Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist and frequent Fox News contributor, on Tuesday decried that fact that “miraculous substances” like hallucinogenic mushrooms or the club drug ecstasy were stigmatized.
Ablow has received considerable criticism from liberals and progressives for his outspoken and critical views on LGBT individuals, but he appears to have a more liberal stance when it comes to medically-supervised psychedelic drug use.
In an article published on FoxNews.com, Albow noted researchers had found psychedelic drugs like psilocybin — the main psychoactive compound found in “shrooms” — reduced death anxiety in terminally-ill cancer patients.
“The truth is that the likelihood of creating an MDMA [ecstasy] or psilocybin addict out of a terminal cancer patient is exactly zero,” he wrote.
A study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry in 2011 found psilocybin can safely improve the moods of patients with advanced-stage cancer and anxiety.
The study was headed by Dr. Charles S. Grob, a professor of psychiatry at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and found a significant improvement of mood up to six months after receiving psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy.
In Dr. Grob’s study, twelve volunteers, ages 36 to 58, with advanced-stage cancer and anxiety were given a moderate dose of psilocybin and, on a separate occasion, a placebo. The study employed a double-blind procedure, meaning neither the volunteers nor the researchers monitoring them knew whether they’d been given a placebo or psilocybin.
After receiving a dose of psilocybin or a placebo, volunteers were monitored for six hours. They were encouraged to lie in bed, wear eye shades and listen to soft music during the first few hours after ingesting the drug or the placebo. The volunteers were then interviewed after the six-hour session and over the next six months to assess the consequences of the treatment.
“In many cases, patients are able to cope with their physical pain and psychological turmoil better than before,” Ablow explained. “Some, no doubt, feel the drugs opened doors of perception previously closed to them, allowing them to make peace with their lives and the impending end of their lives.”
Similar studies have recently been conducted using other psychedelic drugs, like ecstacy and LSD.
“Let’s open up our minds to the possibilities that many perilous drugs also hold much promise,” Ablow concluded.
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