It’s been a long year, and the seemingly eternal election has only made it feel longer and harder for many. That stress often manifests itself in one’s body. So if your back, neck, or other extremities are burning with what feels like a stake being perpetually driven into your body — whether from this political BS or not — you may just be seeing the wrong doctor. LSD may actually be what you need. And by ‘may,’ we mean may.
Chronic pain has stricken millions throughout the country. And often, attempts to alleviate their suffering have completely backfired. Opioids, in particular, have sparked a nationwide crisis. That’s because they’re highly addictive: nearly 30 percent of patients who are prescribed opioids misuse them.
Fortunately, Americans may soon have an unexpected alternative to Dr. Pharma: LSD. A little noticed study came out earlier this fall in The Journal of Psychopharmacology that took a closer look at the effects of LSD on patient’s pain levels.
“That would be of interest,” stated Johannes Ramaekers, the study’s first author and a professor at Maastricht University, “To see if low doses of LSD could actually replace an opioid and at least reduce the addiction potential, because LSD has no addiction potential.”
The study marks a noteworthy resurgence in LSD research, which underwent a major decline in the 70s, when the drug was placed in the most tightly regulated class of The Controlled Substances Act.
Research before the slowdown found that LSD alleviated pain in test subjects but also induced a psychedelic state. This dual effect rendered the drug unsuitable for everyday pain-management.
“When those patients were asked, the next day or the next week, if they would like to have another dose to treat pain, there was a significant amount of patients that said, ‘no thank you,’ because of the strong, psychedelic experience,” Ramaekers said.
In the recent study, the researchers sought to find a dosage of LSD that would reduce pain without spurring a psychedelic reaction.
They subjected 24 study participants to a cold-pressor task test in which they submerged their hands in ice-cold water to assess pain levels. Researchers then administered three separate doses of LSD: 5 micrograms, 10 micrograms, and 20 micrograms.
The first two doses saw negligible effects, but the 20 microgram dose yielded a decrease in pain that was comparable to that generated by opioids.
Though excited by his study’s results, Ramaekers and his team invite further research on the subject.
“The present study provides evidence of a protracted analgesic effect of LSD at a dose that is low enough to avoid a psychedelic experience,” they concluded. “The present data warrant further research into the analgesic effects of low doses of LSD in patient populations.”