Medical Uses of Psychedelics

by Victor Huston

n the late 60s, the use of psychoactive drugs became quite the big thing, carving the identity of what is now known to be the hippie generation. During this time period, the youth’s attitudes were leaning towards a more liberal approach to life as opposed to the hardline conservative ways of their parents. The one part rebellious, one part adventure seeking youngsters were greatly influenced by a musical revolution which helped pave the way to this new found open-mindedness. Back then, as use of psychedelics became quite prevalent, law enforcement in the United States created a campaign to limit its influence!

As time passed, so did the glory days of LSD, Psilocybin, Datura, and all sorts of other hallucinogenic drugs. Unfortunately tough, the stereotypes and misconceptions created by the government never left, seeping into the ears of the next generation of youngsters and then onwards to now. The use of such substances luckily never died off, but was often put in a category alongside its very harmful counterparts such as heroin and cocaine.

Thankfully as time passes, and people become more naturally sympathetic towards drug use, some scientists are asking themselves if they really missed something.

A massive study published in 2013 showed that psychedelic drugs can be used to cure certain types of mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. The study was conducted with 130,000 randomly chosen people, including 22,000 people who had used psychedelics at least once in their life. Researcher and clinical psychologist Pål-Ørjan Johansen, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology then discovered that in the people who did take psychoactive drugs, very few of them developed mental woes. Comparing it to the national average in the United States, the mental illness rate was also much lower in people who used the substances at least once in their life. This has led many scientists to believe that there may be a chemical compound that is able to partially suppress feelings associated with anxiety and depression. One of the leading groups conducting research in this domain is called (MAPS) Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, which was founded by scientist Rick Doblin. Alongside his group, many neuro-scientists have joined the movement in order to further study the potential of psychedelics. Things are finally looking like a far cry from the ignorant past 40 years which happened to become part of popular culture in our society

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