LSD for the Terminal Ill?

A cancer-ridden patient takes a pill and overcomes her fear of death not just for the moment but for weeks and months that follow…One researcher imagines retreat centers where the dying could have psilocybin administered to them by a staff trained for the task.

Full article by Lauren Slater on psychedelic drugs in the NYT worth reading.

Comments (8)

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  1. brian says:

    This article and subject matter is beyond fascinating.

    Look, researchers pretty much already know there are benefits for some people (*not all*) from using medical marijuana. Why would there not be some applications for other psychoactive substances for some people under certain conditions?

    These plants have been growing on the planet for millions of years. A large amount of medicine comes from plants. While psychoactive plants are on a whole other level than other medicinal plants, they exist in nature and most likely have applications that could be beneficial if we knew what to do with them.

    Synthetic substances such as LSD, MDMA, etc. may have beneficial psychiatric applications as well, but they are not natural. Neither are a lot of psychiatric medicines. I think there is some old wisdom that “one can’t go wrong by going natural” (or something like that), and that may be of some relevance here.
    At the very least, the naturally occurring psychedelics are a starting point for research. Mescaline, psilocybin, the Ayahuasca plant, salvia divinorum, the list goes on…….Why not allow researchers to figure out what the heck is going on with these plants and what applications they may have?

  2. Matt says:

    If they are dying and it helps, then administer it, absalutely. They are dying. The living and healthy criticizing this represents a huge lack of compassion.

  3. Buster says:

    What happens in those instances where the prognosis is wrong? I don’t think anyone has a problem with administering psychotropic drugs to the terminally ill. But I can imagine people recovering to a life addiction (or addicts calling hospices and trying to fake a terminal illness). Maybe that wouldn’t be the norm. But there are plenty of abuses I can imagine. That said, on net it’s probably a good idea. Why not sooth the suffering of people when a synthetic chemical can make the difference between an agonizing death and a pleasant one?

  4. Matt says:

    That is a good point Buster, but couldnt they do this anyway? They already administer highly addictive narcotics to the terminally ill. From my understanding, hallucinagetic substances have a lower rate of addictation than opiates, but I could be mistaken.

  5. Virginia says:

    Why stop with the terminally ill? Shouldn’t we get to decide what we put in our bodies?

  6. Bart says:

    If it works, use it. I don’t see what ‘natural vs. synthetic’ has to do with anything, though.

  7. brian says:

    The ‘natural vs. synthetic’ doesn’t necessarily have to have anything to do with it – I was only subtly trying to illustrate the point that government has little if any legitimacy in making it illegal for researchers to study a plant.