Psychedelic drugs
Yale professors are intrigued by studies showing possible therapeutic benefits of psychedelic drugsiStock

A group of Yale University professors are tuning into a new drug trend and plan to start exploring the possible health benefits of psychedelics. The Yale School of Medicine announced that is has formed a study group to examine the re-emerging field of psychedelic science, focusing on possible therapeutic uses of psychedelics to treat mental illnesses.

There has been renewed interest in the science of psychedelics after the field was denigrated for decades, with new studies showing promising results for the therapeutic use of the drugs. Psilocybin, the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms, has been shown to help battle anxiety and addiction. MDMA has been used to treat PTSD, and LSD has helped people with anxiety caused by illness.

"This early work that's been done suggests potential for a number of clinical applications, but we need to learn more about how the brain works, and perhaps how consciousness works," said Peter H Addy, one of the organisers of the new group, called the Yale Psychiatry and Psychedelics Group. "There's some promise, but it's not really a subject that a lot of people are experts in."

Addy is withholding judgement on the ultimate benefit of psychedelics until more research is completed. "If you have this amazing experience, and you have tea with Jesus and the buddha and everything's blissful, that's great, but what about next week? Or next month?" Addy asked. "Are you still a jerk to your spouse? If it doesn't change anything then ... I'm not really sure what the utility of it is."

The group is set to meet monthly and will be open to any faculty member or researcher interested in the field, including graduate students, fellows and clinicians.