Drug policy FAIL: LSD for cluster headaches
Newsweek has an interesting feature on LSD as an experimental therapy for cluster headaches. Cluster headaches are excruciatingly painful and often resistant to existing treatments. Anecdotal reports suggest that LSD can help sufferers.
Unfortunately, US drug laws preclude clinical trials. LSD is a so-called Schedule 1 drug, which means that the Drug Enforcement Agency has decreed a priori that it has no medical application.
The DEA is a law enforcement agency dedicated to drug prohibition. It has neither the expertise nor the inclination to evaluate the medical potential of controlled substances dispassionately. What if the DEA is wrong about the medical value of LSD? We'll never find out because it's illegal to do research on Schedule 1 drugs.
Update: In theory it's possible to apply for waivers to study Schedule 1 drugs, but according to Newsweek, "[t]hese drugs are so restricted by the DEA that researchers at the country's top universities find it almost impossible to get the permission and funding necessary to study the substances in humans." Legal clearance for a large scale clinical trial is inconceivable in the current climate.