Medicinal Uses for Psychedelic Drugs

After a 40-plus year hiatus, research into medicinal uses for psychedelic drugs from ayahuasca to MDMA could reveal treatment for depression, anxiety, and PTSD.


| May/June 2013



Second Coming of Psychedelics

You get out of your body and look back and see what is wrong with you. I saw the shell of the person I didn’t want to be and stepped out of it.

Photo By Bruno Borges

Ric Godfrey had the shakes. At night, his body temperature would drop and he’d start to tremble. During the day, he was jumpy. He was always looking around, always on edge. His vibe scared the people around him. He couldn’t hang on to a job.

He started drinking and drugging, anything to numb out.

Years passed before a Department of Veterans Affairs counselor told him he had severe post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. The former Marine had spent the early 1990s interrogating prisoners in Kuwait. Years later, he was still playing out the Persian Gulf War.

Counseling helped a little, but the symptoms continued. He went to rehab for his substance abuse, then tried Alcoholics Anonymous. “That went on for 10 years,” he said. “I don’t know how many times I hit rock bottom.”

Then one of his Seattle neighbors—a woman who also suffered from PTSD—told him about a group of veterans who were going down to Peru to try a psychedelic drug called ayahuasca, a jungle vine that is brewed into a tea. Indigenous Peruvians called it “sacred medicine.” A wealthy veteran had started a healing center in South America and would pay all his expenses.

The next thing Ric knew, he was crawling into a tent on a platform out in the middle of the Amazon jungle. The sun went down. The shaman gave him the tea, a blessing, and a pail in which to vomit.

geralde
5/15/2013 1:19:05 PM

" nobody really knows for certain how these substances work" - well said, 35 yrs past due...