LSD helps treat alcoholism, according to two Norwegian researchers, who said they were surprised that the mind-altering drug hasn't been taken seriously to combat the disease.
Teri Krebs and Pal-Orjan Johansen of the Department of Neuroscience at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology looked at clinical trials from the 1960s and 1970s that explored LSD's efficacy in low doses in treating alcoholics. Until now, nobody pulled together the results of the trials to determine how effective LSD is in treating alcoholism.
While the experiments varied in the dosage used and the type of placebo physicians administered to patients, LSD had a beneficial effect on alcohol misuse in every trial, Krebs and Johansen said. On average, 59 percent of LSD patients and 38 percent of control patients were improved at follow-up using standardized effect on maintained abstinence from alcohol.
The researchers' findings are published in upcoming edition the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
Here are four reasons why LSD in low doses helps treat alcoholism, according to the researchers.
1) LSD interacts with certain serotonin receptors in the brain
This interaction stimulates new connections and open the mind for new perspectives and possibilities, Krebs said.
2) LSD gives users insight into their problems
The researchers found that this gives alcoholics problem-solving skills and makes alcoholics feel as if they have a new lease on life.
3) The beneficial effects of a single LSD dose last up to a year
This helps alcoholics kick their habit and stay resolute. The trials found the effects of one dose lasts at least six months and fades after a year.
4) An LSD experience makes the user more self-accepting
The drug gives them an optimistic view of their capacities to face future problems, an investigator of one of the trials noted.
Krebs and Johansen said they were puzzled why LSD isn't being used in alcoholism treatment given the evidence for a beneficial effect.
The researchers said there were a number of reasons why the treatment was overlooked, including that many of the trials did not have enough patients and moderate and short-term effects of the therapy were discounted.
Perhaps the biggest reason is because of the stigma attached to LSD.
Finally, the complicated social and political history of LSD meant that obtaining regulatory approval for clinical trials became laborious, although national and international drug control measures have never banned treatment development or medical use of LSD, Krebs and Johansen said.