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Surprising Science

Once-Taboo Drugs Being Studied by Doctors

Hallucinogens are increasingly being studied for legitimate therapeutic uses, such as dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, chronic pain, depression even terminal illness.

What’s the Latest Development?

The first time Janeen Delany tried a hallucinogenic drug was at the age of 59 during a clinical trial to “test whether psilocybin—the active ingredient in ‘magic mushrooms’—could help with depression or anxiety following a grim diagnosis.” A host of drugs, once taboo in the medical industry, are slowly being tested as possible solutions to post traumatic stress disorder, addiction, chronic pain, depression and even terminal illness. Psilocybin has shown to be very effective at overcoming addiction to nicotine.

What’s the Big Idea?

The taboo against many drugs in the medical industry originates in the 1960s when a spirit of rebellion and anti-system behavior was associated with taking recreational drugs. The thaw is starting slowly but surely. A 2008 paper published in a medical journal was the first to document the effects of hallucinogenic drugs since 1972. Today, ketamine is being investigated for its power to combat serious depression, ecstasy for alleviating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and LSD for chronic headaches. 

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