It’s one of the most popular counter-culture drugs available on the market. It has been praised by the likes of The Beatles, Aldus Huxley, Hunter S. Thompson, Steve Jobs, and countless other successful, historic cultural figures. But it remains illegal in every US state and in nearly every country on the planet.
LSD – or, Lysergic Acid Diethylamide. Ever since its creation in 1938 by Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann, the scientific and medical communities have been pondering the potential applications for the mysterious drug. But the strange and intoxicating effects frightened authority figures and it was made illegal in the US in 1968. Thus it has been very hard for any legitimate testing to be done using the drug. But the spiritual and recreational users of LSD definitely didn’t give up personal experimentation. And almost everyone agrees: there is something genuinely special about the mental effects of LSD.
Well, for anyone who can appreciate the benefits of LSD, we have good news: the science is finally trickling in. And things are looking up. It seems like every time a new study comes out about LSD, there is some staggering new benefit revealed, or potential application theorized. And as these tests and experiments become more and more frequent, the findings are going to start to change the public perception of LSD. And that is the first real step towards change.
Almost all of the most recent break-throughs in the study of LSD have been both significant and encouraging. This study, published in April, used modern human imaging to observe the brain functions during an LSD trip. The results? They prove that the brain connectivity is much higher while on LSD, which contributes to the sensation of “connectedness to the universe” and “ego dissolution.” Another study, from Japan proved that the visual hallucinations experienced throughout a psychedelic trip are the result of activity in regions of the brain that don’t regularly help someone perceive. In other words: pieces of your brain that are normally suppressed start helping you experience reality – your perception is literally expanded.
In 2015, Carhart-Harris and Nutt visualized the brain on LSD using MRI scanners and found that the drug has great potential for treating depression and alcoholism and (ironically) applications for decreasing substance abuse. Finally, another high-profile study from the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, published in 2014 concluded that long-term use of LSD is helpful for treating and decreasing anxiety about terminal illness. All of this science is happening, and facts are being published at an increasingly frequent rate – these are just a few examples of a mass of scientific research that has been done recently on the effects and benefits of LSD.
And yet it is still a “Schedule I” drug – right up there with meth and heroine (and cannabis, of course) and now kratom. There is still a very potent public image of LSD and LSD users, focusing on the detachment from reality, the intoxication, and the hallucinations while completely ignoring the scientific uses and potential benefits. In fact, from the moment he first tripped, Albert Hofmann set out on a mission to find psychological uses for the drug. And now, almost 80 years later, and we are still fighting to get that goal realized. There has certainly been progress within the scientific and medical communities to test and experiment the applications of LSD in recent years, but there is still a long way to go. And before the scientific ramifications can start to make a difference, there needs to be a widespread cultural acceptance – a shift in perspective. It may be years, or even decades before LSD becomes prescription legal anywhere in the world, but it only seems like a matter of time – a psychedelic eventuality.