Swiss Pilot Study Investigating the use of LSD in the Palliative care of the Dying

02/09/2010

in LSD,Research

Dr. Peter Gasser, President of the Swiss Medical Association
Amanda Feilding, Beckley Foundation, Oxford

The first clinical study involving LSD in psychotherapy for many years has recently achieved full approvals from the Swiss authorities. This will investigate the safety and efficacy of LSD as part of a palliative treatment programme to ease pain and pre-death anxiety in those suffering from terminal illnesses. The Beckley Foundation is a supporting sponsor of this valuable study, directed by MAPS, as it is in line with our aim to explore techniques that produce altered states of consciousness which help promote well-being.

The trial will be conducted by Dr Peter Gasser, president of the Swiss Medical Association for Psycholytic Therapy. This is an association of private specialists in psychotherapy and psychiatry, which in the period 1988-93, were given permission to use LSD as a tool in psychotherapy. These findings suggested that LSD could safely be given to patients with a variety of mental health issues. Many patients reported improvements, and rated as important experiences of unity and spiritual experiences, while negative experiences were also important for some patients, no persistent difficulties were reported.

This study is investigating the safety and efficacy of LSD as part of a palliative treatment programme to ease pain and pre-death anxiety in those suffering from terminal illnesses. With MAPS as the lead sponsor, Beckley is helping support this research, as it is in line with our aim of exploring techniques that produce altered states of consciousness that help overcome suffering and promote well-being.

To date, the patients who have participated in this study have found the experience aided them emotionally and none of the participants experienced any negative reactions from the use of LSD. This finding is crucial in a number of ways: first it shows that LSD-psychotherapy can be highly effective; and second it shows that in a controlled environment participants can use LSD without experiencing any adverse side effects.

This type of study is required to be done before a full clinical trial, which would aim to investigate fully the clinical impact of the drug in a patient group.

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