Psychedelics show promise as anti-depressants

After a pause of nearly 40 years in research into the therapeutic effects of psychedelic drugs, recent studies are showing promising results.

Psychedelics like LSD, ketamine or magic mushrooms could be combined with psychotherapy to treat people suffering from psychiatric disorders such as depression or compulsive disorders, Swiss scientists suggested.

The researchers said recent brain imaging studies show that psychedelics such as LSD, ketamine and psilocybin act on the brain in ways that could help reduce symptoms of various psychiatric disorders. It is important to keep the doses of the drugs low and ensure they are given over a short period of time, in combination with therapy sessions.

This way, the drugs can be used as a kind of catalyst, helping patients to alter their perception of problems or pain levels and then work with behavioral therapists or psychotherapists to work on these issues from a different angle.

"Psychedelics can give patients a new perspective -- particularly when things like suppressed memories come up -- and then they can work with that experience," said Franz Vollenweider of the Neuropsychopharmacology and brain imaging unit at Zurich's University Hospital of Psychiatry, who published the paper titled ‘The neurobiology of psychedelic drugs: implications for the treatment of mood disorders’ in Nature Neuroscience journal.

Scientific American, CNN, and World Science have all recently published articles on the healing properties of psychedelics.