Anti-drug laws block the way to solid research that demonstrates the therapeutic uses of psilocybilin mushrooms, plants such as cannabis, and other psychedelic drugs such as MDMA. So states Professor David Nutt, who sounds the alarm in Nature Reviews Neuroscience.
Even a scant appraisal of the War on Drugs swiftly brings the conclusion that this fight has failed. The aim of this war, declared in 1971 by the American president Nixon, is to eradicate the use and harmful consequences of drugs. Over forty years and billions of dollars later, drug use in America has increased fourteenfold, the number of AIDS cases due to infected needles has significantly risen, and violent drug cartels have the upper hand in Mexico.
But there is another casualty of this war that remains virtually discussed, and which directly concerns Sensi Seeds: namely, drug repression blocks the possibility for concrete research into the medicinal benefits of diverse types of drugs. A champion for the lifting of this blockade is the British professor David Nutt. Nutt is Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology at the Imperial College London, and chairperson of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs. He has years of specialization in scientific research on the workings of various types of drugs linked to addiction, fear and depression. The professor was also drugs advisor to the English parliament, but following his 2009 public criticism of drug policy and appeal against the reclassification of cannabis as a class B drug, he was fired from this position.
David Nutt regularly features in the news with bold statements intended to highlight the senselessness of the unsubstantiated ban on various drugs. Last week (June 12) he was in the media once again. Together with another ex-parliamentary drugs advisor, Leslie King and David Nichols of the University of North Carolina, he expressed criticism of the “censorship of science” imposed by the United Nations, among others, which makes thorough research into the medicinal benefits of substances such as cannabis, psilocybins from mushrooms and 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA) practically impossible.
According to Nutt the current drug legislation is “absurd and outdated”. In the article he explains precisely why this is so: most drugs are forbidden due to the perceived dangers, which later prove to be exaggerated in many cases. “The laws have never been updated despite scientific advances and growing evidence that many of these drugs are relatively safe,” states Nutt. “ And there appears to be no way for the international community to make such changes.”
Nutt, who has already carried out several independent investigations into the benefits of psilocybin – the psychoactive substance in ‘magic’ mushrooms – finds that “If we adopted a more rational approach to drug regulation, it would empower researchers to make advances in the study of consciousness and brain mechanisms of psychosis, and could lead to major treatment innovations in areas such as depression and PTSD.”
Professor Nutt makes the analogy between the current political censorship of science and the forbidding of research by Copernicus and Galileo by the Catholic Church. According to Nutt, this censorship leads to a hindering of research and therapies, caused not by science itself, but by politics. “It’s one of the most scandalous examples of scientific censorship in modern times,” states Nutt in The Guardian.
It goes without saying that David Nutt, Leslie King and David Nichols are calling for psychoactive drugs to be released from their strong restrictions so that scientific research on them becomes possible. Sensi Seeds emphasises that, although it remains apart from the discussion over whether all drugs should be legalized, in regards to the medicinal benefits of natural substances in general and cannabis in particular, the company fully supports the views of Professor Nutt and his colleagues.
Sensi Seeds hopes that their struggle will quickly lead to new insights by policy makers worldwide, which will be of clear benefit to patients who could benefit from medicinal drugs such as cannabis and other natural healing substances.