The war on drugs in the 1970’s created mass hysteria over the use of drugs. Any and all, ranging from marijuana to heroin, were fiercely fought against. What scientists are learning today though (and what free spirits may have known all along) is that some of these drugs serve medical purposes. For example, MDMA in ecstasy could be used to help those with PTSD. Perhaps one of the well known drugs that has multiple medical uses is marijuana. From depression to cancer relief, this plant has a lot to offer for those who are suffering. The next question to ask though is if hallucinogens could be the next drug to appear on this list.
What the Studies Say
Two small studies have been conducted using hallucinogens to treat depression and anxiety that were being experienced by cancer patients. One was done by Johns Hopkins, the other by New York University Langone Medical Center. The results these researchers received were astounding.
Patients were given a dose of psilocybin (a compound found in hallucinogenic mushrooms) in a closed room with two trained monitors. They were then allowed to trip for several hours. This single dose created monuments changes for these individuals.
They received relief from depression and anxiety for up to six months, some for longer. Some patients had their depression or anxiety go into remission. The rise in optimism and quality of life was also apparent for those that participated in the studies.
Hallucinogens and Mental Health
Those who have taken medication for their depression or anxiety know how hit or miss medication can be. It can take several months for the affects to even become apparent, and even longer to find a mix of pills that could potentially help their symptoms. These new studies reveal that after a single four to eight hour ‘trip’, patients were able to experience relief for at least six months.
Cancer patients are extremely liable to feel these kinds of negative emotions because of the diagnosis they have received. They can feel helpless and hopeless at the prospects of the treatments and surgeries that may lie ahead. What makes the results of these studies so amazing is that their improvements matched those of health volunteers.
Perhaps the best part of these studies is that the side effects of using hallucinogens to treat these mental illnesses was minimal. This is compared with the typical laundry list of side effects that can come along with using prescription medications.
While the studies were small, the results were promising. Hallucinogens may not be used to treat mental illnesses anytime soon but it lays the ground work to begin more research into their perspective uses.
As more research pours in as to the uses of marijuana and now hallucinogens, maybe hippies had it right all along!