Mention psychedelics to almost anyone and inevitably you get the usual associations to spaced-out hippies and back-alley junkies. There's little question that the current impression of psychedelics is a very negative one, and for those who choose to use them, it can often carry a fairly heavy social stigma. But as Sarah Seltzer noted in a recent AlterNet article, scientists are increasingly considering various medical and psychiatric uses for these drugs. The taboo could be ending.
Top image: The City of Lost Children.
Hallucinogens like LSD and psilocybin were added to the 1970 Controlled Substance Act as Schedule I substances, which defines them as having no medicinal value and makes getting federal funding (or the actual drugs necessary) for research nearly impossible. That is why, even now, many studies of pot and hallucinogens are conducted in other countries. Scientists wanted to conduct the research, but they couldn't, and for the most part, it's still very difficult.
It's taken decades for American scientists, doctors and patients to have the chance to take a closer look at the uses of psychedelic drugs, not just recreational but medical, personal and therapeutic. Even now, doctors who do this work are eager to distance themselves from Timothy Leary and his ilk.
And yet the shift has happened. The profession is back to exploring the various positive effects of these drugs, and their work is being covered by the mainstream media. Here are some examples of ways psychedelics are being explored in medicine today.
Top image via Shutterstock.