Could these drugs be the key to a happier life?
It’s nice to think that modern medicine and healthcare are giving us all the help we need to stay physically and mentally fit, but is that really the case?
Due to antiquated laws, overly conservative lawmakers, the personal biases of government officials, and the financial interests of the pharmaceuticals industry, among others, many substances are illegal today that should instead be government regulated and available to those who need them.
Aside from marijuana, one of the most common substances that medical professionals and researchers argue should be investigated for its medicinal or therapeutic qualities are psychedelic drugs, specifically LSD and psilocybin. Tests carried out in the mid-20th century gave us most of the empirical evidence about psychedelic drugs that we still rely on, but more researchers today are petitioning for the government to grant permission to experiment and provide funding to carry out research. Others still are asking that psychedelics be declassified as Schedule I drugs.
Naturally, working with such potent drugs is risky, but that’s why we need regulated research and non-biased studies to help explore and understand them. If the research we already have is any indication, they might just be the medicine of the future when it comes to treating these complicated conditions that plague so many millions across the world.
Do you know someone who suffers from one of these?
Psychedelics: A History
Psychedelics had been used as medicine for centuries before President Nixon decided to write them off under his Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, which has been highly criticized for having political and financial motives rather than medical ones.
Largely used by indigenous peoples of the Americas for spiritual reasons, the demonization of such drugs began when European conquistadors and missionaries passed off the substances as tools of pagan religions. In the case of synthetic drugs like LSD, the psychological effects came as an accident, which the US government would then go on to use in research and experiments, even on unknowing subjects.
Weird origins aside, these drugs were used in hundreds of studies during the decades before their scheduling, largely to find how effective they could be in therapeutic settings. While research was often positive, if not expansive enough to be certain about, the government still banned them from private and public legal use, if not for medical reasons than for moral ones.
Now, researchers are fighting for their continued use in studies for the treatment of some of the most difficult-to-treat conditions facing our society today.
1. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Believed to affect some 2–3% of the world’s population at one point in their life, OCD is an uncontrollable mental disorder associated with tics and anxiety. Though the cause is unknown, research has shown that the disorder may be related to an altered regulation of serotonin.
In some isolated cases, the usage of hallucinogens has been demonstrated to reduce obsessions and compulsions if not send them into remissions for months at a time.