Was Timothy Leary Right? Are psychedelics good for you? – recent Time magazine article about new research in the field of psychedelic therapy.

“Are psychedelics good for you? It’s such a hippie relic of a question that it’s almost embarrassing to ask. But a quiet psychedelic renaissance is beginning at the highest levels of American science, including the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and Harvard, which is conducting what is thought to be its first research into therapeutic uses of psychedelics (in this case, Ecstasy) since the university fired Timothy Leary in 1963.”

“Last year two top journals, the Archives of General Psychiatry and the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, published papers showing clear benefits from the use of psychedelics to treat mental illness. Both were small studies, just 27 subjects total. But the Archives paper–whose lead author, Dr. Carlos Zarate Jr., is chief of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Research Unit at NIMH–found “robust and rapid antidepressant effects” that remained for a week after depressed subjects were given ketamine (colloquial name: Special K or usually just k). In the other study, a team led by Dr. Francisco Moreno of the University of Arizona gave psilocybin (the merrymaking chemical in psychedelic mushrooms) to obsessive-compulsive-disorder patients, most of whom later showed “acute reductions in core OCD symptoms.” Now researchers at Harvard are studying how Ecstasy might help alleviate anxiety disorders, and the Beckley Foundation, a British trust, has received approval to begin what will be the first human studies with LSD since the 1970s.”

“…a Leary for a less naive age: Richard Doblin. Also a Harvard guy–his Ph.D. is in public policy–Doblin founded the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in 1986 to help scientists get funding and approval to study the drugs. (Doblin, 53, says he was too shy for the ’60s, but he was inspired by the work of psychologist Stanislav Grof, who authored a 1975 book about promising LSD research–research that ended with antidrug crackdowns.) Doblin has painstakingly worked with intensely skeptical federal authorities to win necessary permissions. MAPS helped launch all four of the current Ecstasy studies, a process that took two decades. It’s the antithesis of Leary’s approach.”