Take a trip down memory lane to the 1960s when the flower children were walking the streets of San francisco getting stoned on psychedelic drugs. Along with hallucinogens like mescaline, mushrooms and LSD were blamed for bad trips that sent people to the hospital. Now take a step forward to 2018. Guess what! Psychedelics are making a comeback.
What is this comeback? Researchers are discovering that when administered in a supportive therapeutic setting, psychedelics can actually make you sane. For example recent trials of a drug similar to LSD have demonstrated that a single guided psychedelic session can alleviate depression when Prozac has failed.
The value of psychedelic therapy was first recognized 70 years ago but research was stopped by a nationwide moral panic. Yet in the decade before that there had been 1,000 published studies of LSD involving 40,000 experimental subjects and six international conferences devoted to the value of LSD in treating psychiatric diseases.
In parts of Canada in the 1950s psychedelic therapy became a standard treatment for alcoholism. More recently researchers at Johns Hopkins have published research on the benefits of a similar treatment to treat addicted smokers. The results of the pilot study were that sic months after their psychedelic session 80% of the volunteers had quit smoking. Another highly successful study was on the therapeutic value of psychedelics in treating patients with advanced cancer who had depression, anxiety and the fear of death.
The most exciting prospect for the use of psychedelics is the possibility that it may yield a unified theory of mental illness. This research is in its infancy but there is no limit to the prospects. Welcome back to a more serious rerun of the 1960s.