Docs Look Again to Turning On for Cures

Hallucinogens may help depression, cancer patients
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 12, 2010 3:38 AM CDT

Scientists and physicians are looking again at various hallucinogens for aiding people suffering from mental illness and other problems. After a '60s backlash against the drugs, researchers are delving into their possible benefits. One retired clinical psychologist attributes his 6-hour trip on psilocybin in a Johns Hopkins lab to curing his depression. He ranks it among the most meaningful events of his life, reports the New York Times. Researchers are gathering in San Jose, Calif., this week to discuss the drugs in the largest conference on psychedelics in the US in 40 years.

They'll discuss hallucinogens' use in treating cancer patients, obsessive compulsive disorders, addictions, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Research is taking off slowly because while scientists have permission to experiment with hallucinogens, very little research money is available. But researchers are already seeing benefits. The drugs have been used to help terminal cancer patients deal with death, for example. With hallucinogens, “individuals transcend their primary identification with their bodies and experience ego-free states before the time of their actual demise," said one psychiatrist. They "return with a profound acceptance of change." (More LSD stories.)

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