Psychedelic drugs should be legally reclassified

Psychedelic drugs should be legally reclassified so that researchers can investigate their therapeutic potential Trials of physiologically safe and non-addictive drugs such as LSD are almost impossible, writes James J H Rucker, calling on the authorities to downgrade their unnecessarily restrictive class A, schedule 1 classification James J H Rucker specialist registrar in adult psychiatry …

Read morePsychedelic drugs should be legally reclassified

Dr Robin Carhart-Harris is the first scientist in over 40 years to test LSD on humans

Robin Carhart-Harris is the first person in the UK to have legally administered doses of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) to human volunteers since the Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971, and his presentation climaxes with a slide showing something no one else has seen before: an as-yet unpublished cross-sectional image of the brain of a volunteer who was in an fMRI scanner while tripping on acid. Blobs of colour indicate changes in blood flow, from which can be inferred changes in levels of activity in specific brain regions – notably, in this case, the hippo-campus, which is involved, among other things, in making memories and giving them context.

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“I personally think it has a great deal of potential for treating addiction,” says Carhart-Harris. “It’s slightly hypothetical, but it’s based on what we know about the way the brain works, which is that it settles into configurations of activity that seem to underly certain psychopathologies.”Depression and addictions rest on reinforced patterns of brain activity, and a psychedelic will introduce a relative chaos. Patterns that have become reinforced disintegrate under the drug. I’ve used the metaphor of shaking a snowglobe. And there’s some evidence that psychedelics induce plasticity, in terms of neural connections in the brain, such that there is a window of opportunity in which connections can either be broken or reinforced. New things can be learnt at the same time that old things can be unlearnt. It induces a kind of suppleness of mind.”

Dr Carhart-Harris says: 'Criminalising these substances doesn't help anyone. Historically they've benefited mankind'

Dr Robin Carhart-Harris is the first scientist in over 40 years to test LSD on humans – and you’re next – People – News – The Independent.

Psychedelic drugs should be legally reclassified so that researchers can investigate their therapeutic potential

Trials of physiologically safe and non-addictive drugs such as LSD are almost impossible, writes James J H Rucker, calling on the authorities to downgrade their unnecessarily restrictive class A, schedule 1 classification

Psychedelic drugs, especially lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and psilocybin, which is found in the Psilocybe genus of “magic” mushrooms that grow throughout the United Kingdom, were extensively used and researched in clinical psychiatry before their prohibition in 1967. 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 behaviour, and existential anxiety.1

This research abruptly ended after 1967, when psychedelics were legally classified as schedule 1 drugs under the UK Misuse of Drugs Regulations and as class A drugs under the UK Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Schedule 1 in the UK broadly mirrors schedule I of the 1971 United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances, adoption of which is a requirement of UN membership.2 This classification denoted psychedelic drugs as having no accepted medical use and the greatest potential for harm, despite the existence of research evidence to the contrary.

Indeed, in 1992 John Ehrlichman, …

Psychedelic drugs should be legally reclassified so that researchers can investigate their therapeutic potential | The BMJ.

  1. James J H Rucker, specialist registrar in adult psychiatry and honorary clinical lecturer, MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College, London, SE5 8AF
  1. james.rucker{at}kcl.ac.uk

Do LSD and Magic Mushrooms Have a Place In Medicine?

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Experts say it’s hard to do research on the drugs under their current status

LSD and magic mushrooms are illegal for recreational use, but some medical experts see major benefits from the drugs. In a commentary published in the journal The BMJ on Tuesday, a London-based psychiatrist argues in favor of legally reclassifying the drugs so that they can more easily be used in medical research.

In his paper, James Rucker, a psychiatrist and honorary lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London, argues that psychedelic drugs like LSD are less harmful and addictive than other controlled drugs like cocaine or heroin. But strict restrictions on the drugs make it difficult to conduct medical trials, he says…..

More research is needed to determine the safety and medical potential of psychedelic drugs —but in the UK, only four hospitals hold the expensive license necessary to conduct research on schedule 1 drugs, Rucker says.

Do LSD and Magic Mushrooms Have a Place In Medicine? | TIME.