The New York Times just ran a fairly lengthy article that reported the use of psilocybin, a hallucinogenic drug, in a controlled experiment aimed at reducing anxiety and depression in cancer patients. (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/01/health/hallucinogenic-mushrooms-psilocybin-cancer-anxiety-depression.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news)
A few days earlier the New York Times ran a story on trials using MDMA (i.e., ecstasy) to treat post traumatic stress disorder. (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/29/us/ptsd-mdma-ecstasy.html)
Why are these stories news? Continue reading
U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent interview in the New Yorker was surprisingly interesting. While some have noted his disapproval towards a (hypothetical) son playing pro football out of concussion concerns, the more remarkable comments concern marijuana: he says it’s “not very different from…cigarettes” and “I don’t think it’s more dangerous than alcohol.” He did not come out in favour of legalisation, however, and this makes his views (and, to a certain extent, the position of the executive branch charged with carrying out federal law) incoherent – by which I mean, his various positions taken together are inconsistent. Obama may well ‘evolve’ further as he did with gay marriage, but any such evolution will likely come too late in his term to lead to an effective, permanent change in policy. Continue reading
Kyle Edwards, Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and The Ethox Centre, University of Oxford
Caroline Huang, The Ethox Centre, University of Oxford
An article based on this blog post has now been published in the May – June 2014 Hastings Center Report: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hast.310/full. Please check out our more developed thoughts on this topic there!