LSD is often associated with trippy songs such as ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ – ‘Purple Haze’ – and ‘Yellow Submarine’. But before it became the drug of choice for the 1960s counterculture – lysergic acid diethylamide had a previous existence – as an experimental medicine for a broad spectrum of psychological problems ranging from depression and addiction – to schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder.
Before the drug was banned – for recreational use in 1966 – and medical use in 1973 – dozens of studies – of varying degrees of scientific rigour – had taken place in Europe and America. Some of the findings were promising – but unreliable.
But in recent years scientists have begun to revisit the potential of the drug as a psychotherapeutic tool. Studies in Switzerland have suggested it could alleviate anxiety experienced by the terminally ill – and last week the BMJ carried an article by a leading psychiatrist calling for the drug’s legal status to be downgraded to make it easier to study in the lab.
Research in the UK is being spearheaded at Imperial College London by a team co-led by the former government drugs adviser David Nutt. His team is the first in the world to use modern brain scanners to observe the effects of LSD on 20 volunteers.
(ed:..historically speaking there are certain ironies to be found in the fact that lsd is now being investigated as healing-tool for those burdened with schitzophrenia – when a common drug-scare-story of the 60’s – was that taking lsd would lead to schitzophrenia in the taker –
– and for awhile i lived in a squat in sydney with among others – an awol airforce guy who was also an ex-alcoholic – and he attributed lsd with/for getting him off the sauce –
– and so he took it upon himself to spread the cure amongst the inner-city slum alkies we lived amongst..
.. so you would regularly come home to find some smelly street-person alkie – and the awol airforce guy – in the kitchen/wherever – both with grins the size of the harbour-bridge on their faces..)