A treatment for anxiety may come from something as unexpected as the drug LSD. A new report recently published suggests that psychedelic drugs like LSD can be a possible treatment for anxiety, addiction, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Drs. Evan Wood, Kenneth Tupper, and Matthew Johnson took a fresh look at some studies previously conducted in the United States, Canada, and Europe on the possibility of using psychedelic drugs for the treatment of anxiety and other mental disorders. Their report was published in the September 8 edition of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocybin, found in “magic mushrooms,” dimethyltryptamine (DMT), mescaline, and methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or ecstasy) are substances known to have a substantial ability to alter the mind’s perception of reality.
Altough these drugs were not specifically studied before as a treatment for anxiety, the Global News Wire reports that initial research of psychedelic drugs as medical treatments goes as far back as the 1950’s and 1960’s. However, many of these studies were thrown out by the medical community due to poor safety and ethical standards. Now, researchers are taking another look using “rigorous scientific, ethical and safety standards expected of contemporary medical research,” reads the report.
In an article from CBS News, the authors of the report took a look at a 2014 study using LSD as a treatment for anxiety that exhibited some promising results.
The study showed that LSD had a notable reduction of anxiety in terminally ill patients within two months after two LSD-enhanced psychotherapy sessions. Although an unusual treatment for anxiety, the patients still experienced the benefits even after one year and with no long-lasting side effects.
Another study used in the report is one from 2008 which revealed that psilocybin can also be used as a treatment for anxiety. Patients treated with psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy showed reduced anxiety and better mood. No patients experienced any significant side effects of the treatment.
Although the findings can be good news for people searching for a possible treatment for anxiety, Johnson says the drugs should be used with caution.
“People should not go out on their own to treat themselves with these drugs. These drugs need to be researched according to a strict regulatory process, the same as you would develop any drug.”
Although not involved in the report, Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, president of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, is optimistic about new research into using psychedelic drugs for the treatment of anxiety.
“To my mind, if working with these agents can lead to new approaches to treat serious conditions, that is all to the good. While we currently have some effective methods of treatment for a number of these conditions, we are always looking for improvement.”
When speaking about the potential benefits of using these drugs as possible treatments for people suffering from mental anxiety or other disorders, Dr. Johnson expressed his confidence by saying, “the biological and psychological evidence seems to show that these drugs can have a unique effect on altering the patient’s subjective experience in a very powerful and meaningful way.”
He went on to say that the drugs “can help people who are in a very difficult place psychologically break out and get unstuck.”
Drugs may not be the only way to avoid stress and anxiety. According to a previous article fromt the Inquisitr, another possible treatment for anxiety may be hypnotherapy.
Will psychedelic drugs like LSD and “magic mushrooms” become an actual treatment for anxiety? The authors of the report say not yet.
It is still too early to tell if LSD or other psychedelic drugs can be used as an effective treatment for anxiety. The authors say the studies used in their report were preliminary and additional research is needed.
However, if current research holds up, doctors may soon be prescribing a once despised 1960’s mood enhancing drug as an effective treatment for anxiety.
[Photo Illustration by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]