This recently completed study investigated the safety and efficacy of LSD as part of a palliative treatment program to ease pain and pre-death anxiety in those suffering from terminal illnesses. The study, which is supported by MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) and the Beckley Foundation, was led by Dr. Peter Gasser, president of the Swiss Medical Association for Psycholytic Therapy.
A total of 12 participants were run in this study, it was the first therapeutic study to use LSD in over 35 years. In the 30 sessions that were conducted no severe side effects such as psychotic experiences or severe anxieties (bad trips) were observed (22 with full dose 200 µg LSD and 8 with placebo dose 20 µg LSD). Showing that LSD treatment can be safe when it is done in a carefully controlled clinical setting.
All 12 participants reported benefits from taking part in the study. Comments from the participants include that they see their lives more clearly; that they are more aware of what is important and meaningful and what is not for the remaining time they have; that they are more differentiated in relationships that are helpful and joyful and others that are time and energy consuming.
During one LSD session a participant danced and sung in the treatment room, something she always wanted to do but never dared to do in her whole life.
This study is crucial in a number of ways: first it shows that LSD-psychotherapy can be beneficial in treating pre-death anxiety; and second it shows that in a controlled environment participants can use LSD without experiencing any adverse side effects.