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MAPS Bulletin Winter 2013: 2013 Annual Report
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January 13, 2014

MAPS Completes First New Therapeutic LSD Study in 40 Years

Psychedelic Frontier

Psychedelic Frontier announces that MAPS has completed the first new therapeutic study of LSD-assisted psychotherapy in over 40 years. The study focused on treating people with end-of-life anxiety and the results have been accepted for publication the peer-reviewed Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. The article shares quotes about the success of the research from study coordinator Dr. Peter Gasser and MAPS Founder Rick Doblin. In a public letter about the study, Gasser states, “We can show that LSD treatment can be safe when it is done in a carefully controlled clinical setting.”

Originally appearing here.

Rick Doblin, the founder and president of MAPS, said this in a recent “Ask Me Anything” interview on Reddit:

“We’ve just completed the world’s first study of the therapeutic use of LSD in over 40 years, in Switzerland to treat anxiety associated with end-of-life issues. Eleven of the 12 subjects had never done LSD before and there were no serious adverse events, even in people facing death.”

This recently completed Swiss study is truly momentous — it’s the first “double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation of LSD-assisted psychotherapy since the early 1970s.” This pilot study found that two LSD-assisted psychotherapy sessions successfully reduced anxiety in end-of-life patients. The study was led by Peter Gasser, M.D., who wrote a letter (PDF) to friends and colleagues at its completion. In it he writes that “all the 12 participants reported a benefit from the treatment.” He continues:

“I am proud to say that we had in 30 sessions (22 with full dose 200 μg LSD and 8 with placebo dose 20 μg LSD) no severe side effects such as psychotic experiences or suicidal crisis or flashbacks or severe anxieties (bad trips)…That means that we can show that LSD treatment can be safe when it is done in a carefully controlled clinical setting.”

The paper, which was completed in August and accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease in December, makes these conclusions:

  • This pilot study found positive trends in the reduction of anxiety following two LSD-assisted psychotherapy sessions.
  • Anxiety remained at reduced levels at 12-month follow-up sessions, implying durability of effects.
  • LSD-assisted psychotherapy can be safely administered in these subjects.
  • The results of this small pilot study are promising, and should be pursued in larger samples.

You can read the full results of the study in this clinical report. After a long hiatus, this promising study should pave the way to continued interest and research regarding psychedelic-assisted therapy. If you want to support this kind of research, consider donating to MAPS.

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