There’s an excellent article on the history of the Multidiscplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, an organisation that has done much to bring psychedelic drug investigation back into the mainstream of medical research, in that well known bastion of science journalism, Playboy.
I must admit to being a bit embarrassed when I was caught reading the article as I usually only buy the magazine for the photo-shopped pictures of girls in bikinis.
For people who want to avoid such embarrassment the organisation has put a 10Mb pdf of the article online that is mostly safe for work (artistic depiction of flying topless woman with a statue’s head, wings and pills coming out of her ears – sounds better than it is).
The piece weaves together the history of the organisation with a somewhat alarming account of a young woman with terminal cancer being treated by an ‘underground psychedelic therapist’.
The account itself is quite touching, although the fact there are people going around giving terminally ill patients various powerful and illegal hallucinogenic drugs doesn’t inspire me with a great deal of confidence to say the least. However, it is an interesting look into this phenomenon, which, I have to say, was news to me.
In terms of the use of such drugs in clinical research, the article doesn’t really give a good analysis of the likely advantages and disadvantages of such an treatment (the studies so far are promising but small and poorly controlled) but is an interesting insight into how psychologist Rick Doblin make hallucinogenic drug research cautiously respectable again.
There seems to also be a bit of an upsurge in public interest in the topic over the last few days, with an article in The New York Times and a piece in Scientific American discussing these reality bending compounds.