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Psychedelics in medicine: ban can not be resolved
Psychedelics in medicine: ban can not be resolved
For the first time in the last 40 years, Western scientists have begun to obtain permission to study possibilities of LSD use in the medical field. But since this substance is one of the most strictly controlled, it is not such a simple task.
When, in 1973, the American scientist David Nichols received a Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry at the University of Iowa, he thought that he would continue to study the hallucinogens until my last breath. “I thought that I would do this job until the end of his life,” he said in an interview with the magazine Popular Science.
However, the time had to keep pace. In 1970, President Richard Nixon signed the Law on the Control of Substances, which included severe restrictions on the production and distribution of drugs in the United States. In accordance with this law, such hallucinogenic substances such as LSD, DMT, psilocybin (psychedelic alkaloid of mushrooms) and mescaline have been classified in the first category. These substances are subject to the most stringent restrictions, and their use in medicine was unacceptable. This category of substances was also included marijuana, and after 15 years it has been joined Ecstasy and MDMA. On the other hand, cocaine, opium and morphine at the time belonged to the second category, which means that they can be purchased by prescription.
The reasons for such harsh measures of the authorities seem to be quite explicable, if you scroll to the memory of the decades when psychedelic drugs were widely available. For example, according to recently declassified documents, in the fifties, the CIA evacuated from Nazi Germany, a few scholars who have achieved great success in the study of the brain using psychotropic drugs. All this became the basis for a project called MK-ULTRA, in which the CIA with LSD and similar substances wanted to develop a mechanism of control over the mind of man. When a few years, the news of this project and inhumane experiments conducted by scientists flew to the White House, a major scandal broke out, and the government began to think about the ban on the use of such substances.
Another alarm bell sounded in the sixties, when the beatniks and the subsequent support for the psychedelic hippie revolution that began with the legendary scientist Timothy Leary. Watching this all-pervasive and ongoing trippy, the authorities realized that hallucinogens certainly need to put under the most rigid control.
Despite the fact that scientists have achieved promising results in experiments on psychedelic drugs in the treatment of alcoholism, psychiatric disorders and neurological diseases in the modeling system to the early seventies government tightened control substances of the first category, even for research purposes. And that’s only recently that the U.S. government began to realize that this drug can be turned into a very effective medicine.
Since the early nineties, the situation began to change in the last decade, scientists are increasingly getting permission to conduct clinical experiments on humans using psychedelic drugs. With this achieved impressive results, which confirm that the substances like MDMA can effectively treat depression and post-traumatic stress disorder and classic psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin, help fight neurological disorders at a critical stage and treat alcohol dependence. However, in the way of such experiments is still a lot of obstacles.
David Nichols recalls that when he did his thesis on a topic related to psychedelic substances, he quickly realized, ‘If you want to destroy your career in science will investigate psychedelics. ” To some extent, these words are relevant today, as the scientists working in this area, it is very difficult to obtain financing. As an outstanding professor, Nichols for 30 years, had the opportunity to receive grants and study how these drugs affect the body and mind. However, it was required that the conclusions of studies have focused on the evidence of harm of drugs, rather than on the study of their medicinal properties.
Психоделики в медицине
Nevertheless, in the early nineties, the situation was reverse, when the Office for Drug reduced its oversight, which allowed the study to begin with the participation of not only animals but also humans. After years of lobbying at the level of the U.S. government psychiatrist Rick Strassman was able to start a study of the effects of psychedelic DMT on the human body.
A few years later, Professor Charles Grob of the Heffter Research Institute received permission to conduct a little experiment with the use of psilocybin. After a six-month course of treatment with psychedelic volunteers reported a significant reduction in irritability, and some patients who are prone to suicide, were spared from this mania.
Despite the obvious achievements in these studies, the process of implementation of psychedelics in medicine goes far from smooth, and there are a couple of reasons. First, regulators are forcing scientists to get a lot of licenses and permits, which takes a lot of time. According to the Office of Narcotics, to grant such permission is required on average nine months, although scientists are looking at is more skeptical.
The second reason is even more banal. Psychedelic drugs are not high-tech, so they are of no interest to pharmaceutical companies who simply do not wish to participate. Since psychedelic substances can not be patented, that is not one of them is unique in its composition, neither of which competition between producers there can be no question. In other words, there are no opportunities for earning pharmaceutical companies here just do not see it.
Organizations such as the Institute of Heffter, funded by private investors and do not have money for expensive large-scale experiments involving people who could give the most accurate results. Nichols hopes that in the next decade, the government still wants to invest more in larger studies of psychedelics, if you are implementing small projects show serious and important scientific results.
“There is a movement to ensure that the benefit to all those useful that offer psychedelic drugs,” he says.
In other countries, similar studies have also tested and also face legal obstacles palpable. For example, in the UK and Switzerland, attempts to carry out experiments with psychedelics, but so far no progress on too early. In early April, the British scientists have begun testing psilocybin as a means of dealing with depression, however, the government demanded that the drug used in the experiment up to the standard of good manufacturing practices. As a result, the project was put on hold because scientists have failed to find a company that could produce psilocybin in line with this standard.
Despite the obstacles, some researchers the opportunity to heal some of the most dreaded diseases of mankind (alcoholism, depression and nervous disorders) makes the administrative burden associated with the legalization of the use of psychedelic drugs, quite justified and worth the effort. This week in Oakland (California, USA) will host a three-day conference “Psychedelic Science 2013”, organized by the Research Institute Heffler. As part of this conference, about 1,600 scientists from around the world share their experience gained as a result of their research.
According to scientists, the problems that have plagued the psychedelic science will eventually be resolved, because the arena came a new generation of Concerned Scientists. There are many researchers and therapists who work in the sixties and seventies. Today, however, the science is coming more and more students and scholars who are not afraid to explore the medicinal properties of narcotic drugs and are willing to explore their effects in search of a cure serious diseases, including epidemics.
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