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Psychedelic Resurgence

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This year’s first edition of The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs is a special issue dedicated to the resurgence of psychedelic research. In roughly five themes (LSD, MDMA , ayahuasca, cannabis, research issues and institutes) the journal provides a glance at past and present matters related to research and therapeutic uses of psychedelics.

The first article is a review of the past, present and future status of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD; Smith, Raswyck, & Dickerson Davidson, 2014). The article comprises a chronological overview of how the psychoactive properties of LSD have led to positive and negative appraisal of the substance in therapeutic research, for military purposes, and recreational use. The article finishes with an overview of contemporary research projects. Another LSD-centered article in the journal, is a qualitative study that retrospectively assesses the long-term experiences of Czech psychologists and psychiatrists that involved in self-experimentation with LSD in the 1950’s – 1970’s (Winkler & Csémy, 2014). The article also serves to present arguments for self-experimentation.

Two review papers are dedicated to address the pro’s and con’s of using MDMA in a therapeutic setting and research issues related to the “Ecstacy Paradigm” (Cole, 2014; Parrott, 2014). A consideration of how psychiatry and psychedelics can benefit from each other, is provided by dr. Ben Sessa (2014), who has been working on MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.

In a qualitative study, Loizaga-Velder and Verres (2014) explored the therapeutic effects of ritual ayahuasca use in the treatment of substance abuse. In line with other studies that yielded promising results in exploring the competence of psychedelics in treating addiction (Heffter Institute, 2012; Krupitsky et al., 2007), the main finding was that participation in ritual ayahuasca sessions facilitated substance dependence treatment.

In New-Mexico, the first state that authorized the use of medicinal cannabis for releasing symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Greer, Grob, and Halberstadt (2014) acquired retrospective data in order to portray the result of this law adjustment. The researchers tentatively conclude that cannabis is associated with PTSD reduction in some patients, and express the need for a study with an experimental design.

An inspiring contribution to this special issue, are two articles dedicated to the past and present of the Heffter Research Institute and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS; Emerson, Ponté, Jerome, & Doblin, 2014; Nichols, 2014). As the editor of the journal, Terry Chambers, expresses in the introduction: ‘…this issue of the Journal is not a comprehensive presentation of the activity of those attempting to understand the properties and uses of psychedelic drugs, but it is an indication of the serious and interesting research being done on this subject.’ The resurgence is happening, and we expect that Dutch scientists will follow soon.

The journal is published online and the abstracts can be freely retrieved from our website.


 
References
Cole, J. C. (2014). MDMA and the “Ecstasy Paradigm.” Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 46(1), 44–56. doi:10.1080/02791072.2014.878148
Emerson, A., Ponté, L., Jerome, L., & Doblin, R. (2014). History and Future of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 46(1), 27–36. doi:10.1080/02791072.2014.877321
Greer, G. R., Grob, C. S., & Halberstadt, A. L. (2014). PTSD Symptom Reports of Patients Evaluated for the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 46(1), 73–77. doi:10.1080/02791072.2013.873843
Heffter Research Institute. 2012. Our Research. Available at: http://www. heffter.org/research-hucla.htm.
Krupitsky, E. M., Burakov, A. M., Dunaevsky, I. V, Romanova, T. N., Slavina, T. Y., & Grinenko, A. Y. (2007). Single versus repeated sessions of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy for people with heroin dependence. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 39, 13–19. doi:10.1080/02791072.2007.10399860
Loizaga-Velder, A., & Verres, R. (2014). Therapeutic Effects of Ritual Ayahuasca Use in the Treatment of Substance Dependence—Qualitative Results. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 46(1), 63–72. doi:10.1080/02791072.2013.873157
Nichols, D. E. (2014). The Heffter Research Institute: Past and Hopeful Future. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 46(1), 20–26. doi:10.1080/02791072.2014.873688
Parrott, A. C. (2014). The Potential Dangers of Using MDMA for Psychotherapy. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 46(1), 37–43. doi:10.1080/02791072.2014.873690
Sessa, B. (2014). Why Psychiatry Needs Psychedelics and Psychedelics Need Psychiatry. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 46(1), 57–62. doi:10.1080/02791072.2014.877322
Smith, D. E., Raswyck, G. E., & Dickerson Davidson, L. (2014). From Hofmann to the Haight Ashbury, and into the Future: The Past and Potential of Lysergic Acid Diethlyamide. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 46(1), 3–10. doi:10.1080/02791072.2014.873684
Winkler, P., & Csémy, L. (2014). Self-Experimentations with Psychedelics Among Mental Health Professionals: LSD in the Former Czechoslovakia. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 46(1), 11–19. doi:10.1080/02791072.2013.873158

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