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The Rebirth of Psychedelic Medicine

Updated: Jul 13, 2023

January 9, 2023

Source: Stanford

Summary: Often considered dangerous, mind-altering drugs, researchers are turning to the study of psychedelic therapies as a potential to treat an array of psychiatric conditions including depression and PTSD.

It’s an exciting time for a reborn field. Early clinical trials suggest MDMA may help patients with PTSD confront their traumatic memories. In other early studies, ketamine has reduced suicidal thoughts and other symptoms in patients with clinical depression.

Psilocybin too may be able to help people with intractable depression, decreasing symptoms in some patients for a year or more, though the data here are still limited. And many other studies and trials are ongoing in the field.

This recent pivot toward psychedelic drugs has been described by some as a “psychedelic revolution” in psychiatry, if not a “miracle cure” for mental health disorders in general. But many of the basic mechanisms of these drugs remain poorly understood, in a field of medicine that has barely begun to recover from decades of government-enforced stigmatization.

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