I have a friend whose cousin is dying of untreatable cancer. At this point, he would consider any treatments and one thing he is exploring is psychedelic healing. I know that sounds like 1960s hippie quackery, but I found out that there is quite a bit of scientific research into it now.

New Jersey was the 14th state to approve medical marijuana which is a much milder drug that has faced the same prejudices. One of the articles I found is  from Scientific American. It is a  primer on much of the research into the use of psychedelics for medical purposes. The drugs that put the “psychedelic” into the sixties are now the subject of renewed research interest because of their therapeutic potential and are in clinical trials.

Psychedelics such as LSD and the compound in magic mushrooms might ease a variety of difficult-to-treat mental illnesses, such as chronic depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and drug or alcohol dependency. (Scientific American Mind – December 2007)

MAPS is funding clinical trials of MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine) as a therapeutic tool to assist psychotherapy for the treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other illnesses.

Their preliminary studies have shown that MDMA in conjunction with psychotherapy can help people overcome PTSD. You might know MDMA as the popular drug Ecstasy (although “Ecstasy” does not always contain pure MDMA). In laboratory studies, MDMA has been proven sufficiently safe for human consumption when taken a limited number of times in moderate doses.

Some of these substances, like ayahuasca, have been used in trials in Peru to actually treat substance abuse.

Further Reading