LSD, Ecstasy, psilocybin -- these are not drugs generally associated with medicine. But they are all taking center stage at this weekend's "Psychedelic Science 2013" conference in Oakland, which brings together more than 100 scientists from around the world doing research on the use of these drugs to treat, among other things, alcohol and tobacco addiction and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Rick Doblin is the founder of MAPS, a non-profit pharmaceutical company that organized the event. He says the government appears more open now to medical studies involving these
"We are enjoying a change of heart at the regulatory agencies both at the FDA and around the world," he says, "and they’re opening the door into both the benefits for therapy and for neuroscience research."
Scientists participating in the conference include doctors from UCLA, NYU and Johns Hopkins. Their work includes studies on LSD to treat alcoholism; psilocybin to ease end of life anxiety and fight tobacco addiction; Ecstasy to treat Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome; and Ayahuasca for drug addiction.
"These drugs have incredible scientific potential and incredible healing potential," says Doblin.
The Psychedelic Science conference lasts through Monday.