Friday, March 6, 2015

LSD ban worst censorship in history of science, says former top UK drug advisor

Psychedelic drugs like LSD could be used to treat depression, study suggests | Science | The Guardian - Hannah Devlin:

March 5, 2015 - "Psychedelic drugs could prove to be highly effective treatments for depression and alcoholism, according to scientists who have obtained the first brain scans of people under the influence of LSD.

"Early results from the trial, involving 20 people, are said to be 'very promising' and add to existing evidence that psychoactive drugs could help reverse entrenched patterns of addictive or negative thinking.

"However, Prof David Nutt, who led the study, warned that patients are missing out on the potential benefits of such treatments due to prohibitive regulations on research into recreational drugs.

"Speaking at a briefing in London, the government’s former chief drugs adviser, said the restrictions amounted to 'the worst censorship in the history of science'.

"After failing to secure conventional funding to complete the analysis of the latest study on LSD, Nutt and colleagues at Imperial College London, are now attempting to raise £25,000 through the crowd-funding site

"There has been a resurgence of medical interest in LSD and psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, after several recent trials produced encouraging results for conditions ranging from depression in cancer patients to post-traumatic stress disorder.

"A US study in 2014 showed that LSD helped patients with life-threatening illnesses overcome anxiety about death, in 2012 MDMA (the active ingredient in ecstasy) in combination with psychotherapy was shown to be effective at treating post-traumatic stress disorder and a 2006 study from scientists in Arizona found that psilocybin relieved symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

"But government and funders in the UK remain unwilling to engage with the potential clinical benefits of psychoactive drugs, Nutt claimed.

"He equated the barriers to research to the Catholic church’s censorship of Galileo’s work in 1616. 'We’ve banned research on psychedelic drugs and other drugs like cannabis for 50 years,' he said. 'Truly, in terms of the amount of wasted opportunity, it’s way greater than the banning of the telescope. This is a truly appalling level of censorship.'"

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