In the latest issue of Nature Reviews Neuroscience, leading scientists argue that the UN conventions on drugs in the 1960s and 1970s, which outlawed drugs with psychoactive substances such as marijuana, is hindering research into potentially significant medicinal uses, estimating that research in key areas such as consciousness has been set back by decades.
Report authors Professor David Nutt and Professor David Nichols contend that the illegal status of psychoactive drugs makes it almost impossible to examine their mechanisms of action and potential therapeutic uses.
Nutt, a professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, stated that the ban is “motivated by politics, not science” and characterized it as "the worst case of scientific censorship since the Catholic Church banned the works of Copernicus and Galileo.”
Nutt and Nichols, a professor at UNC Chapel Hill, have called for a more rational approach to drug regulation that would empower researchers to make advancements in the field of neuroscience and uncover new treatments in areas such as depression and PTSD.
The call for reform has been endorsed by the British Neuroscience Association and the British Association for Psychopharmacology.