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5 "Party Drugs" That Scientists are Studying for Real Benefits

What to know about these five party drugs, according to experts

Everyone knows by now that cannabis isn't just something to take to pass the time or get high with friends. It has real medical benefits for health issues that range from helping ease the pain with cancer treatments to seizures, Alzheimer's disease, glaucoma and more. "Recreational use of cannabinoids, particularly marijuana, is widespread, largely for its effects on mood and relaxation. Clinically, medical marijuana is already prescribed for a wide array of medical needs, including insomnia, anxiety, chronic pain, and suppressed appetite, and other cannabinoid-related drugs have been investigated for additional uses such as antidepressants," Ian Mahar, a Neuroscientist (PhD Neuroscience at McGill University, Postdoctoral Fellow Neurology at Boston University tells Eat This, Not That! Health. So that raises the question- if cannabis offers real benefits, medically speaking, then it's likely that other party drugs do the same. We spoke with experts who reveal which party drugs actually help patients with certain ailments and explain how.  As always please consult with your physician before taking any medications. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Ketamine–Also Known As "Special K"

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Thewanda Peterson, MSN, CRNA Owner Jirah Anesthesia Services, PLLC explains, ""Special K' is the street name given to the legal drug, Ketamine. Ketamine has been recreationally abused because of its dissociative effects. The dissociative effects of the drug creates a feeling of separation of the mind (brain) and the body. Ketamine distorts perception of sight and sound. Users party with the drug because, when abused, it gives the user an out of control feeling and a disconnection. 'Special K' can increase blood pressure and heart rate. For those who party with 'Special K,' it can create serious harm and can be fatal, especially if it's mixed with other drugs. It can seriously impair the users judgment, creating hallucinations and therefore, can be very dangerous as it creates a disconnection from reality. Since the 1970s Ketamine has been safely used and is FDA approved an anesthetic (for anesthesia) and an analgesic (for pain). As an anesthesia provider, I safely administer Ketamine daily in the operating room setting. Ketamine is frequently in the ERs daily as well. Wasn't until the 1990s that Ketamine was found to be effective in those suffering from depression. Fast forward to today, Ketamine is no longer beneficial for just anesthesia and analgesia, but has shown profound benefits for those suffering from mental health disorders like, Treatment-resistant depression, Anxiety disorders, Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD), Bi-Polar disorder, as well as chronic pain." 



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Mahar says, "People take hallucinogens (like 'magic mushrooms,' with active ingredients like psilocybin or psilocin) for a wide range of reasons, from personal development to spiritual to recreational to therapeutic. Clinically, researchers are investigating psilocybin as a promising agent for depression and anxiety."



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Mahar states, "LSD is another hallucinogen that, like psilocybin/psilocin, is taken for a wide array of reasons in non-research settings. But researchers have been interested in its clinical benefit for several decades, with potential uses including alcoholism, anxiety, and depression treatment."

Chaye McIntosh, Clinical Director, ChoicePoint adds, "LSD is a mind-altering substance. LSD produces its typical hallucinogenic effects by interacting with serotonin receptors in the brain. It regulates your mood and behavior, as well as your senses and thoughts. That said, LSD has been used to treat anxiety, depression, psychosomatic illnesses, and addiction. LSD's possible therapeutic applications include the treatment of alcoholism and depression."




According to Mahar, "People take MDMA (or ecstasy/E/molly, as party drugs) to feel a sense of happiness or pleasure, empathy, and enhanced sensation. Clinical research has shown promising results for its potential use in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with MDMA-assisted therapy in a clinical setting."

McIntosh says, "MDMA changes mood and perception (awareness of surrounding objects and conditions). It produces sensations of enhanced energy, pleasure, emotional warmth, and confused sensory and temporal perception. But it can also stimulate dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in the brain."



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McIntosh explains, "GHB is a recreational drug that causes exhilaration, relaxation and sociability. GHB is used to lose weight, develop muscle, and alleviate certain fibromyalgia symptoms such as pain and sleep issues. More uses are to promote relaxation, drowsiness, and alternative to the dietary supplement. Occasionally used to counter withdrawal symptoms of narcotics and alcohol. It's also used to stimulate sexual excitement."

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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