If LSD Were Legal, I’d Be Administering it to My Clients Tomorrow.

Via Jayson Gaddis
on Jun 19, 2012
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photo by J. Gaddis

In college, I ate acid.

Not a tremendous amount, but maybe a dozen or more times. I’m legally insane, right?  Um…yeah…

Sometimes I ate acid with lots of beer at a party (not good), and sometimes with friends in the Utah desert.

When I was in the desert, it opened my mind in the most brilliant of ways. I had peak experiences and felt deeply connected to a spiritual force all around me. I had visions and saw through my own personality. It was both liberating and terrifying at the same time.

Then, I sobered up and laughed it off with my friends as a “good trip.” But inside I felt alone and sad. I had such a big opening then back to the grind of my life where I was  spiritually starving and emotionally constipated.

I was 20-years-old and had no way to integrate the experience. I had no mentor or guide to help me prep for the experience, deepen during the experience, or process/integrate after the experience.

So, it faded and I just kept drinking and getting high, trying to feel okay.

A lot of people are like me, specifically teenagers who use LSD. They “trip” for fun, or as an escape, with no one holding them through it. No one explains the real risks, nor the potential long-term benefits if they take this medicine in a good way. So, kids get blown out and like me, can’t and don’t integrate what they experienced.

In my experience, most adults today act happy, but just under the surface they are often depressed, disconnected, off their true path, addicted to something, or very alone and confused. Many adults I work with are very locked up.

Teens and adults could use some serious “medicine” these days. But not just to give them a dopamine surge, or to make the feel “better.” Sometimes a “breakthrough” experience is all we need to increase our motivation to change and grow. It’s my strong belief, that people could benefit from plant medicines such as Ayahuasca or peyote  and, yes, even LSD.

I have been a psychotherapist since 2004 and from 1997-2006 worked in adolescent treatment programs with “troubled” teens. Kids were really hurting inside. It wasn’t bi-polar disorder, or ADD, although those were common diagnoses. The teens I worked with were feeling the existential angst of the world. The longed for truth and to meet their edge. They knew there was more to life than what they saw the adults doing.

The folks I worked with back then were suffering a great deal internally. It hasn’t changed. People are still suffering out there, perhaps more now than ever. It’s real, it’s intense. Why not use whatever tools are at our disposal to help people in pain?

After I watched the below documentary, I was blown away learning the history of LSD and how it helped so many people because it was administered by psychiatrists in a “safe” setting. Proper context was laid down, and the taker had a sober support person witnessing them and answering questions the entire time. These were not hippies, new age folks, or burning man junkies. Some were ordinary people with ordinary problems. And some were folks dealing with extraordinary challenges such as schizophrenia or chronic addiction.

I feel saddened by the fact that LSD, or other plant medicines such as Ayahuasca are illegal for use in therapeutic settings. And, honestly, if it were legal, I’d get whatever license I needed to begin administering to certain clients tomorrow.

Do I think we should all go out and eat acid? Nope. Do I think the answer to our suffering is in an LSD session? No. Do I think we should replace the genuine human journey with LSD? Absolutely not. However, some of us would benefit tremendously from this kind of experience facilitated in a safe, contained setting at least once in our lifetime.

It might be the kind of peak experience we need to unlock our stuckness or see through a habitual patterns and limited ways of thinking. LSD has the power to open our eyes to our addictions, self-absorption, and the painful ways we treat ourselves and each other. Whenever we expand our awareness we gain new choices, new perspectives. This can only help us become more of who we really are.

I haven’t taken LSD since 1995, but after watching this highly educational documentary, I’m considering trying some in the way described in the movie.

Here’s the film on the National Film Board of Canada’s website:


Here’s the description of the film on their website:

This documentary offers a compassionate, open-minded look at LSD and how it fits into our world. Long before Timothy Leary urged a generation to “tune in, turn on and drop out,” the drug was hailed as a way to treat forms of addiction and mental illness. At the same time, it was being touted as a powerful tool for mental exploration and self-understanding.

Featuring interviews with LSD pioneers, beautiful music and stunning cinematography, this is much more than a simple chronicle of LSD’s early days. It’s an alternative way of looking at the drug… and our world.

Related article: Is LSD making a comeback in therapy?


Editor: Kate Bartolotta

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About Jayson Gaddis

Jayson Gaddis, founder of The Relationship School® , and host of The Smart Couple Podcast , is on a mission to teach people the one class they didn’t get in school--”How to do intimate relationships.” He was emotionally constipated for years before relationship failure forced him to master relationships. In 2007 he stopped running away from intimacy, asked his wife to marry him and now they have two beautiful kids. When he doesn’t live and breathe this stuff with his family, he pretty much gets his ass handed to him. You can find him here: Jayson Gaddis or sign up for a free training here if you are dealing with an emotionally unavailable man like Jayson used to be. You can also become a fan on Facebook here: Jayson Gaddis Fan Page.


6 Responses to “If LSD Were Legal, I’d Be Administering it to My Clients Tomorrow.”

  1. Mamaste says:

    Just intro'd to FB on : Enlightened, Health & Wellness & I'm Not Spiritual

  2. JIvawill says:

    "Acid lets you go into the garden where you can meet Christ, but you can't stay in the garden." Paraphrased from a quote by Neem Karoli Baba, Maharajaji.
    "Acid opens your mind with a crow bar, meditation opens your mind with a key." Anonymous yogi in the 1960's.
    During the 1960's (surprise) I considered the use of LSD to be my religion. It wasn't a party drug, but something that was quite spiritual, in the right "set and setting." It became illegal and then the medicine available on the street was adulterated and not safe. The government considered acid an enormous problem and they worked very hard to stop its distribution. The combination resulted in most people stopping.
    But I can honestly say that I would not be the person I am today, with the insights I have garnered into life, without the very instrumental key of LSD. But would I use it today? Maybe once. Just for old times sake and to visit that experience at a very different age, for comparison more than anything. For once I found a path (yoga meditation) it became obvious that LSD was not a good idea for a path. But I honor it, as does the author.

  3. I love the blog post Jayson and I appreciate the delivery of the message. There is indeed a demand for 'medicinal' induced altered states in North America… we see this with the rise in popularity with Ayahuasca and Peyote. I have similar concerns as you, how are these drug induced experienced being Witnessed and Held? Who is holding the space for these potential sacred experiences?

    I agree, that the approach of using such 'medicine' could be beneficial in unlocking the complex mind and offering a 'new perspective' and maybe even transpersonal experiences. Yet, in my experience, although it provided powerful state experiences, it did not create the necessary shift needed to 'reprogram' the mind and belief systems that tend to cause many neurological disorders and problems that can keep us stuck. In the end, it is still work aka action (mental and emotional work) needed to shift reality as we know it…

    Just my opinion 🙂

  4. […] the words I heard and used myself over 20 years ago when I experimented with mushrooms, peyote and LSD and was convinced that this was the answer to the world’s […]

  5. […] one of the most celebrated thinkers in the field of addiction and drug policy. His conclusions on the usefulness, efficacy and long-term benefits of traditional plant medicines is not just valuable but sorely needed at a time when an alarming number of people suffer from […]

  6. […] other young turned-on-and-tuned-in hippies and self-proclaimed revolutionaries, was convinced that this miraculous drug that could give almost anyone who ingested it a glimpse of the infinite—a confrontation with the […]