The psychedelic drug LSD can help people with alcoholism quit or cut back their drinking, according to a new analysis of data originally collected in the 1960s. The study adds to a renaissance of research interest in mind-expanding medications for psychiatric disorders.
Norwegian scientists conducted a meta-analysis, combining the results of six randomized trials that tested the effect of a single dose of LSD for alcoholism in 536 adults. Researchers found that 59% of participants who took acid either dramatically cut back their drinking or quit, compared with 38% of controls, who either took a much smaller dose of acid or used another drinking-prevention treatment. Only eight cases of adverse effects or “bad trips” were reported, none of them lasting longer than the high itself.
Earlier conclusions from the literature have suggested that LSD was not effective for alcoholism, but those results appear to e related to the fact that individual studies on the subject did not include enough participants to demonstrate significant differences between the groups.