JUL 29, 2016 8:34 AM PDT

Psychedelics: The New Treatment for Addiction Therapy?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Psychedelic drugs like LSD and magic mushrooms are often associated with recreational use or abuse. But recent studies suggest perhaps the drugs can be used to counter the debilitating effects of addiction, anxiety, and depression. Perhaps it's time more scientists revisit the medical value in these once ill-reputed drugs.

LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide, or acid) is a compound that induces altered perceptions and awareness. Likewise, psilocybin is a compound in some mushrooms that can induce euphoria and heightened sensory perceptions. While the psychedelic effects of these drugs are well-known, studies suggest the same effects may lead to curbed symptoms for patients with mental disorders. For example, some studies have shown that psilocybin can reduce addiction to smoking and even alcohol. Other studies show the psychedelic drugs reduce anxiety, particularly in cancer patients.

Some researchers believe the drugs activate new or otherwise hidden connections in the brain, which facilitate the patients to overcome their psychological and emotional challenges. Indeed, the brain on LSD is many times more activated than a brain without LSD. But it's certain that more work needs to be done to fully understand and reap the medical value of these drugs.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
DEC 10, 2020
Plants & Animals
The Surprising Way Honeybees Protect Hives from Hornets
DEC 10, 2020
The Surprising Way Honeybees Protect Hives from Hornets
"Murder hornets," more commonly known as giant hornets, might be new to North America, but in their native ran ...
JAN 13, 2021
Plants & Animals
Dwarf Giraffes Observed for the First Time Ever
JAN 13, 2021
Dwarf Giraffes Observed for the First Time Ever
The name “dwarf giraffe” certainly seems like an oxymoron, which is why scientists were shocked to observe t ...
MAR 05, 2021
Plants & Animals
Scientists Heal Diseased Corals
MAR 05, 2021
Scientists Heal Diseased Corals
The world's coral reefs face numerous threats, including climate change, pollution, and habitat loss. Since 2014, an ...
MAY 13, 2021
Plants & Animals
Brood X Cicadas Are Here - Help Scientists Track Them
MAY 13, 2021
Brood X Cicadas Are Here - Help Scientists Track Them
Download this smartphone app to help document one of North America's natural wonders.
JUN 17, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Chinese Astronauts Will Live on New Space Station for 3 Months
JUN 17, 2021
Chinese Astronauts Will Live on New Space Station for 3 Months
Astronauts aboard China’s first manned spacecraft in almost five years have reached the new Tiangong space station ...
JUL 03, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Size of Planet Iron Core Depends on Star Magnetism
JUL 03, 2021
Size of Planet Iron Core Depends on Star Magnetism
Researchers led by the University of Maryland have found that the sun's magnetic field is the reason behind the larg ...
Loading Comments...