For the Dying, Psychedelic Drugs Ease That Final Trip
Doctors exploring psychedelics for trauma, addiction, depression
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2012 10:45 AM CDT
Researchers are taking a serious look at psychedelic drugs as a tool for helping people suffering from PTSD, depression, and other mental problems.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Psychedelic drugs, once the domain of the free-lovin' hippies of the '60s, are coming under the microscope of very serious scientists of the current decade. A number of studies show that psilocybin, MDMA, and other psychedelics can ease a range of traumas and afflictions including headaches, PTSD, addiction, and for the terminally ill, anxiety about dying, reports the New York Times. “This research is in its very early stages,” said a doctor who has given psilocybin (an active ingredient in magic mushrooms) to 22 cancer patients, “but we’re getting consistently good results.”

"We are sober scientists," said one researcher, wary of being associated with Timothy Leary types. “We are trying to stay under the radar. We want to be anti-Leary.” In one Johns Hopkins study of psilocybin, 94% of subjects called the study one of the five most meaningful experiences of their lives; 39% said it was the most meaningful. While researchers are not certain how these drugs work, they seem to deactivate regions of the brain that integrate the senses and the sense of self—areas that tend to be overactive in depressed people. It's "existential medicine," said one doctor, adding that, despite the growing research, how the drugs reduce anxiety "is a bit of a mystery." Read the entire feature here.

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Showing 3 of 31 comments
Apr 23, 2012 2:21 PM CDT
When you die, you release DMT- which is a psychedelic drug. Regardless on whether or not there is an afterlife, when you are under the influence of DMT, you are certain there is something, and you feel euphoric. It removes the fear from the final trip.
Apr 23, 2012 5:41 AM CDT
i always thought some acid on my death bed might be the way to go. but then i realized i would probably deny myself the final, ultimate trip that is the DMT flush
Apr 22, 2012 11:50 PM CDT
It's about time the DEA gave up and let some science be done on these drugs.