LSD May Shed Hippie Image With Swiss Medical Study


LSD May Shed Hippie Image With Swiss Medical Study (Update1)

By Dermot Doherty

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May 1 (Bloomberg) — “Four decades after the Grateful Dead and Timothy Leary made acid trips a counter-cultural rite of passage, Rick Doblin is trying to shake the drug’s hippie image and reclaim its use as a medicine.

Doblin, who leads a group sponsoring the first study of LSD as a therapy in 36 years, says the new Swiss research may show the drug helps ease anxiety and pain in patients suffering from illnesses such as cancer and multiple sclerosis.

The research is a homecoming for LSD, which was created in 1938 by Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann, who died this week at the age of 102. The hallucinogen was banned in the 1960s, and detractors say Harvard psychology professor Leary’s advice that people use LSD to “turn on, tune in, drop out” clashes with modern psychiatry. Doblin says lingering stereotypes stand in the way of tests that may show therapeutic uses.

“LSD is not a drug for the counter-culture,” said Doblin, president of the Ben Lomond, California-based Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. “We’re trying to take it out of politics and bring it back into mainstream science.”

Doblin’s group focuses on developing beneficial uses of psychedelic drugs and marijuana. In addition to psychotherapeutic and physiological research, such uses may include “spiritual exploration, creativity research, shamanic healing,” according to the association’s Web site.

Approval for the Swiss study, led by Peter Gasser, a psychiatrist in the canton of Solothurn, followed more than two years of deliberations, including reviews by the country’s ethics body and medical regulators, said Marta Kunz, a spokeswoman for the Federal Office of Public Health…”

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