Does LSD Have Medical Benefits?

Lysergic acid diethylamide, also known as LSD and “Acid” is a psychedelic and hallucinogenic drug that was invented in 1943 by Albert Hofmann. The first person to do LSD and realize its powerful effects on the mind was Hofmann on April 19, 1943. This day is also known as “Bicycle Day” because Hofmann began to feel and notice the effects of the ingested LSD while he was riding his bike home. Upon his discovery Hofmann began to look for ways that LSD could be used for medicinal purposes. Other scientists began to do the same thing and there in fact over 1,000 scientific papers published studying the effects LSD can have on someone. Much research on LSD halted due to LSD becoming very popular in the 60’s due to the “hippie” and counterculture movement going on, particularly in America. Increased recreational use of the drug resulted in its prohibition. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency LSD is listed as a schedule 1 drug. Schedule 1 drugs and substances are said “to have no medical benefit and have a high potential of abuse” according to the DEA. 

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I personally believe that the DEA should not be the ones who decide what “schedule” level a drug should be. For example the DEA has also listed marijuana as a schedule 1 drug. This means that marijuana has “absolutely no medical value”, at least according to the federal government. This claim made by the DEA can be proven wrong very easily when it comes to marijuana. Just look at all of the states that have legalized medicinal marijuana, including Pennsylvania. Medicinal Marijuana has been proven to help with a multitude of health conditions such as cancer, PTSD, chronic pain, glaucoma and insomnia just to name a few.

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While there is no saying whether LSD has a high potential for abuse or not, the argument can be made that LSD does have some practical medical benefits. For example a study published Journal of Psychopharmacology in 2012, found that using LSD in combination with alcohol addiction programs helped decrease a person’s substance abuse. Another study, which was published in 2014 in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease found that when LSD was given to subjects under controlled conditions, over the course of two months, reduced the anxiety subjects had about terminal illness in the long term. All of the subjects in this study were facing advanced-stage terminal illness and decided to try this experiment to see if it could reduce their persistent anxiety. This experiment was a double-blind placebo trial in which the 12 subjects were either given a full dose of LSD (200 ug) or a placebo dose of LSD (20 ug) over the course of 30 sessions. In 22 of the sessions, subjects were given the full 200 ug dose of LSD and in 8 of the sessions the subjects were given the 20 ug Placebo dose. For reference, ~100 ug is the reported level of LSD needed to truly feel the effects but it varies from person to person. Even though it was small-scale the trial was a huge success in that ALL 12 patients reported feeling reduced levels of anxiety regarding their illnesses a full 12 months AFTER the trials had ended. This points to evidence that LSD may be very useful long term for an individual’s mental health.   

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1 thought on “Does LSD Have Medical Benefits?

  1. Erin Nicole Kemp

    If not the DEA, who do you suggest schedule drugs? Also, even if you don’t think LSD can be addictive I don’t think its a good idea to give it to recovering alcoholics because clearly they already have an addictive personality. That just might change their addiction from alcohol to LSD and I don’t know that that is any better.

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