Trials of a psychedelic drug developed as a medicine with the potential to cure addictions are to begin next year.

Technology investors have pumped millions of dollars into Mindmed, which wants to test a chemical compound derived from a hallucinogenic West African shrub that has been known since the 1960s to switch off symptoms for a range of addictions.

There is a catch, however: ibogaine, the key ingredient in the non-hallucinogenic compound 18-MC, is classified as a Schedule 1 drug in the US, making possession illegal and subject to the same restrictions as LSD or ecstasy.

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