FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, February 25, 2005

Turn On, Tune In, Get Healthy

Most people don't consider possible medical benefits of LSD, peyote, MDMA (aka "ecstasy") and other hallucinogenic drugs. However, before advocating the recreational benefits of psychedelics, Dr. Timothy Leary first experimented with them as a way to treat alcoholism. Now, a new generation of scientists is studying how psychedelic drugs could be used to treat everything from substance abuse to severe migraine headaches.

Research into the health benefits of psychedelics, of course, largely dried up when the substances were criminalized in the late 1960s. Since then, research groups advocating study of the health benefits of psychoactive drugs have been petitioning governments around the world for changes to the law.

A study of peyote use among residents of a Navajo reservation (who are permitted by US law to use the drug for religious purposes) found that peyote is safer than previously believed. It also showed promise in preventing recovering alcoholics on the reservation from relapsing. Similar studies have been conducted in Russia, where access to some psychedelic drugs was legal until recently.

Source: New Scientist