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Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered

NCJ Number
185048
Author(s)
Lester Grinspoon; James B. Bakalar
Date Published
1997
Annotation
Two of the world's leading experts on drug use provide a comprehensive survey of psychedelic drugs and the scientific and intellectual issues they raise; the authors review the chemistry of psychedelic drugs and their effects, the history of human experience with them, and the potential value of psychedelic drugs.
Abstract
Tens of millions of Americans have tried LSD, mushrooms, mescaline, and other hallucinogens, and millions more have experienced MDMA (3,4-methylene-dioxymethamphetamine) and other empathogenic drugs that share features in common with psychedelic drugs. The illicit use of psychedelic drugs reached a modest peak about 1980 and then declined steadily before a slight rise beginning in the late 1980's. According to the National Household Survey, 9.5 percent of the population over 12 years of age in 1995 (20 million people) had ever used a drug described as a hallucinogen, 1.6 percent had used a hallucinogen in the past month, and 9 percent had used a hallucinogen in the past year. Psychedelic drugs are used almost exclusively by persons under 30 years of age. A slight increase in use has occurred in the past 5 years, partly because LSD is being taken at lower doses that cause proportionately fewer bad trips and other adverse reactions. The authors review the sources and effects of major psychedelic drugs, the nature of the psychedelic experience, adverse effects of psychedelic drugs and treatment, therapeutic uses of psychedelic drugs, and the future of psychedelic drug use and research. An appendix contains supplemental information on the legal status of psychedelic drugs. References