Psychedelic Drug Tests Resume After Decades

LSD, 'shrooms studied for ill, depressed
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 12, 2008 10:28 AM CDT
Researchers hope clinical trials of psychedelic drugs may inform treatments for various illnesses.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – For the first time since the 1970s, scientists in several countries are studying the effects of psychedelic drugs like LSD in clinical trials, the Guardian reports. Researchers believe the long-stigmatized drugs may improve patients’ quality of life, helping them cope with the ravages of illness, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and even cluster headaches. “I think there's a perception these compounds hold untapped potential to help us understand the human mind,” says one researcher.

One LSD trial in Switzerland uses "psychedelic psychotherapy" to help patients with terminal illnesses "come to terms with their imminent mortality." Another, in California, gave psilocybin—the active ingredient in magic mushrooms—to late-stage cancer patients. And researchers are experimenting with MDMA—ecstasy—to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.