markets and apply the scientific method to their assessment." Their report comes ahead of a special UN General Assembly Session on drugs to be held next month. In a lengthy review of the state of global drug policy, the Hopkins-Lancet experts conclude that the prohibitionist anti-drug policies of the past 50 years "directly and indirectly contribute to lethal violence, disease, discrimination, forced displacement, injustice and the undermining of people’s right to health. "The goal of prohibiting all use, possession, production and trafficking of illicit drugs is the basis of many of our national drug laws, but these policies are based on ideas about drug use and drug dependence that are not scientifically grounded," said Commissioner Dr. Chris Beyrer. "The idea that all drug use is necessarily 'abuse' means that immediate and complete abstinence has been seen as the only acceptable approach," commissioner Adeeba Kamarulzaman ... said. But, she added, "continued criminalization of drug use fuels HIV, hepatitis C and tuberculosis transmission within prisons and the community at large. There is another way. Programmes and policies aimed at reducing harm should be central to future drug policies."
Note: While the war on drugs has been called a "trillion dollar failure", and the healing potentials of mind altering drugs are starting to be investigated more openly, there remains powerful evidence that the CIA and US military are directly involved in the drug trade.
The war on drugs has failed, fuelling higher rates of infection and harming public health and human rights to such a degree that it's time to decriminalize non-violent minor drug offences, according to a new global report. The authors of the Johns Hopkins-Lancet Commission on Public Health and International Drug Policy call for minor use, possession and petty use to be decriminalized following measurably worsened human health. "We've had three decades of the war on drugs, we've had decades of zero-tolerance policy," said Dr. Chris Beyrer, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore and the senior author of the report published Thursday in The Lancet. "It has had no measurable impact on supply or use, and so as a policy to control substance use it has arguably failed. It has evidently failed." Given that the goal of prohibiting all use, possession, production and trafficking of illicit drugs was to protect societies, the researchers evaluated the health effects and found they were overwhelmingly negative. For a role model, the authors point to Portugal, which decriminalized not only cannabis but also possession of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. HIV transmission, hepatitis C and incarcerations all decreased, Beyrer said, and there was about a 15 per cent decline in substance use by young people in Portugal.
Note: While the war on drugs has been called a "trillion dollar failure", and the healing potentials of mind altering drugs are starting to be investigated more openly, there remains powerful evidence that the CIA and US military are directly involved in the drug trade.
Decades after the U.S. Federal Government banned the drug ecstasy — which in turn went underground, gaining notoriety as a party drug — a Bay Area medical team got special permission to study its therapeutic use. The goal of the trial is to see whether a pure dose of the compound MDMA, also known as ecstasy, can be pure medicine: could it ease the crippling anxiety, fear, or depression felt by those suffering from a life-threatening disease? The lead investigator for this study is psychiatrist Phil Wolfson. The medical doctor has permission from the U.S. FDA to conduct the study, and legally administer the drug. “The FDA approved so the DEA had to follow suit,” explained Wolfson. Before the DEA declared MDMA illegal in 1985, Doctor Wolfson used it medicinally in his own practice and saw a tremendous benefit for patients. In the study, MDMA is not used alone. The use of the compound is combined with psychotherapy sessions that can last five hours or longer. “It’s not this 50 minutes in and out, it’s these extended periods of real interactive exchange, “ explained [study participant Andy] Gold. “With the MDMA, everything opened up,” recalled [study participant Wendy] Donner. “You start seeing things very, very clearly and at a nice slow pace, truths in your life are bubbling up. And revealed to you piece by piece,” explained [study participant John] Saul. The participants all say they’ve changed and are better able to face the future. Wolfson hopes the drug may one day be available to other patients as a legally accepted remedy.
About 8 percent of Americans experience PTSD; for veterans, that number is 30 percent. Treatment is notoriously difficult, but people could find relief in an unusual form: psychedelic drugs. MDMA - found in molly and ecstasy - earned a bad rap in the 1990s as ravers’ drug of choice. But psychotherapists are coming to value the way it increases empathy while decreasing fear and defensiveness. “MDMA gives people the ability to revisit an event that’s still painful without being overwhelmed,” says psychiatrist Michael Mithoefer. Following a recent MDMA trial, 83 percent of his treatment-resistant participants no longer showed symptoms of PTSD. In one study, Mithoefer worked with a New York City firefighter post-9/11. The subject had tried treatment before. While undergoing a popular method that uses eye movement to reprocess a trauma, he’d been so overcome that he ripped a sink off the wall. MDMA, however, worked. “It wasn’t easy for him,” Mithoefer says. “But our sink is still attached.” MDMA isn’t a one-trick pony either; it can treat end-of-life anxiety and alcoholism, and it’s not addictive. “We’re talking about the rise of a whole field of medicine,” says Rick Doblin, founder of the nonprofit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, which is running a handful of MDMA trials, including Mithoefer’s. Doblin thinks the FDA will greenlight the drug for mainstream use by 2021.
New research on the use of psychedelic drugs as treatment for a range of mental disorders appears to be throwing open doors of perception long closed within the medical community, says a new analysis in the Canadian Medical Assn. Journal. For several decades, the North American medical establishment has classified psychedelic drugs – including LSD, psilocybin and [MDMA, better known as ecstasy] – as drugs of abuse with little to no medical purpose or means of safe use. That, four researchers argue, is changing. In Switzerland, Canada, Brazil, Peru, Mexico and the United States, researchers with no evident countercultural tendencies are conducting research that is finding psychedelic drugs a valuable adjunct to psychotherapy in treating addiction, post-traumatic stress and the depression or anxiety that often comes with terminal illness. Clinical investigators are demonstrating that such research "can conform to the rigorous scientific, ethical and safety standards expected of contemporary medical research," the authors write in the new analysis, titled "Psychedelic medicine: a re-emerging therapeutic paradigm." And the body of research they are generating is demonstrating that such drugs as MDMA, LSD and psilocybin can be effective in treating well-chosen patients. Two other factors - cost and time - also appear to be opening minds about the potential therapeutic uses of psychedelic drugs.
Note: For more about the therapeutic uses of psychedelic drugs, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles from reliable sources.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.