LSD Making a Comeback In Therapy?

Via on Oct 4, 2009

happy pills

Take two tabs of LSD and see me in the morning.

Here in Boulder, we have an abundance of New Age, Eastern, obscure and alternative therapies available to help people. LSD, typically, is not one of them.

However, researchers are once again studying plant medicine, psychedelics, and Psilocybin as potential treatments for mental illness.

In a recent article titled “LSD returns–for Psychotherapeutics,” Scientific American explores the merits of LSD as a legitimate treatment for mental illness—and NPR reported on the issue, as well.

NPR explored the brain and spirituality. One piece, “Is God a Trip?” explored the benefits of Peyote for healing shingles.  Another piece, The God Chemical: Brain Chemistry and Mysticism, explores how a researcher at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center is studying peyote, LSD, and mushrooms, their location in the brain and their impact on our spiritual feelings.

So what’s the big deal?

As a psychotherapist and life-coach for the past five years, I have worked with a variety of clients who have tried just about everything to “heal” their ailments.

Modern pharmacology, a multi-billion dollar industry, promises to treat just about anything. Modern medication can and does help millions of people. Still, few treatments are “magic bullets,” and the side affects from pharmaceuticals can be harmful.

Then there’s medical marijuana, which was used by nearly 600,000 Americans last year to treat a variety of ailments and pain relief.

What if LSD, peyote, mushrooms, or marijuana became part of a legitimate, well respected treatment plan for clinicians? What would it have to look like? Could it be possible that these “illicit” substances actually heal people?

And what can we learn from how indigenous peoples used mind-altering plants and herbs therapeutically?

In the right hands and with quality supervision, could LSD really help people with anxiety, depression, or other conditions that afflict nearly half of the US population which is purported to have a mental illness?

It is likely that human suffering will ever really go away. But perhaps new treatments and therapies can help people better relate to, and manage the suffering they do experience.

What do you think?

For further reading, check out The History of LSD Therapy by Stanislov Grof, M.D.

About Jayson Gaddis

Jayson Gaddis, is a relationship specialist using the vehicle of his marriage and kids to wake up and live an empowered life. He’s on the planet to help people learn and master intimacy and relationship. He’s a husband and part-time stay-at-home Dad getting schooled by his two cosmic kids. Jayson is the host of Empowering Relationships TV and writes his own highly personal blog, and has also written for Integral Life, The Jungle of Life, Primer Magazine, Recovering Yogi, The Good Men Project. You can find him here: Jayson Gaddis or Fulfilling Marriage.

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8 Responses to “LSD Making a Comeback In Therapy?”

  1. I'm not a psychedelic drug user myself, but I do find it hypocritical at best that LSD is illegal and powerful antipsychotic drugs are a regular part of psychiatric drug treatment protocols.

    Personally I'd vote for making LSD psychotherapy a legal part of psychiatric medicine.

  2. Greg says:

    The root chemical of migraine medication is the same as LSD and Psilocybin, but for many people the pharmaceuticals don't work. In the Cluster Headache community it is well documented the relief that can be had by Psilocybin but given its status it holds severe penalties for those that posses it. It is good to hear it is being experimented with again as it hasn't been allowed due to its class 1 narcotic status.

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  4. jonesgirl says:

    lsd = wow. would be nice if we had some other frame of reference than "just say no". everyone is so different though. I think it will remain on the fringes. no doubt..

  5. JohnnyJ says:

    The problem with LSD (well, one problem), is that it lasts way too long. Seriously, 8 hours sometimes. That be much too much time on the couch, assuming (unlikely) that you'd be able to stay put for the "therapy."

  6. Anyone interested in the connections between spirituality and LSD should read "Paths To God–Living the Bhagavad Gita" by Ram Dass. Dass, as Richard Alpert, was one of the early LSD researchers in the '60s before he turned to Eastern religion, partly as a result of that experience.

    These are his 1974 lectures at Naropa, at which time he was still singing the praises of LSD as a path to enlightenment. (For all I know, perhaps he still is. Haven't had a chance to read his later work yet.)

    Today these lectures are alternately infuriating and exhilarating. Infuriating because of his glorification of hallucinogenic drug culture, absolute guru worship, claims of paranormal powers, and more. Exhilarating because, once you get beyond that, he is a brilliant interpreter of the Gita.

    Bob Weisenberg
    http://YogaDemystified.com

  7. Jimmy Joe says:

    No one seems to remember that LSD was introduced clinically back in the 50's in the psychotherapy field, with promising results of treating alcoholism, neurosis, and other hang-ups. Then Uncle Scam made it illegal of course, which brought everything to a halt.

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