Drugs are bad, um-kay—or are they?
Caffeine is a drug, but we don’t think of it as bad. So is ibuprofen. The list of drugs that society considers acceptable is large and even includes prescription painkillers, such as opioids like oxycontin, so long as they’re taken as prescribed.
To be sure, some drugs come with little to no benefits. For instance, cocaine, even though Sigmund Freud loved how it helped him free-associate and believed it was his ticket to fame and fortune.
How Society Perceives Drugs
There’s a common trend in the way society morally evaluates drugs. If you can buy a drug at a shop (coffee) or over the counter at a pharmacy (ibuprofen). If doctors can prescribe it (oxycontin), it’s perceived as good as long as you take it. If it’s illegal and never prescribed by doctors (cocaine).
Where does this leave drugs like MDMA, LSD, ketamine, and psilocybin products such as penis envy mushrooms? It’s complicated.
Grey Zone Drugs
Cannabis used to be considered bad, then it was considered good so long as it was prescribed by a doctor and taken as directed, and now that it’s legal to consume, it’s generally considered good.
The other four drugs mentioned above—MDMA, LSD, ketamine, and psilocybin—used to be considered bad, but now that researchers are growing increasingly aware of their therapeutic potential, these drugs are considered—well, it’s confusing. These drugs hold a unique place in our society today. They belong to a strange sort of substance grey zone.
Ketamine, MDMA, LSD, and Psilocybin
In the United States, ketamine is a prescription medication approved for use as an anaesthetic in hospitals. Meanwhile, ketamine therapy is becoming an increasingly popular way for psychiatrists to treat depression.
Doctors and therapists are experimenting with using MDMA to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s called MDMA-assisted therapy. Similarly, doctors are experimenting with using LSD and psilocybin (magic mushrooms) to provide psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy (PAD). PAD typically combines psychedelics with talk therapy.
PAD is used for addiction, PTSD, depression, and anxiety.PAD may also help ageing and terminally ill patients come to terms with their mortality.
Ketamine therapy, MDMA-assisted therapy, and PAD are still in their early stages and more research is needed to determine their effectiveness. It may take years before they become common therapeutic methods. It’s possible that one day, perhaps not too far into the future, society will perceive them as good.
A Perspectival Shift
Ketamine, MDMA, LSD, and psilocybin becoming increasingly popular ways for medical professionals to treat patients. As more and more research demonstrates that these drugs may change our brains for the better, society is gradually changing its perspective. Whereas LSD, for instance, used to be associated with hippies and dropouts, now it’s associated with depressed and anxious people looking to heal.
In other words, what was once considered poison may soon be considered medicine.
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