Are Psychedelics the Next Medical Marijuana?

In March 2014, for the first time in over 40 years, a study of the therapeutic benefits of lysergic acid diethylamide — more commonly known as LSD — was published in a peer-reviewed medical journal. It showed that LSD-assisted psychotherapy significantly reduced anxiety in individuals with “life-threatening diseases,” including Parkinson’s disease and breast cancer.

This study is part of a recent wave of clinical research on psychedelic substances like LSD and psilocybin — the psychoactive component of “magic mushrooms.” Although they are illegal for the general public, researchers at some of our most reputable academic centers are securing government permission to study them as a powerful new drug therapy for a host of illnesses for which our current pharmacopeia does not always work, including post-traumatic stress disorder, cluster headaches and alcoholism.

It is worth revisiting how they were introduced to the general American populace and how they became classified as illegal “Schedule I” drugs, which are considered unusually risky and lacking in medical benefits. Why they were outlawed — and our long-held attitudes about them — have more to do with the culture wars of the 1960s and ’70s than their medical harmfulness.

– Read the entire article at The Baltimore Sun.