Plants - Drugs Mind - Spirit Freedom - Law Arts - Culture Library  
Erowid References Database
“Arguments Heard for Psychedelics Probe”. 
Science. 1980;209(11):256-7.
A Harvard psychiatrist is conducting what appears to be a one-man crusade to stimulate renewed scientific interest in psychedelic drugs. Lester Grinspoon, author with James Baicalar of the recent book Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered, believes that such research with humans "did not die a natural death because of loss of interest,"but became taboo because of the bad reputation won through abuse of the drugs in the 1960's. The history of clinical research with psychedelics goes back to the 1930's, when Heinrich Kluver, psychobiologist at the University of Chicago, tried psychedelics as a complement to therapy in various psychiatric disorders. Much clinical research went on in the 1950's and early 1 960's, when the drugs were tried on drug and alcohol addicts, prisoners, and dying cancer patients. But research dwindled as the drugs became widely abused, and in 1970 the Food and Drug Administration added them to schedule 1, the category of the most tightly controlled substances. Now, although there is continued extensive abuse of psychedelics, Grinspoon believes the climate is right to take another look at the drugs. He contends that they could shed much light on such areas as brain lateralization, altered states of consciousness, and the search for receptor sites in the brain. And, he says, as therapy "they are really crying for more attention." Grinspoon acknowledges that "controlled studies are not that impressive," but believes there is enough anecdotal evidence to justify further explorations. Single doses of LSD, given to alcoholics or drug addicts, for example, have induced in some deep experiences, akin to religious conversions, that have afforded them a new vision of their lives and enabled them to shake their habits. Grinspoon also says "psycholytic" therapy–the administration of psychedelic drugs in conjunction with psychotherapy–needs further exploration. "if, as Freud said, dreams are the royal road to the unconscious, is it possible that psychedelic drugs are a superhighway to the unconscious?" Among the few researchers now interested in the subject is Albert Kurland, psychiatrist Ad clinical psychopharmacologist at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center. The center administered LSD to some 500 persons–addicts, prisoners, psychiatric patients, and terminal-cancer patients–until the late 1960's, when the state legislature told them to stop using it. Kurland says that about one-third of the subjects underwent dramatic "peak experiences" that significantly affected their lives. Many of the 100 cancer patients treated, for example, experienced an improvement in emotional state and an accompanying reduction in pain, which lasted up to several months after one treatment. Kurland was planning to see if LSD would be helpful in conjunction with psychotherapy for schizophrenic patients, but this project was scotched by the state ban. Kurland currently holds what he believes to be the only clinical IND (in -
Comments and Responses to this Article
Submit Comment
[ Cite HTML ]