LSD assisted psychotherapy study to start in Switzerland

The Royal Society of Chemistry reports that a research project investigating the potential benefits of LSD assisted psychotherapy for people with terminal illnesses has been given the go-ahead by the Swiss authorities.

The Multidisciplanary Association for Psychedelic Studies, part funders of the study, have more about it on their website, including copies of the ethics application and research plan.

MAPS have done huge amounts to make the study of psychedelic drugs both scientifically respectable and acceptable to the regulatory authorities, many of whom are still twitchy from when scientific research into the area was effectively outlawed following the 1960s.

The study is an early exploration, more of a pilot study really, but is being conducted in accordance with the strict standards for clinical trials.

According to the study protocol [pdf], the plan is:

We will conduct this randomized, active-placebo controlled investigation in order to redevelop a treatment method of LSD-assisted therapy for people confronting anxiety relating to advanced-stage illnesses and to gather preliminary evidence on the safety and
efficacy of this treatment in this population using current scientific standards.

Eight of twelve participants will be assigned to the experimental intervention dose condition (called verum (“true”) dose, 200 ¬µg LSD), and four of twelve will be assigned to the low dose condition (called active placebo dose, 20 ¬µg LSD). Participants enrolled in the study will receive two sessions of LSD-assisted psychotherapy separated by a two to four week interval.

These experimental sessions will be embedded within a course of six to eight individual non-drug psychotherapy sessions that will first prepare participants for LSD assisted therapy and then help participants integrate material from the LSD-assisted sessions.

An independent rater will assess anxiety levels, quality of life, and pain throughout the study and until two months after the second experimental session. The use of anxiety and pain medications will be assessed throughout the duration of the study via diaries kept by participants.

The study is similar in design to an already approved study looking at psilocybin assisted psychotherapy for anxiety in cancer patients, and will be the first LSD psychotherapy study for 35 years.

Link to Royal Society of Chemistry news story.
Link to study info from MAPS.

4 Comments

  1. John Manson
    Posted February 27, 2009 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Wasn’t LSD derived from “The LSD Sterilization Plan of Nazi Germany”? According to a Harvard historical study the drug was created with the intent of sterilizing persons for population control. Why would you want to give this drug to anyone either for medical or any other reason?

  2. egw
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    No, John Manson, that’s 100% false. LSD was synthesized in Switzerland, first used in 1943, and was developed to prevent migraines (which it does, albeit its side-effects are much more pronounced). That sterilization utter nonsense sounds like something you just made up on the spot, so I honestly can’t just tell if you’re a troll, but I wouldn’t want anyone to come across your comment like I did and think that anything you posted was even remotely close to true.

    • Zach
      Posted April 28, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      I would have if you didn’t. I’ve never even heard johnny boy’s story as a myth.

  3. Jonathan Ilunga
    Posted September 21, 2011 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Hahah damn John I’m offended that you thought anyone would believe that blatant lie.


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