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“How do you study mind-altering drugs when every clinical-trial participant knows they’re tripping?” Randomized controlled clinical trials are the gold standard for medical research, but perhaps a different approach is needed with psychoactive drugs.

Discussion  6 comments

Brian W

Not to be a stickler, but shouldn't the subtitle be "How do you study mind-altering drugs when every clinical-trial participant knows IF they're tripping"? BC the trouble is that for the participants receiving the placebo they know that they are NOT tripping, no?


I think it's a question of knowing that the participant's honest. At least up to a point, a dishonest participant can fake it.
Meanwhile, I'm stuck at the point where by and by this is an actual problem.

Reply in this thread

Brian W

I mean, unless this guy is one of the participants....

MacRae Linton

Relevant XKCD

I'm curious to see how this shakes out! It is kind of wild how strong the placebo effect always is, but there are definitely things worth understanding that are impossible to placebo

Kim D.

Are there different types of pyschoactive drugs? Compare them against each other perhaps?


Only partly sarcastic: FOIL the CIA's records of how they studies MKULTRA "test subjects" (victims). Might be some insight there.
As I noted in a reply somewhere here, I'm not so sre that it's that big of a problem but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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