Since its discovery in the 1938, LSD has generated a colorful fan-base. With influential, frontier-thinkers such as Aldous Huxley, Fancis Crick and Steve Jobs having remarked on inspirational experiences during their LSD experimentation, it is no surprise that many in our society resist the intimidation of federal fear mongering and have daringly ventured into the lysergic realms for themselves. Thanks to increasing public awareness, along with the deluge of testimonies from a wide array of individuals speaking on its behalf, the research of LSD is yet again underway since its uninformed halt in 1967.
A recent study, published by the Cambridge University Press, bodes well for LSD’s medicinal efficacy. A research team from Imperial College London devised an experiment that has provided conclusive evidence that LSD can “improve psychological wellbeing in the mid-to-long term.” For the experiment, the team, led by professor David Nutt, found 20 physically and psychologically healthy volunteers. Each volunteer was to undergo two treatment sessions, one with LSD and the other a saline placebo, with atleast 2 weeks between sessions.
In order to determine how each individual was affected by their experience, the volunteers participated in a follow-up after each session to detect any changes in outlook, attitude and/or psychological stability in comparison to the pre-study screening. The acute subjective effects were measured using the Psychotomimetic States Inventory (PSI) and Altered States of Consciousness questionnaire. Also, a measure of optimism, NEO Personality Inventory, and the Peter’s Delusions Inventory were given to each volunteer, first at the beginning of the study and then again 2 weeks after each session.
On the day of their treatment, the subjects were administered an LSD dose of 75 µg, intravenously. During the sessions, monitors observed “robust psychological effects” such as heightened mood, as well as some mild psychosis-like symptoms. However, high levels of optimism and openness were observed in the follow-ups 2 weeks after the LSD session (and not the placebo), along with no changes to delusional thinking.
“The present findings reinforce the view that psychedelics elicit psychosis-like symptoms acutely yet improve psychological wellbeing in the mid to long term,” the team states in their findings. “It is proposed that acute alterations in mood are secondary to a more fundamental modulation in the quality of cognition, and that increased cognitive flexibility subsequent to serotonin 2A receptor (5-HT2AR) stimulation promotes emotional lability during intoxication and leaves a residue of ‘loosened cognition’ in the mid to long term that is conducive to improved psychological wellbeing.”
While only a snowflake in a much needed avalanche, these findings mark yet another victory for the field of psychoactive substance research. With more results like this coming into light, the amount of evidence in favor of psychiatric treatment through regulated administration of entheogenic substances will one day be so abundant that there will be no denying their potential.
Carhart-Harris, R. L., M. Kalen, M. Bolstridge, T. M. Williams, L. T. Williams, R. Underwood, A. Feilding, and D. J. Nutt. “The Paradoxical Psychological Effects of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD).” Psychological Medicine. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.
Thanks to Timewheel for this article