By: Professor David J. Nutt, MD, and Bret S. Stetka, MD
Medscape hosts a slideshow presentation about the resurgence of research into the potential medical benefits of psychedelic substances. Written by Professor David J. Nutt, MD, and Bret S. Stetka, MD, this educational resource touches upon the history of psychedelics, details about the medical potential of MDMA, LSD, psilocybin, and ibogaine.
Psychedelic compounds have been used medicinally for millennia. Ancient Chinese, African, and South American healers prescribed them for various primarily psychiatric ailments, as did early Ayurvedic practitioners in India and possibly far older prehistoric cultures. One recent study cites the possible influence of psychedelics on 40,000-year-old Paleolithic cave art. Despite extensive early 20th century interest in hallucinogens as therapy, modern medicine mostly abandoned research into their therapeutic potential, as governments worldwide criminalized agents such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline in reaction to their counterculture use in the 1960s. But scattered clinical curiosity over the years and a recent renewed interest in psychedelic treatments have hallucinogens again emerging as possible psychiatric therapies, or at least as pharmacologic leads on related and potentially helpful compounds.