For the first time in nearly 50 years, researchers are being allowed to study the medical properties of one of the most tightly controlled substances ever created: lysergic acid diethylamide or LSD.
Despite generating some promising results with psychedelics in treating psychiatric conditions, alcoholism, and modeling mental illness, in 1968 the government classified LSD as a Schedule I substance. This meant that even for research, control of this mind-altering substance had been significantly tightened.
It’s only now, as a new generation of scientists are beginning to return to the thought that it can be used as medicine, that the world is finally turning their backs on the stigma (when rumors spread about a person jumping out of a 4th story window while under the influence of LSD, there was mass hysteria surrounding the possible psychotic dangers of the drug ) that has troubled psychedelic science in the past. As more limitations are lifted from the range of scientific research, innovations in fields such as holistic health, psychotherapy, and medicine will continue to emerge.
A recently completed Swiss study found that two LSD-assisted psychotherapy sessions had successfully diminished anxiety in end-of-life patients.
According to the study, which was the first “double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation of LSD-assisted psychotherapy since the early 1970s,” 11 of the 12 subjects had not previously done LSD and there weren’t any serious unpleasant or harmful effects of the drug, even in people facing death.
The study was conducted by Peter Gasser, M.D., who wrote a letter to friends and colleagues at its conclusion. In his letter, he writes that “all the 12 participants reported a benefit from the treatment.”
He goes on to say:
I am proud to say that we had in 30 sessions (22 with full dose 200 μg LSD and 8 with placebo dose 20 μg LSD) no severe side effects such as psychotic experiences or suicidal crisis or flashbacks or severe anxieties (bad trips)…That means that we can show that LSD treatment can be safe when it is done in a carefully controlled clinical setting.
The paper was accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease in December. You can read the full results of the monumental study in this clinical report.
This promising study should continue to pave the way for research regarding therapeutic applications as well as psychological and scientific implications of LSD.
It is clear that psychedelics may offer a resolution to countless traumas or ailments suffered by the general population. Perhaps it may even lead the way for people to expand their consciousness and gain a deeper understanding of themselves, the planet, and their connection with everyone around them.
MAPS founder Rick Doblin pointed out in a 2012 interview that “psychedelics are off-patent, can’t be monopolized, and compete with other psychiatric medications that people take daily.”
According to the DEA, it takes about nine months to get FDA and DEA approval for a license to research Schedule I substances such as LSD, though researchers are a little more skeptical. It appears that the main issue with studying these psychedelics for medical use is simply that no pharmaceutical company wants (or needs) to get involved since there is no money in it for them.
Interested in supporting this kind of research? Consider donating to MAPS.