A double-blind, randomized, active placebo-controlled pilot study found that when administered safely in a methodologically rigorous medically supervised psychotherapeutic setting, LSD can reduce anxiety. The study was conducted to examine safety & efficacy of lysergic acid diethylamide(LSD)-assisted psychotherapy in a dozen patients with anxiety associated with life-threatening diseases.
Treatment included drug-free psychotherapy sessions supplemented by two LSD-assisted psychotherapy sessions 2 to 3 weeks apart. The study concludes: “This pilot study in participants with anxiety associated with the diagnosis of a life-threatening illness has demonstrated safety in 22 psychotherapy sessions assisted by 200µg of LSD with no drug-related severe adverse events. Group comparison results support positive trends in reduction of anxiety after two sessions of LSD-assisted psychotherapy, with effect size estimates in the range of 1.1 to 1.2. In view of promising historical studies with adjunctive LSD treatment in this population and a recent promising study using psilocybin (Grob et al., 2011), as well as the urgent need for more effective treatments of anxiety in these participants, further study is warranted into the potential of LSD-assisted psychotherapy”
The study found no acute or chronic adverse effects persisting beyond 1 day after treatment or treatment-related serious adverse events. The Discussion section notes: “In our study, using appropriate inclusion/exclusion criteria, detailed participant preparation, and a carefully supervised experience in a supportive psychotherapeutic setting, psychological side effects were mild and limited. There were no AEs often attributed to LSD such as prolonged anxiety (‘‘bad trip’’) or lasting psychotic or perceptional disorders (flashbacks). Congruent with studies in the past (Hintzen and Passie, 2010), the few mild somatic effects of LSD such as changes in heart rate and blood pressure were of no clinical significance.”
The LSD was supplied by Lipomed. Capsules were prepared by Bichsel Laboratories. Quality control, randomization, and blinding were performed by R. Brenneisen, PhD, at the Department of Clinical Research, University of Bern, Switzerland. Doses consisted of 200µg or a 20µg active placebo.
Sources for this article:
1. Safety and Efficacy of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide-Assisted Psychotherapy for Anxiety Associated With Life-threatening Diseases http://journals.lww.com/jonmd/Documents/90000000.0-00001.pdf
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