Tag Archives: LSD

Medical Research: the Acid Test

This article, originally posted in 2012, is being re-posted today in honour of Bicycle Day.

Psychelic artwork of Jimi Hendrix

Jimi approves of this blog post!

Some time last year I suggested that if a psychedelic substance is alleged to have a medicinal or therapeutic use, we should be studying it scientifically, not prosecuting people who import it (see the post: Free Peter Aziz!). Now it appears that a load of scientists at Harvard Medical School have heeded my words and done just that! Either that or they have succeeded in convincing their University to pay for them to get off their faces for the weekend.Apparently a “new” study in the Journal of Pharmacology suggests that LSD can be used to treat alcoholism – because the effect of going on a trip can cause the acid-head to re-evaluate his addiction from a Higher perspective. I say “new” but this is the Daily Telegraph we’re talking about, and given their reputation for up to the minute scientific reportage it was probably published back in the sixties. Apparently, though, it was quite a party because they had 536 volunteers.

Lick here! You might be one of the lucky twenty-five.

Note: the basic principle – that a psychedelic agent can enable one to take control of an illness, by allowing one to view it from a state of expanded consciousness – is pretty much identical with the rationale behind Ayahuasca use. However, the difference would be that with one you would be sorting out your problems whilst listening to Jimi Hendrix and early Pink Floyd; with the other you would be doing so whilst chundering mightily.At some point, however, all these scientists are going to get a clue that it isn’t necessarily the drug but the psychedelic state that causes the beneficial effects: hence they should be working to induce the state without artificial means.


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Scientists rave about cure for depression!

Well, this has cheered me up!

Earlier this year I reported that researchers in America got mashed up and off their faces conducted serious research into LSD being used for psychotherapeutic purposes. It now appears that scientists in Britain have got in on the act as well. Moreover, they are not just confining their studies to Tabs but expanding it to Es and Shrooms as well. It is alleged, for example, that whilst under the influence of Ecstacy (MDMA), patients are more amenable to forms of psychotherapy.

Now, your humble blogmaster has been saying for some time that psychoactive substances ought to be seriously investigated to see if they have a medical application, rather than being banned outright (e.g. see here). The circumstances surrounding the genesis of the study by Imperial College, referenced above, highlight just how difficult this is to achieve in practice. Whilst it is theoretically possible for scientist to use controlled substances such as LSD, MDMA and Psilocybin for research purposes, in practice they are restricted in doing so by (a) serious risk of damage to their careers and (b) funding bodies not willing to fund research. Case in point: the lead researcher for Imperial College is none other than Professor David Nutt, who has already been sacked from the UK Government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs for daring to suggest that alcohol and tobacco are more harmful than LSD, ecstacy and cannabis.

Admittedly it was the last government that sacked Professor Nutt, although the current government does not appear to have any more liberal views on drug research. Tellingly, funding for research into psychoactive substances in both the Unites States and Britain does not come from any public sources, but from private institutions such as the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Substances (US) and the Beckley Foundation (UK).

The irony is that researchers may indeed come up with compelling evidence that currently controlled substances have a therapeutic use, which is impeccable from a methodological point of view (i.e. it is controlled, double-blinded, peer reviewed and all the rest); and yet it still will not lead to any change because Government policy is decided on politcal grounds, not on science.

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