Declassifying Psychedelic Drugs to Examine Their Treatment Potential

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Until psychedelics were classfied as having no clinical importance in 1967, researchers examined the potential benefits of them for several psychiatric disorders.
Until psychedelics were classfied as having no clinical importance in 1967, researchers examined the potential benefits of them for several psychiatric disorders.
 

“The action of psychedelics is changed by many antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs and some medications that are available over the counter, so a full medical assessment prior to their use is essential,” he said.

In order to avoid the danger of addiction, psychedelics should be given at most on a weekly basis. Indeed, for many patients, very few treatments should be required. “The patient may need only one or two sessions to experience lasting benefits, so the course should always be tailored to the individual,” Rucker advised.

If there are any adverse effects during the psychedelic experience, a pharmacological antagonist or antidote to the drug can be administered to immediately terminate the experience. “This underlines the importance of medical supervision being available at all times,” Rucker noted.

Psychedelics are heavily influenced by the environment surrounding the drug experience. Rucker is proposing they be administered under a controlled setting and with a trusted therapist's supervision. Together with a reclassification of the drug, medical research could generate a better understanding and application of the benefits of psychedelics to mental health.

Nicola Davies, PhD, is a psychologist and freelance writer who lives in Bedfordshire, UK. She has a love of learning and a passion for making scientific knowledge accessible to everyone.

References

  1. Rucker JJH. Psychedelic drugs should be legally reclassified so that researchers can investigate their therapeutic potential. BMJ. 2015; 350:h2902.
  2. Volkow N. From the Director: Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Page last updated February 2015. Accessed June 17, 2015. http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/hallucinogens-dissociative-drugs/director.
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