The Therapeutic Potential of Psychedelic Drugs: Past, Present, and Future

  title={The Therapeutic Potential of Psychedelic Drugs: Past, Present, and Future},
  author={Robin Lester Carhart-Harris and Guy M. Goodwin},
Plant-based psychedelics, such as psilocybin, have an ancient history of medicinal use. After the first English language report on LSD in 1950, psychedelics enjoyed a short-lived relationship with psychology and psychiatry. Used most notably as aids to psychotherapy for the treatment of mood disorders and alcohol dependence, drugs such as LSD showed initial therapeutic promise before prohibitive legislature in the mid-1960s effectively ended all major psychedelic research programs. Since the… 

The Therapeutic Potential of Psilocybin

The potential of psilocybin in the treatment of neuropsychiatry-related conditions is explored, examining recent advances as well as current research.

Psychedelic drugs—a new era in

  • D. Nutt
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Dialogues in clinical neuroscience
  • 2019
The renaissance of classical psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin and LSD plus 3,4-methylene dioxymethamphetamine (MDMA—ecstasy) in psychiatric research is covered, which is likely to see these medicines approved for clinical practice soon afterwards.

Psychedelic assisted therapy for major depressive disorder: Recent work and clinical directions

Psychedelic substances such as psilocybin and ketamine may represent the future of antidepressant treatment, due to their rapid and prolonged effects on mood and cognition. The current body of

Editorial: Hallucinogens and Entactogens: Establishing a New Class of Psychotherapeutic Drugs?

Three articles rise the fundamental question of mechanism behind therapeutic effects of hallucinogenic and entactogenic substances, which patients might benefit from these treatments and which might not, how therapeutic effects can be promoted and risks further minimized.

DARK Classics in Chemical Neuroscience: Psilocybin.

Preliminary studies with psilocybin have shown promise as potential for the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder, alcohol addiction, tobacco addiction, and major depressive disorder, and thetreatment of depression in terminally ill cancer patients.

Why was early therapeutic research on psychedelic drugs abandoned?

  • W. Hall
  • Medicine, Psychology
    Psychological Medicine
  • 2021
The demise of psychedelic drug research was not solely due to the ‘War on Drugs’, but was hastened by tighter regulation of pharmaceutical research, the failure of controlled clinical trials to live up to the claims of psychedelic advocates, and the pharmaceutical industry's lack of interest in funding clinical trials.

Psilocybin and LSD have no long-lasting effects in an animal model of alcohol relapse

The results in the ADE model do not support the hypothesis that microdosing or high doses of psychedelic reduce relapse behavior, and it is not a translatable treatment option to give psychedelics sub-chronically for relapse prevention.

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.

Psychedelic-Assisted Group Therapy: A Systematic Review

A systematic review of the published literature in English and Spanish on psychedelic-assisted group therapies aims to stimulate hypotheses to be tested in future research on LSD-assisted psychotherapy, group process, and interpersonal functioning.



Treatment of alcoholism using psychedelic drugs: a review of the program of research.

  • M. Mangini
  • Psychology
    Journal of psychoactive drugs
  • 1998
The history of one branch of psychedelic research, the therapeutic use of LSD in the treatment of alcoholism, and of the events that led to the relabeling of the "hallucinogens" as drugs of abuse are explored.

Psychedelics in the treatment of unipolar mood disorders: a systematic review

The evidence overall strongly suggests that psychedelics should be re-examined in modern clinical trials for their use in unipolar mood disorders and other non-psychotic mental health conditions.

Antidepressant effects of a single dose of ayahuasca in patients with recurrent depression: a preliminary report.

OBJECTIVES Ayahuasca (AYA), a natural psychedelic brew prepared from Amazonian plants and rich in dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and harmine, causes effects of subjective well-being and may therefore have


Bizarre visual phenomena, ranging from a heightening of the apparent brightness or beauty of colored objects in the environment, through distortions in the perceived nature or meaning of real objects (illusions) to true visual hallucinations of colors, shapes, or even of complex scenes or events are reported.

Psilocybin with psychological support for treatment-resistant depression: an open-label feasibility study.

The paradoxical psychological effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)

The present findings reinforce the view that psychedelics elicit psychosis-like symptoms acutely yet improve psychological wellbeing in the mid to long term, and are proposed that acute alterations in mood are secondary to a more fundamental modulation in the quality of cognition.

Efficacy and Enlightenment: LSD Psychotherapy and the Drug Amendments of 1962

  • M. Oram
  • Psychology
    Journal of the history of medicine and allied sciences
  • 2014
A new perspective is provided on the death of LSD psychotherapy and the implications of the Drug Amendments of 1962 are explored, which explore how the new emphasis on controlled clinical trials frustrated the progress of LSD Psychotherapy research by focusing researchers’ attention on trial design to the detriment of their therapeutic method.

Drugs and Mysticism

The claim has been made that the experience facilitated by psychedelic drugs, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline, can be similar or identical to the experience described by the mystics of all

Pilot study of psilocybin treatment for anxiety in patients with advanced-stage cancer.

This study established the feasibility and safety of administering moderate doses of psilocybin to patients with advanced-stage cancer and anxiety and revealed a positive trend toward improved mood and anxiety.

Safety, tolerability, and efficacy of psilocybin in 9 patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

In a controlled clinical environment, psilocybin was safely used in subjects with OCD and was associated with acute reductions in core OCD symptoms in several subjects.