In 1967, psychedelics such as Magic Mushrooms and LSD became illegal. Classified as schedule 1 class A drugs - for being dangerous and of absolutely no medical use. However, medical researchers in the U.K. are lobbying to have this classification changed so that they can more easily use psychedelics for research and clinical trials. As it turns out, psychedelics may have an important medical use for treating mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, and even several symptoms of psychiatric disorders.
James Rucker, an honorary lecturer at King's College in London, is one of the many top researchers in the U.K. leading the charge for reclassification and more studies to be allowed with psychedelics. Prior to the 1967 prohibition, work with psychedelics was already underway but after they became illegal, few researchers are able to spend the time and money to be able to continue work with psychedelics.
"Hundreds of papers, involving tens of thousands of patients, presented evidence for their use as psychotherapeutic catalysts of mentally beneficial change in many psychiatric disorders, problems of personality development, recidivistic behavior, and existential anxiety," Rucker says.
The United States also faces the same restriction and hurdles when it comes to research involving psychedelics. Although studies have shown that there is no evidence of casualties at the height of LSD use in the 60's, and there is no evidence of psychedelics becoming habit-forming, there is still no legislation in the works to get them reclassified for medical research.
Psychedelics have been illegal in the U.S. since 1970 when President Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act.
Although there is interest in the U.S. to revive the research on psychedelics to treat people with mental disorders, according to The Atlantic, "The legislation classified LSD and mushrooms under Schedule 1, prohibiting not only their consumption and sale but also their use in medicine. Research into the therapeutic benefits of psychedelic drugs largely froze after decades of frenetic scientific investigation."
In the meantime, the U.K. is making small steps towards getting more research done into helping those suffering from mental illness with psychedelics.
Already, researchers have successfully conducted tests on patients using psilocybin, the ingredient in "shrooms" that causes psychedelic hallucinations, and found that none of their patients became addicted to the drug.
They hope to have a dozen more patients approved for a trial this year to treat for clinical depression.
"There is tentative evidence that psilocybin, along with other psychedelic drugs, can 'reset' abnormal functioning of the brain if given in a safe, controlled way as part of therapy," according to the researchers involved with the study at Imperial College's Neuropsychopharmacology Centre in London.
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