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LSD for Mental Health

LSD Blotter
LSD for Mental Health LSD for mental health treatment is once again starting to be looked at by science and psychiatry. Though psychedelics have been used for centuries in ceremonial and medicinal contexts, the exploration into the nature of the LSD experience for the treatment of depression and other mental health concerns has been occurring since its synthesis and eventual accidental ingestion by Albert Hoffman in 1943. Early studies and trials, though usually not conducted under contemporary standards, showed to be promising, highlighting LSD’s efficacy for studying human psychopathology and consciousness. However, its rise in popularity as a recreational substance in the 1960s saw political and societal pushback that resulted in LSD being made illegal and most research halted. The renewed scientific interest in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy has seen studies confirming the results of those done in the ’60s, but the stigma of the substance still remains, and thus so do the legal and financial barriers to its research.
Managing Depression with LSD
Early trials, such as one by Savage et al. (1973), for LSD and depression (more specifically for neurotic symptomatology), found that significant improvements (mainly focused on symptomatology and self-actualization) were observed. The LSD treatment group also showed statistical superiority with respect to both the active placebo (LSD) control group and “usual treatment” control group in a subscale of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory F scale, focused on general psychopathology. Currently, the department of Psychiatry Basel, Switzerland (the city where LSD was first synthesized by Albert Hoffman in 1938) is conducting a Phase 2 randomized, double-blind, active-placebo-controlled trial using LSD for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder, with the study estimated to be completed by December of 2023.
Substance Abuse Management and LSD

Most of the early research into LSD was done so for the investigation of its use for treating substance abuse disorders, specifically alcoholism. Humphry Osmond was an English Psychiatrist and a pioneer in the field of psychedelic research, in fact, he was the one who coined the term “psychedelic” (meaning mind-manifesting, or mind-revealing). During the 1950s, Osmond noticed that some individuals were only able to give up drinking after an episode of delirium tremens, and attempted to replicate this state in patients by giving them high doses of LSD. This came to be known as the psychedelic treatment model, and he claimed to have achieved a fifty-percent success rate. 

One of Osmond’s patients during this time was Bill W., co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. However, Bill W. hoped to recapture a mystical state of consciousness that he had experienced, years earlier, without a drug, highlighting the potential for LSD to enable spiritual insight, rather than a delirium tremens type of experience. Today, psilocybin (the main psychoactive compound found in magic mushrooms), is being explored for the treatment of alcoholism, with one study finding levels of abstinence increasing significantly following psilocybin administration. This highlights the need for further research and controlled trials with psychedelics, with larger sample sizes, to investigate efficacy and mechanisms.   

LSD and Alzheimers
Early research into the effects of recreational microdosing (the act of taking a sub-hallucinogenic dose of a psychedelic), though vulnerable to bias, has demonstrated reports of improved cognitive focus and attention. This, paired with evidence for LSD and psilocybin to stimulate neurogenesis, has highlighted a potential therapeutic model for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia subtypes, which currently has no disease-modifying treatments. This further highlights the need for studies involving both microdoses and macrodoses to be studied in populations suffering from cognitive impairment. If you’re interested in exploring LSD as a means to cultivate healing or well-being, consult with a psychedelic therapist beforehand. You can find one in your area on Frshminds.


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1 Comment

August 22, 2021 at 9:57 am

Personally, I think I am a better person for having done LSD in my youth.

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