Norwegian University of Science and Technology researchers have discovered new benefits of the psychedelic drug LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) in addiction treatment, specifically alcoholism.
The study, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, compiled data from six existing studies conducted on more than 500 alcoholics and found that 58 percent of the study participants who received the LSD doses showed noticeable benefits from the experience, including being less likely to relapse, and experiencing a greater sense of "self-acceptance and openness," which may have enabled them to treat their addictions.
Popularized in the 1960s as the 'turn on, tune in and drop out' mechanism for the counterculture, LSD, along with other psychedelics such as psilocybin mushrooms, peyote and the sacred Amazonian brew, ayahuasca, have hit a resurgence in recent years not only for the spiritual self-awareness properties often experienced while on the substances, but also as a tool for understanding behaviors that contribute to addictions such as alcoholism, providing the individual with a greater ability to honestly address the issues and take steps necessary in defeating addictions.
Research into the ability of MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine)—the active ingredient in the street drug Ecstasy—to treat sufferers of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) is underway by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies; and Iboga, the potent African plant root also known for its powerful introspective properties has been successfully used to treat addictive behaviors in clinics outside of the U.S.
Daniel Pinchbeck, author and authority on psychedelics (explored in great detail in his book Breaking Open the Head), suggests that these explorations into psychedelics for their powerful healing properties could indicate a maturation of our culture, "not as drastic catalysts of social upheaval but as tools that can help people overcome serious problems." And beyond the scientific applications, Pinchbeck states that "there is compelling anecdotal data on the benefits of psychedelic use for creative processes, intellectual work and personal development," further signifying the potential gains for a society that embraces the healing powers of critical self-reflection offered through psychedelics.
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