Would You Take LSD to Treat Depression and Anxiety?

Mar 6, 2015 at 1:34 pm |
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Decades before the Beatles penned “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” LSD was a popular drug among artists, actors, musicians… and scientists.

From its discovery by the chemist Albert Hofmann in Switzerland in 1938 – and the unintentional discovery of its psychedelic properties in 1943 – LSD was a promising drug that was used for a range of clinical experiments and treatments, from personality disorders to depression and alcoholism, and even as a font for creativity.

The United States DEA, however, saw the drug’s negative effects and potential for abuse (and moral decay, no doubt), and after California banned the substance in 1966, other states quickly followed suit. The 1971 UN Constitution also required all members to ban the substance, though it continued to permit medical and scientific research with the drug on humans.

Earlier this week, The New York Times published an article about the Swiss psychiatrist that is conducting the first controlled trial of using LSD complimentary with traditional therapy.

The 12 subjects of the test were terminally ill patients, most of whom have cancer, who first met with the Swiss therapist Dr. Gasser to become acquainted with him and his office. Then they began the drug tests, during which patients were given controlled doses of LSD and then remained with the doctor or an assistant for several hours while the drug took its effects.

“I can’t guarantee you won’t have intense distress, but I can tell you that if you do, it will pass.” – Dr. Gasser to his patients

According to the study, patients that received full doses of the drug showed a noticeable improvement in anxiety levels as they went on with the final months and years of their lives. Patients that took a weak dose of LSD showed a worsening in their emotional distress.

Rick Doblin, executive director of one of the study’s financing organizations, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, stated,

“The effort is both political and scientific. We want to break these substances out of the mold of the counterculture and bring them back to the lab as part of a psychedelic renaissance. [….] It’s a proof of concept. It shows that this kind of trial can be done safely, and that it’s very much worth doing.”

While the controlled trial was too small to draw any definitive conclusions, it certainly might be the first important LSD test to impact the future of hallucinogens in the psychiatric and therapeutic industries.

So, would you try it?

Banned across the world back in the ’60s, could LSD be the future of therapeutic drugs? Be the first to know!