Scientists at a new research center at the University of California, Berkeley will now be studying the medicinal properties of psychedelic drugs, a practice considered almost unthinkable in the U.S. for decades.
Studying psychedelic drugs wasn’t always controversial, and actually dates back to the ‘60s, said Michael Silver, the director of the new Center for the Science of Psychedelics at Cal.
“There was a lot of promise for psychedelics as used as medicines for mental health, but psychedelics were then used outside of these carefully controlled medical laboratory conditions and became part of popular culture, and this led to a backlash,” Silver said.
Psychedelics were classified in a way that essentially ended the medical research in the U.S., until very recently.
Silver told KCBS Radio that science is responsible for the change.
“There are promising and preliminary results of how these might be beneficial for psychiatric conditions that otherwise are very difficult to treat, using whatever methods are available to modern psychiatry and modern medicine,” he said.
Researchers at the UC Berkeley center will study the effects of psychedelics on the brain in healthy volunteers.
The center, which began work this week, will also educate the public about the drugs.