While the use of psychedelic substances dates back to ancient times, research into their effects and uses was effectively shut down until recently. LSD was first discovered in 1943, and a significant interest developed in the potential psychotherapeutic uses of it and other psychedelic drugs; however, with the rise of the 1960s counterculture movement and its adaptation of psychedelics as an act of rebellion against society, the drugs were deemed dangerous, made illegal, and effectively banned from research. Modern researchers are once again delving into their potential benefits in treating a multitude of issues—from anxiety, depression, and PTSD, to brain injury and even the fear of death associated with terminal cancer.
In the last two decades, researchers have started to reexamine psychedelics for their therapeutic potential. Though initial results seem promising, the research has a significant shortcoming: the lack of racial and ethnic diversity among research teams and study participants.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the design of two Phase 3 clinical trials of MDMA for treating PTSD, according to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which is funding and leading the clinical trials.
The exuberant “renaissance” of studies researching psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy in the past twenty years has not sufficiently included the enrollment of racially diverse participants, a problem that psychedelic science and clinical research shares with mainstream psychiatry