Psychedelic-Assissted Therapy for Veterans and Personality Improvement
Psychedelic-assisted therapy at the VA
Psychedelic-assisted therapy has recently gained mainstream acceptance among civilians, but what about for members of the military and veterans?
This therapy may soon be an option for some veterans. As “Lucid” reports, “psychedelic-assisted therapy is on the rise at some veterans administration hospitals.”
Phase 3 clinical trials of MDMA therapy to treat post-traumatic stress disorder have been so successful, with 68 percent of participants in remission, the FDA granted MDMA a special ‘Breakthrough Therapy’ designation. But this therapy is not yet available all over the country, prompting more researchers to call on the VA to create protocols for MDMA, psilocybin, and ketamine therapies. These psychedelics are still classified as Schedule 1 narcotics, and it will take political will and bipartisan support to win FDA approval.
If that happens, researchers at the forefront of these therapies hope to see VA hospitals nationwide using psychedelics to help veterans by the year 2024.
Could the use of hallucinogens actually improve your personality?
A new study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology looked at how psychedelics affect personality. Researchers recruited adults who were planning on using hallucinogens in the near future and asked them to fill out a survey regarding their personality, based on the five-factor model of personality traits:
- Openness to experience
Participants took the survey three times — before their psychedelic experience, two weeks after, and four weeks after. The results were impressive, with people reporting a reduction in neuroticism and an increase in agreeableness, even four weeks after their experience.
Brandon Weiss, a psychologist at Imperial College London and lead researcher told Psychology Today, “[F]irst, people seemed to report that they were not as quarrelsome or critical in their interactions with others. Second, people reported that they were less easily upset by things and less anxious.”
Weiss also pointed out that despite these positive outcomes, hallucinogens can be dangerous, especially with people who have pre-existing psychosis. More data is needed to confirm the studies’ findings. As a large number of participants did not follow through with the entire survey. But this is more evidence that hallucinogens could be another tool to help with mental health.
Bicycle Day 2022 – 79 Years Since Albert Hofmann's LSD Discovery
Eight years before Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD in 1938, Harry J. Anslinger was appointed the founding commissioner of the U.S. Treasury’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics. While both men were of Swiss descent and their life’s work centered around public drug use, their paths couldn’t have been more divergent. And now for this year’s Bicycle Day, as the tides of drug policy are shifting quicker than ever, their stories are increasingly relevant.
While most consider the United States’ war on drugs to have started with the Nixon or Reagan administrations, author Johann Hari in his book Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, urges our reconsideration of the country’s infamously failed attempt at drug prohibition to an earlier date.
Hari argues that based on racism, classism, and other prejudices, Anslinger was largely responsible for creating a zeitgeist of public misconception about nearly every drug, without regard to therapeutic applications or larger societal implications.
And though Anslinger’s tenure ended just before the criminalization of LSD, it was the foundation he set in place that widely villainized the chemical for decades.
But with the recent relaxation around psychedelic substances and the recognition of their potential as powerful healing modalities, Hofmann’s radical discovery may finally be realized for what he envisioned it could be.