LSD and Health
Yet again medical science is testing those darn boundaries; this time the drug is LSD. Then again, medicine was considering the ways LSD might have therapeutic value a long time ago. In the 1970s LSD research was banned out of fear that it caused mental illness. As the Guardian reported, “A growing number of people are taking LSD and other psychedelic drugs such as cannabis and ecstasy to help them cope with a variety of conditions including anorexia nervosa, cluster headaches and chronic anxiety attacks.”
The problem we face is that some folks just want the drugs for recreational use. The symptoms and disorders at issue seem difficult to quantify. Is a drug as potent as LSD (“A single dose of LSD may be between 100 and 500 micrograms — an amount roughly equal to one-tenth the mass of a grain of sand. Threshold effects can be felt with as little as 25 micrograms of LSD“) really helping people? Some have been able to use LSD once or twice a year as part of programs to curb alcohol abuse and others have seen success in preventing chronic abuse of other substances. Research at Harvard indicates that cluster headaches and intense pain have been reduced. And researchers at Berkeley are pursuing the way in which LSD affects creativity.
If any if this research is fruitful, it seems to me that the government should be more willing to allow researchers to explore ways to the true benefits of drugs and cope with the social problems as a separate matter.
As a side note, with a Bay Area-Harvard connection emerging, maybe we’ll have another round of Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test with modern Merry Pranksters and magic buses touring the country. If so, and Wolfe wrote a follow-up to his book, that would be interesting too. In any event, if you have not read the book, do so. It is an excellent bit of writing and a great study of one way to understand the United States of the book’s era.