LSD and other psychedelics may be good for you, scientists say
Far from being a bad trip, 'mind-enhancing' drugs don't damage mental health and may even improve it
FAR out, man. LSD, the hallucinogenic drug of choice for a generation of 'turned on' musicians and writers, may actually be good for you.
A team of Norwegian researchers reached their startling conclusion after an "exhaustive study" on tens of thousands of Americans, The Independent reports.
Since its heyday in the Swinging Sixties, LSD - or Lysergic Acid Diethlymide - has earned a fearsome reputation for inducing flashbacks, uncontrollable paranoia attacks and a desire to leap off tall buildings, the paper says. But the study of more than 130,000 people - of whom 22,000 had used a psychedelic drug at least once - suggested there was no link between "mind-enhancing" drugs and psychological problems.
Indeed, in several cases, psychedelic drug use was associated with a lower rate of mental health problems, the researchers say in an article published in the science journal Plos One.
The results do not amount to an appeal to "turn on, tune in and drop out" - the mantra of Sixties psychedelic drug advocate Timothy Leary, the Independent says. But they do challenge "opinion long-held in parts of the medical profession" that psychedelics are inevitably bad for you.
One of the authors of the study, Teri Krebs from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, told Norwegian website The Local that "everything has some risk". "Psychedelics can elicit temporary feelings of anxiety and confusion, but accidents leading to serious injury are extremely rare," Krebs said. "Over the past 50 years, tens of millions of people have used psychedelics and there is just not much evidence of long-term problems."
Krebs added that early studies linking psychedelics to mental health problems were based on a small number of case reports from patients who were already mentally ill.
Paul McCartney is one of many musicians who has admitted taking LSD and said it was "pretty obvious" The Beatles' Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds was inspired by the drug.
Last year, police in Miami claimed a man who was found eating another man's face had overdosed on a new, powerful form of LSD. ·