Psychedelic drugs chase blues away

Originally appeared at: Psychedelic drugs like LSD, which alter thought process and perception, can chase the blues away. The drugs can help patients alter their perception of problems or pain levels, according to Swiss researchers. Trials suggest that LSD or Lysergic Acid Diathylamide, banned worldwide since the 1960s and 1970s, helps patients of cancer and other terminal illnesses come to terms with their fate, the Daily Mail reports. “These are serious, debilitating, life-shortening illnesses, and as the currently available treatments have high failure rates, psychedelics might offer alternative treatment strategies that could improve the well-being of patients,” the report said. LSD and other illegal substances also appear to act on brain circuits and chemicals involved in depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder, according to Nature Neuroscience journal. In trials, some patients have experienced rapid improvements in their condition. “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 from the University of Zurich who led the study. But if doctors were to use them to treat psychiatric patients, it would be important to keep doses of the drugs low and given over a relatively short time period in combination with therapy sessions. “The idea is that it would be very limited, maybe several sessions over a few months, not a long-term thing like other types of medication,” Vollenweider said. LSD was discovered by accident by Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann while studying the medicinal properties of a crop fungus. “Instead of a wonder child, LSD soon became my problem child,” said Hofmann who died two years ago aged 102. Another short article disucussing the implications of the recent review in the Nature Neuroscience Journal suggesting that psychedelic drugs such as LSD, ketamine and psilocybin may be useful in the treatment of a variety of medical conditions such as depression and symptoms associated with cancer and terminal illnesses.