MDMA, LSD, psilocybin should be legalized for use in therapeutic settings

LSD and psilocybin: illegal since 1968. MDMA: illegal since 1985. For decades, these drugs have remained on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of Schedule I drugs due to their high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.

Since their scheduling, research has provided evidence that these drugs have medical potential when used in a therapeutic setting. The DEA should reconsider the Schedule I placement of these drugs to allow for patients to enhance therapeutic potential.

LSD is administered in a range of doses during therapy, starting as low as 25 micrograms. Each dose serves a different therapeutic purpose.

“LSD is used to make the patient more receptive to therapy,” said psychologist Dr. Melissa Sporn in a phone interview with The Guilfordian. “It is used to get through blocks that may be put up when opening up to therapeutic suggestions.”

LSD has aided in the treatment of addictions, anxiety, depression, phobias and compulsive syndromes. It is also effective in reducing the discomfort of terminal cancer patients.

Akin to LSD, psilocybin also maintains the ability to treat depression and aid in the anxieties of terminal cancer patients.

In a recent study by the National Academy of Sciences, scientists found that as more psilocybin shuts off the brain, the feeling of experiencing an altered state heightens.

“Some people say they become one with the universe,” said David Nutt, co-author of the study and researcher at Imperial College London in United Kingdom in a CNN News article. “It’s that sort of transcendental experience.”

Researchers have also found MDMA (widely known as “ecstasy”) to be useful in treating PTSD and relieving terminal cancer patients. The patient may experience increased empathy and acceptance, which can help them open up to therapy.

While psychedelics have side effects such as acute anxiety, depression and paranoia, it is important to note that every drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration has side effects, many exceedingly severe.

The fact that these drugs are commonly abused and potentially addictive allows for the DEA to justify their scheduling. Fortunately, if placed in the hands of psychiatrists, the patient would have no ability to abuse these drugs. Their potential for abuse is immediately eliminated through administration in a controlled setting.

“Certain drugs allow people to access points in feelings and thought that are otherwise bound,” said sophomore Ambra Parker. “If under therapeutic surveillance, these drugs wouldn’t be used as a free ticket to trip or roll.”

If legalized for medical purposes, these drugs would strictly be in the hands of trained professionals who would typically administer small doses. Therapists aren’t encouraging patients to have crazy trips, but rather to open up to therapy.

Considering these facts, the DEA has a weak argument.

Medical marijuana’s legalization in many states could be a foot in the door for other Schedule I drugs to be accepted for medical use. However, if the day finally comes that these drugs are legalized for medical use, their distribution wouldn’t be as widespread as medical marijuana.

“One cannot write a prescription and send the patient off to pick up a sugar tab of lysergic acid diethylamide,” said psychiatrist Dr. Henry Holcomb in an email interview with The Guilfordian. “Rather, the patient and clinician must work closely together in a time-intensive, psychologically intimate manner.”

The legalization of psychedelics for therapeutic purposes would aid those suffering from serious ailments. The benefit of successful therapy outweighs the possible detriment of these drugs.