Originally published at animalpolitico.org
Posttraumatic stress disorder (i) is a mental illness that affects a specific population of Mexicans (ii): an appropriate regulation and a reform of in force laws would allow that the therapy assisted with psychedelics could be an alternative for people that their lives are affected by PTSD.
What are the psychedelics?
The psychedelics are a category within the psychoactive substances that have properties of profound alteration of perception and consciousness. “There is still a considerable confusion regarding the profiles of the mental effects of different compounds, so that terms or expressions such as psicodisléptico, psychedelic, visionary, psychotomimetic, altered consciousness, hallucinogenic, entheogen, and narcotic, among others, are used without established consensus and either, indistinctly.” (iii) The historical developments of some of these substances has their genesis in the psychiatric and psychoanalytic of middle of the last century, known as psychedelic therapy; we found within their main promoters to Albert Hofmann (iv) Stanislav Grof, Sasha Shulguin (v), (vi) and among his scholars in Latin America; stands out the pioneering work of Alberto Tallaferro in Argentina (vii) and, later, José Luis Diaz In Mexico. These substances have a potential therapeutic and a potential safety (viii) delimited which with them were treated former agents of government agencies, (ix) veterans, rape victims, autistic, and schizophrenic, among others. However, its use was banned in 1966 and its use was suspended in psychiatric and psychoanalytic therapy in the American Union and almost globally. (x)
Psychedelics and assisted therapeutics
Within this broad spectrum of substances are considered the LSD (lysergic acid), MDM, MDA, psilocybin, and psilocina (a substance found in some psychoactive fungi), the mescaline (present in the peyote), the salvinorin (present in the salvia divinorum) and the DMT (present in the ayahuasca) among others substances like the ibogaine (present in the Iboga) or the THC (present in the flowers of cannabis). But for this proposal I retrieved the LSD and the MDMA because these are substances that have a great degree of certainty in their use for treating PTSD-assisted therapies and research.
Few aspects of the Psychedelics and the Mexican Institutional framework
In Mexico there isn’t any institution that only takes over the control of psychoactive substances, what we understand as drug control system in Mexico is a complex network of rules, programs and legislation are connected from the control of the supply through the security -where it’s included the Secretariat of Nave and Defense, Mexican Navy, Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR, in its Spanish initials) – giving the demand of control and treatment to the public health; Ministry of Health, the National Commissions against Addictions,National Institute of Psychiatry, and among other local agencies. This network also includes the laws such as the General Health Act, the Criminal Code, and the Federal Code of Criminal Procedure those report the rules, the penalties, and the restrictions on the control of substances where the judiciary is forced to act. However, there is a gap between the implementations of standards and compliance.
In this situation, examples such as the General Law of Health -that dates back to 1984 and whose direct antecedent are the sanitary codes – are conceived as hybrids of the system because they include elements of international laws such as the list of banned substance included in the international conventions, as well as local regulations regarding the sanitary control. Therefore, that exceptional measure should be applied. In Mexico the MDMA and LSD penalize in the articles of the General Health Act (xi) concerning psychotropic substances starting with article 245 which prohibits its chemical formula, on the other hand article 247 prohibits any act with respect to the two substances such as prescription, scientific research, including storage and productions; however, and in a paradoxical way, the article 249 and subsequent give guideline for use in scientific research with due accreditation of health, stipulated in the articles 251 and the 252. For its part, the Article 479 indicates the amount of possession decriminalized for immediate personal consumption but not for therapeutic use, so access to pure substances with pharmaceutical grade or request permission to manufacture them or importing them is risky and almost impossible.
Psychedelics and legislative innovation in the therapeutics
In the current context where health authorities have eased through the advocacy and lobbying to allow the import of CBD (xii) from a decision of a District Court judge for medical purposes, and with the already known protection granted to SMART (xiii) where the highest constitutional court of Mexico “has determined that the absolute prohibition for the consumption of marijuana is unconstitutional” I propose a strategy for the use of similar resources to promote the use of some substances psychoactive with high therapeutic potential and they are currently blocked by the current standards. In Mexico the General Law of health and Federal Code of criminal procedure and the Criminal Code prohibit any act inherent to the consumption of LSD and MDMA, although apparently consumption is not punishable. In this way scientific research and their use in therapy are clogged for using by the prohibitions stipulated in the legislation. Therefore, that required review and reform are very important.
Sample of the previous thing found in the measurement of the disorder study post-traumatic stress (PTSD) in Mexican university students (xiv) conducted by the National Institute of Psychiatry notes that a high number of young people live in tension by conflicts with organized crime. In Mexico the use of LSD and MDMA – assisted therapy could help such victims as well as others causes of PTSD with a high prevalence in the country such as: human trafficking, kidnapping and rape. Currently the perception and recognitions of the legitimate use (xv) MDMA (xvi) due to the huge number of stories – more than 500 last year- as well as the publication of scientific articles and mentions of the experiments that the Multidisciplinary Association for Psiquedelic Studies (xvii) has made from the mid-80s of the last century and which envision that for year 2021 psychedelic therapy will be normalized in the U.S.
The main challenge of Mexican drug policy is to include innovative measures. (xviii) Mexico has to remain a benchmark of transformation (xix) at the regional level to pacify the structural challenges imposed by the institutions of health, security, and justice. The series of laws, rules, and regulations advocate and include forms in that the state must act against the use and the control of psychoactive substances, in practice only be governed by a single concept: the widespread ban. Here intends to reform drug policy where contemplating the effective decriminalization for the medical and scientific use of MDMA and LSD as the first substance use as it is approved by the FDA (xx) in the United States. It is in the hands of the scientific community and civil society organizations establish and oiling gear public institutions to give a turn with a focus on public health to take advantage of the therapeutic potential of the psychedelics, keeping strict restrictions and under the highest standards. In an environment of voluntary regulations which are more observable on the horizon.
[i] AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION (APA), 2000, Trastorno por estrés postraumático en Diagnostic of Mental Disorders DSM -IV-. Barcelona: Masson. p 434-440.
[ii]MERCADO, Edith, Rosas Luis E., 2014, Acceso a medicamentos huérfanos en la SCJN una decisión trascendental.
[iii] DÍAZ, José Luis, 2014, Salvia Divinorum: enigma psicofarmacológico y resquicio mente-cuerpo, en Revista Salud Mental, Vol, 37 , No.3, Mayo-junio, México, Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatría , p 183.
[iv] HOFMANN, Albert, 1980, LSD My problem child, Estados Unidos, McGraw Hill Book Company, p 102.
[v] HOFMANN, Albert, 1991, LSD: cómo descubrí el ácido y qué pasó después en el mundo, Gedisa Barcelona, España, p 11.
[vi]WEBER, Bruce, 2014, Alexander Shulgin, Psychedelica Researcher Dies at 88, en New york Times versión online.
[vii] SCHOLTEN, Hernán S. E., 2011, Los usos de los alucinógenos en psicoterapia argentina 1955-1965 en Historia de la Psicología, Cát. I, Facultad de Psicología, UBA. “Programa de Estudios Históricos de la Psicología en la Argentina”, Instituto de Investigaciones, Facultad de Psicología, UBA. Proyecto UBACyT P088. Consultado en Bia Labate.net
[ix]KRUPEY G.J, 1995, The High and the Mighty: JFK, MPM, LSD and the CIA, consultado en EROWID blog
[x] LEARY Timothy, METZNER Ralph, ALPERT Richard, The Psychedelic Experience, 2003, Citadel Underground, Estados Unidos, p 19.
[xiii] Smart Club is the first club in Mexico authorized cannabis to cultivate.
[xiv] MENDOZA Mojica Sheila Adriana et. al: 2013 Medición del trastorno por estrés postraumático de (TEPT) en universitarios mexicanos, Vol. 36, No. 6, noviembre-diciembre, México, Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatría.
[xvi] BURGE, Brad, 2015, Las ciencias y la medicina psicodélica del siglo XXI, Conferencia Magistral Congreso Drogas, Política y Cultura: Perspectivas Brasil-México 5 y 6 de octubre del 2015, CIESAS Occidente, Guadalajara, Jalisco. México en Consultado en Blog Drogas-México Brasil.
[xvii] La asociación Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies has invested about $ 23 million in research and promotion of psychedelic therapy.
[xviii]LOPEZ Portillo Ernesto, 2015, Drogas y Reducción de riesgos y daños un posible salto al futuro en la CDMX, en Animal Político Online.
[xx] Protocol approved by the Food and Drug Administration FDA in 2002 for the scientific use of MDMA.