LSD Might Help Alcoholics Quit, Stay Abstinent:
FRIDAY, March 9 (HealthDay News) -- The hallucinogenic drug LSD
may help treat alcoholism, new research suggests.
A number of studies examining the use of LSD to treat a variety
of disorders, including alcoholism, were conducted in the 1950s,
'60s and '70s.
In a new analysis, Norwegian researchers examined six studies of
LSD and alcoholism that were conducted in the United States and
Canada between 1966 and 1970.
The analysis of data from the 536 patients in the studies showed
that a single dose of LSD helped heavy alcoholics quit and reduced
their risk of resuming drinking, according to the meta-analysis
appearing online March 8 in the
Journal of Psychopharmacology.
Patients who received a full dose of the controversial drug did
the best. On average, 59 percent of those patients showed a clear
improvement, compared with 38 percent of patients in other groups,
the Norwegian University of Science and Technology researchers
The beneficial effect of LSD was greatest during the first few
months of treatment, but the effect gradually decreased over
"We do not yet fully know why LSD works this way," researchers Teri Krebs and Pal-Orjan Johansen said in a university news release. "But we know that the substance is nontoxic and that it is not addictive. We also know that it has a striking effect on the imagination, perception and memories."
LSD interacts with a specific type of serotonin receptor in the
"LSD may stimulate the formation of new connections and patterns, and generally seems to open an individual to an awareness of new perspectives and opportunities for action," the researchers speculated.
Despite some promising studies, it was generally concluded
decades ago that LSD had no demonstrated medical use. While
nonmedical use of the psychedelic drug is illegal, LSD is still
permitted as an experimental medical treatment.
"There has long been a need for better treatments for addiction. We think it is time to look at the use of psychedelics in treating various conditions," the researchers said.
The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has
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