Experts call for study of possible therapeutic uses of psychedelic drugs (Dr. Evan Wood)

A group of medical researchers is calling for further study into how those with mental illnesses and addictions could benefit from psychedelic drugs such as acid and MDMA, which they say could one day be combined with psychotherapy and counselling to replace daily doses of widely abused pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Evan Wood, co-director of the Urban Health Research Initiative at the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, and three other researchers published a report Tuesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, reviewing the existing mental-health studies into the therapeutic benefits of drugs such as LSD (commonly known as acid), psilocybin (magic mushrooms), ayahuasca (derived from an Amazonian plant and served in a thick tea), mescaline (found in the peyote cactus) and MDMA (the psychoactive ingredient of the street drug ecstasy).

The group says the mind-altering drugs, several of which have been long been used in indigenous ceremonies across the Americas, warrant more research in larger, controlled clinical trials after having shown promise in smaller pilot studies into treating addiction and mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mike Hager reports.

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