Though ketamine quickly alleviates suicidality and depressed thoughts, it requires repeat administration for long-term benefit and long-term health risks are unknown.
Psychiatrist Alan Manevitz cautions, "no matter how successful ketamine proves to be, you can’t count on a single treatment to cure depression. You need to address all aspects of a person's disease, from the biological and the psychological to the social and environmental....Ketamine is not a miracle drug at all. It may momentarily take them away from that catastrophic place they’re in with depression, but you’re not addressing the rest of the patient. It’s a complex issue to treat psychiatric issues, and you have to treat the whole patient.”
Pharmaceutical companies have infamously closed their mental health divisions and reopened them when government funding was on the horizon. It's fair to say that Pharma has a stronger history of lawsuits than success in mental health.
“The N.I.M.H. is not opposed to work with psychedelics, but I doubt we would make a major investment”
- Thomas Insel, Past-Director
Natl Institute of Mental Health
From The Trip Treatment: "NIMH would need to see “a path to development” and suspects that “it would be very difficult to get a pharmaceutical company interested in developing this drug, since it cannot be patented.” It’s also unlikely that Big Pharma would have any interest in a drug that is administered only once or twice in the course of treatment."
“Progress has been made in decreasing use of hallucinogens, particularly in young people. We would not want to see that trend altered”
"It is important to remind people that experimenting with drugs of abuse outside a research setting can produce serious harms"
LESSONS ON ABUSE
Johnansen and Krebs of Norway recognize the lack of novel drug development and bleak near future for mental health and addiction treatment, so they are Crowdfunding to Make Psychedelics and MDMA Free for Global Medical Use. Although it's tough to predict the precise benefit of psychedelics before larger studies are completed, Johansen and Krebs' passion for global well-being is remarkable. They co-authored a meta-analysis in 2012 showing LSD's effectiveness in treating alcoholism, and recently published a study using recent United States NSDUH survey data which found that individuals taking classical hallucinogens LSD, psilocybin (active ingredient in magic mushrooms), and mescaline (active ingredient in religious sacrament peyote of the Native American Church) were not at increased risk of developing 11 indicators of mental-health problems such as schizophrenia, psychosis, depression, anxiety orders, and suicide attempts. See more on their story and research here.
Classic hallucinogens are the only pharmaceutical known to occasion profound, life-changing spiritual experiences that bring complex issues to the forefront for patients.
Mystical experiences occasioned by the hallucinogen psilocybin lead to increases in the personality domain of openness
Psychology Study Explains Psychedelic Ethics: Awe, the Small Self, and Prosocial Behavior
- Psilocybin, Not Prozac or Xanax, Shows Promise for Existential and Spiritual Distress
we've been waiting for?
No. However, they will be another tool in the mental health toolbox if integrated effectively into modern healthcare. Equally as important, we have a chance to study psychedelic medicines using today's technology and funding from the BRAIN Initiative.
Blog from an interested citizen whose daughter expected to participate in the psilocybin cancer anxiety trials.
Reason.com: "We can peer all we want into brains, like mad Dr. Frankensteins, and we won't move a quarter inch closer to helping people deal with the range of addictions they confront. We've proven the futility of the brain-in-isolation approach a million times over. We cannot solve addiction magically, by circumventing people’s consciousness and lived experience in society. Instead, we need to use these dimensions of human experience to make people happier, to feel that they belong on earth, and to realize that they are able to control their lives.
What does the brain drug boom mean for mental health?
The only boom guaranteed in the current system is the high cost of prescription drugs for patients, as United States Senator and fan of Norway, Bernard Sanders, describes below.