LSD finds new respectability

August 31, 2005

Hamilton, ON. Aug. 31, 2005 - It was the drug of choice on university campuses, the drug that spawned psychedelic culture as well as countless jail sentences and fines, but LSD actually has respectable roots--roots that a McMaster University researcher is uncovering.

"Far from being fringe medical research, trials of LSD were once a legitimate branch of psychiatric research," explains Erika Dyck, a doctoral researcher in the Department of History at McMaster. "LSD produced a "model psychosis," meaning people who took the drug exhibited symptoms of illnesses such as schizophrenia. Doctors used this as a new method for studying mental illness."

In a recent issue of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, Dyck traces the history of LSD--and its eventual withdrawal from medical research. LSD, or d-lysergic acid diethylamide, first appeared in scientific literature in 1943. For nearly a decade, it gave psychiatrists insight into the experi-ences of schizophrenic patients and showed potential as a cure for alcoholism.

In the 1960s, as the media increasingly associated the drug with love-ins, anti-war demonstrations and the counterculture, governments intervened to criminalize LSD, restricting and then terminating medical research into its potential therapeutic effects.

Now, therapeutic uses of psychedelic drugs are resurfacing. Research groups in the United States are currently examining the usefulness of MDMA, or "ecstasy," in treating pain in medical conditions such as Parkinson's disease and cancer.

This makes Dyck optimistic that LSD may become a valid area of research again. "Many illegal drugs are used in medical settings. Scientists who studied LSD made important contributions to psychiatry, and found it helped many people cope with mental illness."

Dyck discovered another interesting fact while researching LSD: The term "psychedelic," it turns out, was a Canadian invention - coined in Weyburn, Sask. in the 1950s.
-end-
The paper is available online at www.cpa-apc.org/Publications/Archives/CJP/2005/june/InRevDyck.asp.

McMaster University, named Canada's Research University of the Year by Research InfoSource, has world-renowned faculty, and state-of-the-art research facilities. McMaster's culture of innovation fosters a commitment to discovery and learning in teaching, research and scholarship. Based in Hamilton, the University has a student population of more than 23,000, and an alumni population of more than 115,000 in 128 countries.

For more information, please contact:

Erika Dyck
Department of History
McMaster University
dycke@mcmaster.ca

Julia Thomson
Office of Public Relations
McMaster University
905-525-9140 ext. 22869
thomsoj@mcmaster.ca

McMaster University

Related Medical Research Articles from Brightsurf:

Patients say ask before using medical records for research
A new study led by Michigan Medicine researchers finds that even when patients understand the overall benefit to society, they still want to be able to give consent at least once before their de-identified data is used for research.

Most patients willing to share medical records for research purposes
In a survey, UC San Diego researchers report most patients are willing to share medical records for research purposes, with a few caveats.

Tax hurts investment in medical device research and development
New Iowa State University research shows companies cut funding for research and development in response to a tax imposed on medical devices as part of the Affordable Care Act.

Centralized infrastructure facilitates medical education research
The Council of Academic Family Medicine Educational Research Alliance has enabled a large number of research teams to conduct meaningful scholarship with a fraction of the usual time and energy.

Sex, gender, or both in medical research
Only a minority of medical studies take sex and gender into account when analyzing and reporting research results.

Research!America to honor medical and health research advocacy leaders
Research!America's 21st annual Advocacy Awards will honor outstanding advocates for research whose contributions to health and medicine have saved lives and improved quality of life for patients worldwide.

Ohioans say it is important for the state to lead in education and medical research
An overwhelming majority of Ohio residents say it is important for the state to be a leader in education (89 percent) and in medical and health research (87 percent), according to a state-based public opinion survey commissioned by Research!America.

Medical research influenced by training 'genealogy'
By analyzing peer-reviewed scientific papers that examined the effectiveness of a surgical procedure, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine provide evidence suggesting that the conclusions of these studies appear to be influenced by the authors' mentors and medical training.

Diversity in medical research is a long way off, study shows
Despite Congressional mandates aimed at diversifying clinical research, little has changed in the last 30 years in both the numbers of studies that include minorities and the diversity of scientists being funded, according to a new analysis by researchers at UCSF.

Research!America to honor leaders in medical and health research advocacy
Research!America's 20th annual Advocacy Awards will honor exceptional advocates for research whose achievements in their fields have brought hope to patients worldwide.

Read More: Medical Research News and Medical Research Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.