NPR does LSD

LSD_clinical_trial_bottle
A bottle of LSD from a Swiss clinical trial for end-of-life anxiety in cancer patients, circa 2007, conducted by Dr. Peter Gasser, sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.

Ladies and gentlemen, the ongoing incursion of the new psychedelic research renaissance into the mainstream American mediasphere has officially reached critical mass. Behold NPR:

Today, psychedelic drug research is coming back, and scientists are picking up where Leary and other researchers left off, conducting experiments on therapeutic uses of these drugs. But the research still faces stigma, and funding is hard to get.

. . . Stanislav Grof was one of the leading researchers on the therapeutic applications of LSD in the 1950s and ’60s. He studied the effect of hallucinogens on mental disorders, including addiction. Grof says LSD seemed to accelerate treatment of mental illness exponentially. “It was quite extraordinary,” Grof tells NPR’s Arun Rath. “This was a tremendous deepening and acceleration of the psychotherapeutic process, and compared with the therapy in general, which mostly focuses on suppression of symptoms, here we had something that could actually get to the core of the problems.”

But the pervasive image of LSD was that it was not an acceptable treatment. The Schedule 1 classification of LSD and other hallucinogenic substances in 1970 was a huge blow to research. Grof abandoned his experiments on alcoholism. Through the “Just Say No” campaigns of the 1980s, no researchers were willing to jump through all the hoops necessary to study stigmatized drugs.

But by the ’90s, attitudes had begun to change, and there was a flurry of studies on psychedelic drugs. By the 2000s, a small but growing research community was picking up where Grof and others had left off.

. . . [Charles Grob of the University of California, Los Angeles] has been approved to begin a new study next month on social anxiety in adults on the autism spectrum and the drug MDMA. He says the country needs to recognize that the ’60s are over and that Timothy Leary is gone and no longer on the stage. “I believe we are on the threshold of some very exciting discoveries,” he says, “that the health field can only benefit from.”

FULL STORY: “The ’60s Are Gone, but Psychedelic Research Trip Continues

Image by Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (http://www.maps.org/images/lsdimages.html) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

About Matt Cardin

Teeming Brain founder and editor Matt Cardin is the author of DARK AWAKENINGS, DIVINATIONS OF THE DEEP, A COURSE IN DEMONIC CREATIVITY: A WRITER'S GUIDE TO THE INNER GENIUS, and the forthcoming TO ROUSE LEVIATHAN. He is also the editor of BORN TO FEAR: INTERVIEWS WITH THOMAS LIGOTTI and the academic encyclopedias MUMMIES AROUND THE WORLD, GHOSTS, SPIRITS, AND PSYCHICS: THE PARANORMAL FROM ALCHEMY TO ZOMBIES, and HORROR LITERATURE THROUGH HISTORY.

Posted on March 14, 2014, in Health & Medicine, Society & Culture and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Hazard J Gibbon

    As interesting as this is, the research being done on ketamine looks even more promising ( http://www.cureswithinreach.org/research/search-complete-research/research-projects/225-ketamine-for-autism ). LSD is too unpredictable to ever be a widespread treatment (but what do I know, i’m only a quack with a PHD in bullshitting) for things like autism and depression, but ketamine was Leary’s fabled 8th circuit rocketship, and maybe what people with too much going on in their sensorium ( severe autistic people especially )need is some psychedelic disassociation (rather than the opening experience that LSD provides) to batten down the hatches.

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