How does LSD induce short-term psychosis but long-term optimism?

Researchers look into the drug's association with pronounced optimism.

Psychedelic LSD trip by Jonathan Zegarra via Flickr.

When most people think of LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­the image that comes to mind is hallucinating hippies at Woodstock, but the drug's original use was psychotherapeutic. As early as the 1960s, researchers showed that LSD reduces depression, anxiety and pain in patients with advanced cancer, and recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in the drug's beneficial effects. In 2014, Swiss psychiatrist Peter Gasser published the results of a study showing that LSD could alleviate the symptoms of severe anxiety disorder. And a 2016 study from Imperial College London showed that LSD could increase levels of optimism and openness for extended periods of time.

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Trip Treatment: Should LSD-Assisted Psychotherapy Go Mainstream?

A new study in nature reports that LSD minimizes fear recognition and enhances emotional empathy and sociality. Is it time to widely utilize 'trip treatment'?

Image: Flickr / androoouk

Resurgence in psychedelic research is picking up after a 50-year hiatus. With a recent admission that Nixon’s war on drugs was really an attempt to quiet minorities and radicals—psychedelics being swept into this mess—few researchers have been bold enough to conduct controlled studies, regardless of how little recreational and ceremonial usage has not waned.

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