4 Illegal Drugs That May Have Therapeutic Properties

A shift in our approach to illegal drugs has seen the legalization of marijuana in certain territories. But will this go even further to the point where we can buy other drugs in a medical dispensary? Probably, and they may include the following.

Ketamine

Ketamine is not entirely banned and is strictly regulated, but some use this drug for recreation. Legally, it is primarily used as a sedative. In 2012, a study was published claiming that ketamine can be used to treat bipolar disorder among children.

The medications for bipolar disorder usually take weeks or months to fully take effect. In the study, children treated with ketamine immediately showed signs of improvement in their symptoms. Even after they stopped using ketamine, the improvements lasted for almost two weeks and the side effects were reportedly minimal.

LSD

Before LSD was banned in the late 1967, the government funded more than a hundred separate studies on this drug. Most of them had positive outcomes in the treatment of many psychiatric disorders, including anxiety, depression, and alcoholism.

Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), claimed to have achieved abstinence from alcohol through an LSD-induced psychedelic experience, and began to advocate the use of LSD to treat alcoholism. However, further research on this claim became almost impossible following the ban. But in 2012, a pair of Norwegian researchers were able to prove that LSD is more effective in treating alcoholism than any current treatments.

Heroin

Most opiate users do not use heroin. Instead, they are usually addicted to pharmaceutical opiates, like Demerol, Oxycontin, Vicodin or Percocet. Opiates provide an intoxicating high, but people sometimes use these drugs as self-medication for psychiatric conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. Opiate users also have the tendency to use other substances, like marijuana, alcohol, or kratom to alleviate their symptoms.

To treat opiate addiction, doctors typically give patients doses of methadone. But doctors from the Hannover Medical School in Germany have found that heroin may treat opiate addiction as well. Their findings show that patients treated with heroin reduced their use of other drugs by 33%, with 60% of them stopping the use of all other drugs within one year. Their studies also suggest that most opiate users are using the drug to control severe psychiatric illnesses and not to get high.

Ecstasy

3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), commonly known as ecstasy, is a psychoactive drug which experts are considering for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Many treatments are available for PTSD, but some patients are resistant to them. This is commonly attributed to the patients getting emotionally overwhelmed or numb when they need to revisit their traumatic experiences during therapy, which becomes an obstacle for a successful therapeutic processing.

In a series of studies conducted by Dr. Michael Mithoefer of the Medical University of South Carolina, the therapy used to treat PTSD in veterans was augmented with doses of ecstasy. The drug seemed to enable the patients to connect with their emotions more, and all of them showed reduced PTSD symptoms. One patient was seemingly cured after a single dose.

The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 did not only prohibit the use of certain drugs, but also prevented research on them. Now that these laws seem to have relaxed and scientists are able to study some of these drugs, the public may be able to legally enjoy their therapeutic benefits.