A reclassification of the substances magic mushrooms and LSD should be allowed so doctors can prescribe them for treatment of addiction and anxiety, experts said today.
James Rucker, a King College London psychiatrist, has warned that legal impediments on psychedelic drugs make trial testing of their beneficial properties almost an improbability.
He urged the UK government to ‘downgrade their unnecessarily restrictive class A, schedule 1 classification’ of psilocybin, a compound found in both magic mushrooms and LSD, he wrote in the British Medical Journal.
He argued that the drugs were “in extensive used and researched in clinical psychiatry” before they were prohibited in 1967.
Before their 1950s and 1960s prohibition, a number of studies conducted suggested “beneficial change in many psychiatric disorders”.
But, research about the effects of psychedelic drugs stopped altogether after 1967. At that time, their classification in the UK was schedule 1, class A drugs, meaning, they have “no accepted medical use and the greatest potential for harm, despite the research evidence to the contrary”, said Dr Rucker.
He stressed that psychedelic drugs are more legally restricted compared to heroin and cocaine.
“No evidence indicates that psychedelic drugs are habit forming, little evidence indicates that they are harmful in controlled settings and much historical evidence shows that they could have used in common psychiatric disorders,” he had written.
According to recent studies, psychedelics have efficacy clinically in anxiety linked to advanced cancer, tobacco and alcohol addiction, cluster headaches and obsessive compulsive disorder.
Dr Rucker explained, presently, a larger clinical study on psychedelics are made “almost impossible by the practical, financial and bureaucratic obstacles” levied by their schedule 1 classification.
Only one manufacturer in the whole world is a producer of psilocybin for trial purposes at a “prohibitive” cost of £100,000 for 1g, he said.