Cannabis has passed the tipping point toward widespreadsocial acceptance (and probable legalization). Even prominent judges in states where marijuana is illegal are coming out as users and advocates. And now, if pop culture and scientific inquiry are any indicators, it would seem that psychedelics are re-entering the national dialogue with a marked separation from their perceived hippie past—and that’s probably a good thing.
Today, scientists throughout the country are delving into the trippy world of psychedelics to finally provide some concrete data and potential uses for the long-illegal drugs. Most notable, perhaps, is the work of Charles Grob at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, which was recently profiled in the New York Times Magazine. Grob has been administering psilocybin, the active chemical in magic mushrooms, to terminal cancer patients, with the hope of alleviating their understandable end-of-life anxiety. And it’s been working.
Harvard’s John Halpern conducted recent research that indicates LSD is an effective treatment for debilitatingly painful cluster headaches, even at sub-psychedelic doses. He started a company, Entheogen Corp., around manufacturing and distributing a non-trippy LSD derivative known as BOL-148 to treat the disorder.
Even Oprah Winfrey’s mag wrote up a story last year detailing a doctor’s use of MDMA, Ecstasy’s main ingredient, as a treatment for PTSD in rape victims. Results from that study indicate that some 83 percent of subjects felt that the use of MDMA helped them overcome their traumas.
Now more than ever, America could use the cautionary wisdom (and mind-blowing special effects expertise) of an 11-year-old Radley Balko.
(Note to the ONDCP: This video is better than most of yours. Make me an offer.)