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.

6 thoughts on “LSD assisted psychotherapy study to start in Switzerland”

  1. 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. 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.

    1. For one, you say “LSD” there are many types. Also dealers/manufacturers have been known to cut the stuff with rat poison – you have no idea what you are really getting. Method of ingestion also matters, some people shoot this stuff (like I’ve heard about Hendrix).

      1. “Prior to the CIA, the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) and OSS were interested in gaining access to information about mind control. From the early 1940s, OSS Chief General William Donovan became preoccupied with the development of speech-inducing drugs for use in intelligence interrogations. Both the OSS and the ONI became preoccupied with mescaline when, as Lee and Shalin … “learned of mind control experiments carried out by Nazi doctors at the Dachau concentration camps during World War II”. Nazi war criminal Karl Tauboeck worked for the German company I.G. Farben. He was an expert on sterilization and in particular the effects of drugs on animals and humans. … the Gestapo had been working on the development of a truth serum for years and Tauboeck became a major source of information for the CIA ‘especially his secret wartime work on speech-inducing drugs’. The chemical company I.G. Farben manufactured the nerve gas used in poison gas experiments in Auschwitz …”

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