LSD was banned in this country in 1956. That didn’t stop people from using it for recreational purposes, and as with all banned substances, the quality of the product wasn’t regulated so sometimes people got their hands on the “brown acid.”
Some 53 years after the substance was banned, scientists are now studying its positive medicinal effects.
From The Daily Beast:
Most people with headaches aren’t going to purchase an illegal drug. And soon, they may not have to. For the first time in four decades, the government is cracking open the door to studies looking into the medical benefits of LSD. If such studies bear fruit—and early results are promising—people like Wold [who suffers from debiltating cluster headaches] may someday be able to pick up an LSD pill at their local pharmacy.
The watershed moment came last September, when the FDA approved a clinical trial on the use of LSD to treat anxiety in cancer patients. According to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (or MAPS), it was the first time since the 1960s that a medical study involving LSD was permitted by the federal government. MAPS Director Rick Doblin called it “a symbol that the psychedelic renaissance is here.”
Before it was banned in 1966, LSD had a rich scientific history, used as a popular treatment for everything from alcoholism to autism. (YouTube has old black-and-white videos of 9 year olds tripping acid under doctors’ supervision.) But LSD’s recreational legacy has made current proposals at Cambridge and other institutions an awkward subject.
In many ways, what’s most remarkable about the breakthrough of LSD is the drug itself. It’s the most potent psychedelic of its kind. It lasts several hours longer than either MDMA or psilocybin, and it has the greatest risk profile of any psychedelic. But researchers say that’s also what makes it so tempting. “It’s more challenging, more powerful, but there’s also great therapeutic potential,” Doblin says. “It’s like taming the lion. If we can tame the lion, then we can work with the leopard and the wolf.”