There is a lot of stigma regarding the use of recreational drugs for medicinal purposes. This is because recreational drugs are generally used illegally in means that the authorities haven’t recommended. But just because it’s generally illegal doesn’t mean that it isn’t actually beneficial. The majority of recreational drugs have also been used for many beneficial purposes rather than just for fun, and a lot of these uses have also had preliminary and some even further studies conducted on their benefits.
Here are some of the drugs that are used recreationally, but are also of a lot of use for medicinal purposes, from a scientific point of view.
While methamphetamine continues to be a huge problem around the world, the drug itself is also used to treat sufferers of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The similar chemical compound, dextroamphetamine, has long been used for ADHD sufferers (the majority of which are children) in the form of common forms like Ritalin and Adderall. Desoxyn, methamphetamine hydrochloride, is also (less commonly) used in treatment.
While the drug has a focusing effect, it is also abused by others as a stimulant, with many university students illegally obtaining the drugs to enhance their studies. The majority of methamphetamine drugs misuse is on the black market form of the substance, not the prescribed medicine.
Magic Mushrooms (Psilocybin)
The hallucinogenic effects of magic mushrooms have long been reported in the media, alongside the similar effects of the drug LSD. Magic mushrooms are found naturally, occurring in certain conditions where mushrooms grow. The mushrooms are consumed recreationally to enter an altered state of consciousness.
A study in 1996 found that a man with body dysmorphic disorder, a condition characterized by the person seeing their body not as it actually appears, experienced a condition change when dosed with the psilocybin drug wherein his body appeared differently than he usually presumed it did, leading him to doubt whether his body was distorted at all.
A study by various authors in 2011 also discovered that psilocybin intake resulted in test subjects’ “unrestrained cognition.” Unrestrained cognition could have many benefits for sufferers of all sorts of mental disorders, including depression, due to the insight they may find regarding their condition.
Ketamine has recently been involved in a series of off-label prescriptions for depression. The drug is currently used medicinally intravenously in micro-doses which have the effect of curing many patients depression – at least for a short while, especially in suicidal patients. A previous study found that ketamine has “rapid beneficial effects on suicidal cognition,” effectively saving subjects from suicidal tendencies, at least for a brief while.
Traditionally, for people, the drug is used as an anesthetic, and is relatively common among veterinarians for the same purpose.
As recreational drugs, people report the effects as a dream-like state, almost like a trance. It is a relatively common “club drug” in the UK.
Long a contentious drug, cannabis has recently been reclassified in many places around the world as a medicinal rather than recreational drug, although it is still being taken by many recreationally.
As a medicinal substance, cannabinoids have been shown in studies to be superior to other drugs in reducing vomiting following chemotherapy in cancer patients. Studies have also found that cannabis treatment is a moderately effective pain relief medication in those patients who are suffering from chronic pain.
The medicinal effects of cannabis have been touted for centuries, but only just recently has science caught up in finding that it actually is an effective treatment for many conditions.
Until now, cannabis drugs use has been purely recreational, with the drug itself being the most commonly used recreational drug around the globe. The effects of the drug makes users feel happy and relaxed, and can often induce a feeling of hunger, making it also a potentially useful drug in the treatment of anorexia, a condition whereby suffers are compelled not to eat.
And these are just a few recreational drugs that also may be useful for medicinal purposes. While there are still being studies undertaken in clinical environments to determine the effects of various recreational drugs on various conditions, the results are neither widespread nor studied enough to place them in the same category as cannabis.
Recreational drugs have reportedly had significant positive effects, especially in the field of mental conditions, making them an important area of study in the coming years. With mental conditions on the rise we need to ensure that we are treating patients in all the ways that we know how.