If we think of LSD or magic mushrooms, the first thing to come to our minds isn’t probably science. These psychedelic drugs are more than often related to the 60s’ counterculture or hippies, but never to clinical trials or laboratory experiments. Such notions might soon change as doctors are considering the implementation of these drugs- DMT and mescaline included- in mind-healing processes.
Leading anti-depressants might soon be defeated in attainment of the top position when it comes to dealing with depression, as UK researchers are now trying. A trial, lasting for at least 2 years, is now about to start where researchers of the Imperial College in London will try and compare the effects of psilocybin, a component of the magic mushroom, with escitalopram, a leading SSRI. Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, the lead in the study, says that the potential of these drugs is revolutionary. Attempts to pursue the same had been made 50 years ago but the experiments had to be stopped due to controversies. Celebrities using the drugs for recreational purposes during the 50s and 60s degraded their potential and their medicinal uses were overlooked.
The unbounded potential of these drugs and the fear associated with it paved the way for it becoming illegal in the US in 1968 although Timothy Leary, former Harvard psychologist, fought keeping in kind their beneficial purposes. In 1971 an UN convention ended all scientific research effectively. Magic mushroom is similar to LSD but isn’t as much controversial. It went through a scientific renaissance in the mid-2000s.Psilocybin decreased the rate of depression in patients suffering from cancer, reports found. Dr Carhart-Harris in 2009 became the first scientist from UK to do research on psychedelics. The amygdala and default-mode network are two brain-regions affected by psilocybin but the reason behind its effects are not understood fully. Psychedelics have risks though. Dr James Rucker says it’ll probably take at least 5 years for psilocybin to be put to its complete use. Dr. Carhart-Harris has acknowledged that even if they’re made effective, it won’t be accessible to everyone.