We tend to associate psychedelic drugs with Timothy Leary and rock music, but there's an emerging evidence-based movement to (re)incorporate them into psychiatric practice. Science blogger Vaughan Bell describes his own experience and the science of ayahuasca.
Psychedelic drugs, mental health and brain science have traditionally made for a heated combination, but a recent scientific article, published in September's Nature Reviews Neuroscience, has attempted to more coolly assess the growing research on the potential of hallucinogens to treat depression and anxiety.
Lab studies and medical trials form a small but robust body of knowledge that reveal reliable benefits and promising future avenues. The dissociative anaesthetic ketamine has been found to lift mood - even in cases of severe of depression - while psilocybin, present across the world in mushrooms and fungi, has been shown to have anxiety reducing properties.
But while no serious bad reactions have happened during the trials, the full range of potential risks is still not fully understood, meaning the treatments remain firmly in the lab.
Read the full story at Mind Hacks.