Four decades ago, LSD was used to treat alcoholism. Now, a new analysis of studies from that era suggests the psychedelic drug deserves a second look.
The new analysis of randomized, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, provides “a clear and consistent beneficial effect of LSD for treating alcohol dependency,” researchers have concluded.
For the analysis, researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology tracked the results of six studies of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in treating alcoholics in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
They included 536 participants, most enrolled in alcohol treatment programs, and compared the results in those given low-dose LSD, stimulants or non-drug treatments.
While the experiments varied in the dosage used, LSD had a beneficial effect on alcohol misuse in every trial. On average, 59 percent of patients given LSD logged improvements after undergoing treatment, compared to 38 percent given alternatives. Those given LSD were also more likely to maintain abstinence from alcohol.
"It was rather common for patients to claim significant insights into their problems, to feel that they had been given a new lease on life, and to make a strong resolution to discontinue their drinking," researchers concluded.
LSD interacts with a specific chemical processes in the brain, which may stimulate “new connections and open the mind for new perspectives and possibilities,” said lead researcher Teri Krebs.