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posted by janrinok on Thursday December 01 2016, @05:38AM   Printer-friendly
from the look-at-the-colours-man dept.

The clinical trials at N.Y.U.—a second one, using psilocybin to treat alcohol addiction, is now getting under way—are part of a renaissance of psychedelic research taking place at several universities in the United States, including Johns Hopkins, the Harbor-U.C.L.A. Medical Center, and the University of New Mexico, as well as at Imperial College, in London, and the University of Zurich. As the drug war subsides, scientists are eager to reconsider the therapeutic potential of these drugs, beginning with psilocybin. (Last month The Lancet, the United Kingdom's most prominent medical journal, published a guest editorial in support of such research.) The effects of psilocybin resemble those of LSD, but, as one researcher explained, "it carries none of the political and cultural baggage of those three letters." LSD is also stronger and longer-lasting in its effects, and is considered more likely to produce adverse reactions. Researchers are using or planning to use psilocybin not only to treat anxiety, addiction (to smoking and alcohol), and depression but also to study the neurobiology of mystical experience, which the drug, at high doses, can reliably occasion. Forty years after the Nixon Administration effectively shut down most psychedelic research, the government is gingerly allowing a small number of scientists to resume working with these powerful and still somewhat mysterious molecules.

As I chatted with Tony Bossis and Stephen Ross in the treatment room at N.Y.U., their excitement about the results was evident. According to Ross, cancer patients receiving just a single dose of psilocybin experienced immediate and dramatic reductions in anxiety and depression, improvements that were sustained for at least six months. The data are still being analyzed and have not yet been submitted to a journal for peer review, but the researchers expect to publish later this year.

The results taste orange.

takyon: Michael Pollan's article was published in 2015 (covered by us here) and is now featured in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2016. Here is some fresher material:

Tripping up addiction: the use of psychedelic drugs in the treatment of problematic drug and alcohol use (DOI: 10.1016/j.cobeha.2016.10.009) (DX)

Psychedelics not linked to mental health problems or suicidal behavior: A population study (open, DOI: 10.1177/0269881114568039) (DX)

MDMA could be on the market legally by 2021:

In small studies around the country, a handful of researchers have been investigating how MDMA-assisted psychotherapy can help heal the psychological and emotional damage caused by sexual assault, war, violent crime, and other traumas. Now, federal regulators have approved the drug for use in large-scale clinical trials too—a move that could set the stage for making "ecstasy" legally available as a new medicine. The Phase III trials will involve at least 230 patients, and will be sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), an organization that advocates for the medical use of various psychedelics, including MDMA (otherwise known as ecstasy or Molly or millennial aspirin). The organization funded early safety and efficacy trials of the drug in the past. And in one pilot study involving 19 PTSD patients, more than half experienced decreased symptoms for up to six years after receiving three doses of MDMA.

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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 01 2016, @08:03AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 01 2016, @08:03AM (#435336)

    Just to add to this, If anything the war on drugs is about to get worse. The DEA (and local police forces) see the writing on the wall as far as marijuana legalization is concerned and they are ramping up their seizures and use of RICO laws before they can't do it anymore. And if you think the DEA is going to just accept the smaller budget and continue business as usual once marijuana is legalized you need to think again. They will turn their current budget onto enforcing other drugs like these psychedelics, substituted-amphetamines, or the phenethylamine class entirely (which has produced drugs that scooted around the analog laws for some time now). The war on drugs has taught the policing agencies in this country one thing: Prohibition is good for business. They aren't soon to forget that.

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 01 2016, @09:22AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 01 2016, @09:22AM (#435352)

    Thing is, "You/your car/your house/etc smells like weed", has been the go-to bullshit excuse to justify illegal searches for decades, how are they going to justify it when weed is legal and it can no longer be used as an excuse to conduct an illegal and unconstitutional search? Marijuana legalization helps a lot of ways, both in taking bullshit excuses away from cops and giving justification to give other schedule 1 substances a second look. Even heroin is being prescribed in other countries for treatment-resistant addicts so that they can be functioning members of society, legalizing marijuana gives an opening for that possibility in the US, as well as the possibility of pursuing something like Portugal's incredibly successful "decriminalize everything" policy.