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  1. torachi
    The first clinical LSD study on the planet in over 35 years is almost complete. The Santa Cruz Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is currently sponsoring this research, which began in 2008, when Swiss psychiatrist Peter Gasser, M.D., became the first medical researcher in the world to obtain government approval to do therapeutic research with LSD since 1972.

    Before 1972, nearly 700 studies with LSD and other psychedelic drugs were conducted. This research suggested that LSD has remarkable medical potential. LSD-assisted psychotherapy was shown to reduce the anxiety of terminal cancer patients, the drinking of alcoholics, and the symptoms of many difficult-to-treat psychiatric illnesses.

    For example, early LSD studies with advanced-stage cancer patients showed that LSD-assisted psychotherapy could alleviate symptoms of anxiety, tension, depression, sleep disturbances, psychological withdrawal, and even severe physical pain. Other early investigators found that LSD may have some valuable potential as a means to facilitate creativity, problem-solving abilities, and spiritual awareness.

    Between 1972 and 1990 there were no government-approved human studies with any psychedelic drugs anywhere in the world. Their disappearance was no mystery. The worldwide ban on psychedelic drug research was the result of a political backlash that followed the promotion of these drugs by the counterculture of the 1960s. This reaction not only made these substances illegal for personal use, it also made it extremely difficult for medical researchers to obtain government approval to study them.

    The situation began to change in 1990 when, according to MAPS President Rick Doblin, “open-minded regulators at the FDA decided to put science before politics when it came to psychedelic and medical marijuana research.” There are now over a half dozen clinical studies occurring worldwide that are examining the medical potential of psychedelic drugs.

    Gasser’s almost-completed, MAPS-sponsored LSD study is being conducted in Switzerland, where LSD was discovered in 1943 by Albert Hofmann. The study is examining how LSD-assisted psychotherapy effects the anxiety associated with suffering from an advanced, life-threatening illness. There are twelve subjects in the study with advanced-stage cancer and other serious illnesses.

    According to Gasser, so far the results look promising. Early researchers found that LSD-assisted psychotherapy has the incredible ability to help many people overcome their fear of death, and this is probably a major contributing factor in why the drug can be so profoundly helpful when people are facing a life-threatening illness.

    On May 26th the final subject in Gasser’s study completed his last experimental therapy session. The clinical team at MAPS is now conducting a preliminary data analysis, finalizing the study’s database for the FDA, and assisting Gasser in preparing a manuscript for publication.

    MAPS is also sponsoring other medical research into the psychotherapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs, and more studies are on the way. The medical and therapeutic value of LSD and other psychedelic drugs appears to be quite substantial--although, personally, I’m really looking forward to the day when this research can go beyond its initial potential as a psychotherapeutic tool, as well as a spiritual aid, and delve into the mysteries of creativity, psychic phenomena, and the possible reality of parallel universes and non-human entity contact.

    Meanwhile, it seems like these mysterious substances hold enormous potential for treating numerous psychiatric disorders. Evidence suggests that they have the ability to help us treat posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, end-of-life anxiety, cluster headaches, and other difficult-to-treat mental disorders, including, I suspect, the general neurosis that comes from simply being a human being.

    His complete interview with LSD researcher Peter Gasser is archived here

    http://santacruz.patch.com/articles/landmark-clinical-lsd-study-nears-completion

Comments

  1. Exitlude
    I hope I'm not exaggerating when I say this study has extraordinary potential. As with all drug reform attempts, the academic reports and clinical trials are what will drive the effort for the sensible use of psychedelics and acknowledging their genuine therapuetic potential. Thanks for posting this, I wasn't even aware this study was in the works, and will do some thorough reading into it.
  2. Terrapinzflyer
  3. C.D.rose
    Once again, let's please not mix the two subjects "psychedelics for medical purposes" and "psychedelics for recreational purposes". Of course the two subjects overlap, for example when it comes to assessing the safety of a given substance, but they are nonetheless two separate issues.

    Too often I have the impression that people like to use medical applications of substances as a vehicle for a broader agenda ("science shows LSD is good"), and I think that's wrong. If the recognition of the possibilities for medical use of substances facilitates a discussion about how to generally handle substances or drugs and whether to change legislation, I'm all for it, but medical research should still remain what it is: medical research, not drug legalization efforts.
  4. Terrapinzflyer
    While i by and large agree, medical research can prove (or disprove) the safety of these substances. And some do overlap, in terms of the "spiritul" or self inspection aspects.

    There is also the aspect that research can help change the public perception of these substances- allowjng the public to see a side many users know about, but that the public does not know.
  5. C.D.rose
    In my quote, you smartly deleted exactly the one phrase where I cited precisely that aspect as one of the points where the two issues overlap. ;)

    Of course medical research can have a significant impact on people's perception of certain substances, and that is a good thing. I just wanted to point out that the two issues are different and that the way to give patients access to helpful substances currently "frowned upon" is very different from the way to promote reasonable drug policies. If the former can help the latter, I am of course all for it.
  6. Terrapinzflyer
    :s missed that completely- was on my phone having a drink after work...
  7. C.D.rose
    Haha, don't worry! In fact it's quite funny, I was somehow thinking that you "appeared" to be a little drunk in your post: small i (instead of I), spiritul, allowjng... Then I checked the local time here (about 1AM), and calculated that it must have been something around 4PM in California, actually a little too early to be full-fledged drunk.. but a drink after work fits right in :)

    What I wanted to say though is that what provoked my earlier post was the end of last sentence of the news article:
    Maybe this was just supposed to be a humorous last line or something, but I just don't like it when people try to assimilate their (perfectly legitimate) recreational use of in this case LSD, to the medical needs of patients, particularly of patients with as severe medical conditions as the ones that preceded my quote. That's just all I wanted to express.
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