Should LSD Be Used as a Cure?

Christina Kwan, Staff Writer

LSD, or lysergic acid diethylamide, is a modern drug that took America by storm in the 1960s. This hallucinogenic drug is most often associated with hippies and the counterculture brought on by the strict 1950s. The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies LSD as Schedule 1, in other words it has no commonly recognized medical use with a high probability of abuse. However recent studies by experts have begun to change how we view this drug.

LSD is an odorless, colorless drug that causes the user to go into a psychedelic state where many describe as “becoming one with the universe.” The state is also known as an acid trip which can last up to twelve hours. LSD is a psychedelic drug which enhances the user’s thoughts and feelings. It also causes visual hallucinations and a distorted feeling of time. Users of this drug often report reduce in anxiety, increase in intellectual stimulation and rise in quality of life. These effects are the reason why LSD is being looked into as a new form of medication for mental health problems.                                                                         

On April 11 2016, a study by professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College, London and former government drug advisor, David Nutt reveals LSD is capable of amplifying feelings of self-awareness. Nutt calls it “ego-dissolution” and describes it as “the normal sense of self is broken down and replaced by a sense of reconnection with themselves, others and the natural world. This experience is sometimes framed in a religious or spiritual way – and seems to be associated with improvements in well-being after the drug’s effects have subsided.” This means that LSD could help those who suffer from mental diseases such as depression and post-tramatic stress disorder. Other researchers have found that the drug can be used to help patients with severe illnesses cope with death. However many people do not have much trust in the studies and remain skeptical.

The commonly accepted view on psychedelic drugs is they are dangerous and unnecessary. Most of these beliefs come from the hippie culture of the 1960’s, many of whom overdosed on the substance. These views are not completely unfounded as there are “bad trips” where the user can feel they are in a life-threatening circumstance and cannot control their own actions. There is also the possibility of having flashbacks where the user can feel the effects of the drug years later. However, those who advocate for this type of treatment are not asking it to become legal for recreational use, only for more research to be conducted in this field to see if LSD can become a legitimate way to help those with crippling mental illness.

Photo via The Austin Chronicle