Are Psychedelic Drugs the Next Frontier in Wellness Research?

Are Psychedelic Drugs the Next Frontier in Wellness Research?

Anna Hunt, Contributing Writer

Psychedelic substances such as ecstasy, LSD and magic mushrooms have been deemed illegal by the government and have been largely dismissed by the medical establishment although they may offer potential treatment for illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. Yet, scientists are now starting to more actively explore the effects that chemicals such as LSD and psilocybin, which is found in certain species of mushrooms, have on the way we humans think and act.

A series of studies is being conducted in England and the United States by the widely respected Imperial College London and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to examine how hallucinations and the feelings of transcendence experienced when ingesting certain psychedelic drugs, such as psilocybin active mushroomsor LSD, can benefit a person’s overall emotional health and well-being.

“Lasting change was found in the part of the personality known as openness, which includes traits related to imagination, aesthetics, feelings, abstract ideas and general broad-mindedness.” – John Hopkins, Sept. 29, 2011

“Scientists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have zeroed in on the dose levels of the “sacred mushroom” chemical capable of yielding positive, life-changing experiences, while minimizing the chance of transient negative reactions in screened volunteers under supportive, carefully monitored conditions.” – Newswise, June 15, 2011

One of the most recent studies has been conducted by scientists at the Imperial College London in the UK. In this controversial televised study, 26 volunteers were given either a dose of ecstasy or a placebo, and then their brain activity was analyzed by scientists at the college to realize the precise effects of the drugs. Channel 4 in the UK is airing the documentary on September 26 and 27 entitled Drugs Live.

“People become very emotionally tender on ecstasy, which makes you more responsive to psychotherapy,” – Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, one of the experts involved in the Imperial College London study.

Although this type of research may sound radical to some, scientists are focused on seeking new treatments for depression, migranes and cluster headaches. Some of the findings from the study at the Imperial College London invite the possibility that these substances may offer treatment for past physical and emotional traumas.

“It was found that, in the volunteers given the proper drug, the area of their brain involved in positive memories became more active, while another processing negative memories was damped down. We think this would make it easier for patients to revisit a traumatic memory and overwrite or control it,” says Carhart-Harris.” – The Telegraph, Sept. 25, 2012

In the 1950′s and 60′s, many scientists were examining how psychedelic drugs can be used to benefit patients, however, research came to a halt in the 1970’s when the US Food and Drug Administration banned the use of LSD and other substances containing psilocybin. Nowadays, however, there is a noticeable shift in attitude toward these illegal substances, with a growing group of researchers seeking to use the drugs in safe clinical settings to help patients.

Read the rest of the article here: Waking Times

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