Andrew Sullivan’s blog The Daily Dish had an interesting article on the use of psychedelics to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and life-threatening illnesses.  The first study in decades on the psychotherapeutic benefits of LSD found that it could help patients cope with life-threatening illnesses:

"The controlled, double-blind study, which was conducted in Switzerland under the direction of Swiss psychiatrist Peter Gasser, measured the impact of LSD-assisted psychotherapy on 12 people with life-threatening diseases (mainly terminal cancer). “The study was a success in the sense that we did not have any noteworthy adverse effects,” Gasser says. “All participants reported a personal benefit from the treatment, and the effects were stable over time.”

Initially eight subjects received a full 200-microgram dose of LSD while the other four got one-tenth as much. After two LSD-assisted therapy sessions two to three weeks apart, the subjects in the full-dose group experienced reductions in anxiety that averaged 20 percent, as measured by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, while the other subjects became more anxious. When the low-dose subjects were switched to the full dose, their anxiety levels went down too. The positive effects persisted a year later. “These results indicate that when administered safely in a methodologically rigorous medically supervised psychotherapeutic setting, LSD can reduce anxiety,” Gasser and his colleagues conclude, “suggesting that larger controlled studies are warranted.”