The hallucinogenic drug LSD could be used to treat alcoholics and help them to stop drinking, researchers are claiming.
The team, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, analysed the results of six studies that were carried out in the 1960s and early 1970s.
It was revealed that LSD caused ‘trips’ which made problem drinkers look at their life – and their habit in particular – from a new perspective.
Apparently, the effect of LSD on alcoholism lasted for several months and the findings of the investigation have now been published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
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In total, data collected from 536 patients was analysed during the research team’s study.
Some patients were given a full dose of LSD, while others were given smaller doses, but all were taking part in alcohol addiction treatment programmes.
Out of the results from the six trials that were examined, all of them showed a beneficial effect.
Teri Krebs and Pal-Orjan Johansen, who authored the new study, said: “A single dose of LSD has a significant beneficial effect on alcohol misuse.
“In independent and standardised follow-up examinations, ranging from one to twelve months later, all of the studies showed that the patients who had received a full dose of LSD fared the best.
“On average, 59 percent of full-dose patients showed a clear improvement compared with 38 percent in the other groups.”
They added: “Given the evidence for a beneficial effect of LSD on alcoholism, it is puzzling why this treatment approach has been largely overlooked.”
Despite the promising results, the researchers admit they do not know why LSD is so beneficial to alcoholics.
“We do not yet fully know why LSD works this way, but we know that the substance is non-toxic and that it is not addictive.
“We also know that it has a striking effect on the imagination, perception and memories.
“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,” they said.
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