The History of Psychedelics in Medicine

  title={The History of Psychedelics in Medicine},
  author={Ben Sessa},
Psychedelics have been used for hundreds if not thousands of years by humans. Medical research began in earnest in theWest in the late nineteenth century with the discovery of mescaline. From there we saw the development of LSD in the 1940s and an increasingly important role played by psychedelics in the 1950s in the subsequent development of biological psychiatry. Psychiatry explored psychedelic therapies extensively through to the end of the 1960s when LSDwas banned. Then, other drugs emerged… 

Ancient Roots of Today’s Emerging Renaissance in Psychedelic Medicine

It is argued that a “psychedelic renaissance” anchored in the lessons of antiquity can potentially help shift healthcare systems—and perhaps the broader society—towards practices that are more humane, attentive to underlying causes of distress, and supportive of human flourishing.

The frontiers of new psychedelic therapies: A survey of sociological themes and issues

A sociological lens on clinical psychedelic therapies is offered and three areas of sociological interest are critically examined: the of role advocacy in the advancement of scientific research and the destigmatisation of psychedelics; issues related to the medicalisation and pharmaceuticalisation; and integration into healthcare systems.

Current perspectives on psychedelic therapy: use of serotonergic hallucinogens in clinical interventions

An overview of past and present models of psychedelic therapy is provided, and important considerations for future interventions incorporating the use of psychedelics in research and clinical practice are discussed.

The psychedelic renaissance and the limitations of a White-dominant medical framework: A call for indigenous and ethnic minority inclusion

In recent years, the study of psychedelic science has resurfaced as scientists and therapists are again exploring its potential to treat an array of psychiatric conditions, such as depression,

Registered clinical studies investigating psychedelic drugs for psychiatric disorders.

How to account for hallucinations in the interpretation of the antidepressant effects of psychedelics: a translational framework

A translational framework based on establishing pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) relationships in rodents and humans for hallucinogenic and therapeutic effects will help to inform future studies that aim at the elucidation of the mechanism(s) of action of psychedelics in depression, and the role of the acute subjective and/or hallucinationsinogenic experience in their effects.

How do serotonergic psychedelics treat depression: The potential role of neuroplasticity

The effect of depression, classic antidepressants, ketamine, and serotonergic psychedelics on markers of neuroplasticity at a cellular, molecular, electrophysiological, functional, structural, and psychological level is reviewed to explore the potential role that neuroplasticsity plays in the treatment response of serotonergy psychedelics.

Inclusion of people of color in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy: a review of the literature

Inclusion of minorities in futures studies and improved recruitment strategies are necessary to better understand the efficacy of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy in people of color and provide all with equal opportunities for involvement in this potentially promising treatment paradigm.

Sustained, Multifaceted Improvements in Mental Well-Being Following Psychedelic Experiences in a Prospective Opportunity Sample

It is suggested that psychedelics can have a broad, robust and sustained positive impact on mental well-being in those that have a prior intention to use a psychedelic compound.

Psilocybin as a Novel Pharmacotherapy for Treatment-Refractory Anorexia Nervosa

It is suggested that classic psychedelics, particularly psilocybin, have the potential to normalise dysfunctional neurobiological systems in AN and provide a novel treatment intervention that is worthy of consideration, particularly for treatment-resistant patients.



Why Psychiatry Needs Psychedelics and Psychedelics Need Psychiatry

  • B. Sessa
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Journal of psychoactive drugs
  • 2014
Without researching psychedelic drugs for medical therapy, psychiatry is turning its back on a group of compounds that could have great potential and can provide the public with important treatments and also raise the profile of expanded consciousness in mainstream society.

The use of LSD-25 in the treatment of alcoholism and other psychiatric problems.

The recent introduction of pure psychedelic (mindmanifesting) drugs has opened vast new horizons in psychopharmacology and made possible controlled programs of psychedelic therapy and research.

History and Future of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)

MAPS developed the first double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and plans for FDA prescription approval in 2021, noting future goals with respect to research, outreach, and harm reduction.

Use of lysergic acid diethylamide in a psychotherapeutic setting.

  • S. CohenB. Eisner
  • Psychology, Medicine
    A.M.A. archives of neurology and psychiatry
  • 1959
Of subsequent researchers, Abramson 1 has investigated the drug most extensively and noted that LSD-25 is characterized by pharmacologic safety, maintenance of the patient in a conscious and cooperative state, and repetition without evidence of addiction.

From Hofmann to the Haight Ashbury, and into the Future: The Past and Potential of Lysergic Acid Diethlyamide

Recently, researchers have been investigating the therapeutic use of LSD and other psychedelics for end-of-life anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), cancer, and addiction treatment.

MDMA, politics and medical research: Have we thrown the baby out with the bathwater?

In this paper, some of the features that make MDMA a potentially useful medical and research tool are looked at and it is asked that these be explored in a dispassionate manner – without the political agenda influencing the scientific argument.

The Pharmacology of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide: A Review

There is new interest in LSD as an experimental tool for elucidating neural mechanisms of (states of) consciousness and there are recently discovered treatment options with LSD in cluster headache and with the terminally ill.


  • H. Osmond
  • Psychology
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
  • 1957
The field of inquiry is limited by a definition that will prevent workers in this field from being overwhelmed with an inconveniently large poition of the pharmacopoeia, and this rough and ready guide excludes morphine, cocaine, atropine, and their derivatives.

Speed, Ecstasy, Ritalin: The Science of Amphetamines

This book is a mix of science, history and social commentary on the medical and illicit use of amphetamine and its derivatives, giving them an insight into the development and use of drugs that they are unlikely to appreciate from standard teaching texts.

LSD, Spirituality, and the Creative Process

Ah, the good old days. As scientists face hurdle after hurdle to obtain approval for research with psychedelics, it’s worthwhile to look back at a time before the War on Drugs, when studying the