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Should Hallucinogens Be Tested On The Mentally Ill?

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Back in the late 1950's and early 1960's psychedelic drugs such as LSD and psilocybin were used to treat patients with addictions and severe anxiety, but soon was banned by the US government because of its abuse by the hippies in the 1960's. Many psychiatrists felt like LSD was a 'wonder drug' that ofter worked very well with the patients. Today after almost forty years of not being able to experiment with the drugs the government is starting to allow small studies to be held without government funding. These studies are very small in the amount of people are mainly focused on helping the terminally ill coup with their sickness, an help them come to terms with their impending death; the studies have shown that the patients have reduced anxiety, improvement in their mood, and more acceptance to their death.

The studies are being conducted at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, and is headed by professor Charles Grob, though the study is with a small group of just eight volunteers Grob is confident that all the patients in the study will see improvement. In the study the patient will lie down on a bed in a room that is decorated in a way to calm the patient, they are then given an eye mask to counter distractions in the room. The patient is then administered the psilocybin and given earphones to listen gentle music as they descend on their journey, Grob says that there is no interference with the patient unless the patient requests something. Grob says, “We are going to let the patients guide their own experience by reacting only to their needs, We are there to hold their hands and talk if they feel the need, but we will not overtly attempt to take it in any spiritual or religious direction. It is up to them.” Other studies are also under way on how psilocybin can help treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and how MDMA (ecstasy) can help people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

After reading the articles on how Hallucinogenic drugs are being tested on the mentally ill I have not seen a reason why it shouldn't be allowed to be tested to see if there are any medical benefits. All of the patients in the studies are volunteers and are counseled for a long period of time before they are eligible to receive the psilocybin. I feel like we should do everything we can to help an terminally ill person spend that last days of their lives happy, and if hallucinogens help them with that then I feel like they should be allowed to do it. It is interesting to see that



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