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New Research on Medical Uses of LSD

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LSD got its start in a psychiatric research lab, and decades after its heyday as a hallucinogenic party drug of the 1960s it is now being studied once again for possible medical applications, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Sept. 27

Researchers at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) are investigating a variety of possible uses for LSD, such as psychiatric applications or to treat chronic headaches. “Psychedelics are in labs all over the world and there's a lot of promise,” said Rick Doblin of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies in Santa Cruz. “The situation with LSD is that because it was the quintessential symbol of the '60s, it was the last to enter the lab.”

The fact that researchers like Timothy Leary were among the proponents of recreational use of the drug helped keep LSD blacklisted on many research campuses. “That put a lot of researchers off, and it made it very hard for researchers to justify getting back into the field. And there were no pressing health needs, no pressing treatments other than curiosity,” said UCSF researcher John Mendelson.

The studies on LSD began about a year ago; the UCSF researchers are looking at how the drug affects the brain. The school began researching other hallucinogens, like ecstasy, about a decade ago. UCSF and Harvard University are currently the only schools in the U.S. to be running human studies on LSD.

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