LSD, Ecstasy Tested on Terminally Ill Patients

Researchers are exploring the use of hallucinogenic drugs like LSD and ecstasy as a form of “psychedelic psychotherapy” for terminally ill patients, London’s Daily Telegraph reported Tuesday.

A clinical trial involving LSD began in Switzerland, in June. Eight patients were given 200 micrograms of LSD and four patients were given 20 micrograms. They will be assessed for anxiety levels, quality of life and pain levels.

Scientists are also looking into the possibility of using ecstasy to treat patients dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The decision to study the two drugs came after two American studies showed psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, had promising mental health results in both sick and healthy individuals.

Charles Grob, a professor of psychiatry at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in California, carried out a study of 12 terminally ill patients who took psilocybin.

At least one patient, who has colorectal cancer and had lost hope, said she reached an “epiphany” while taking the mushrooms, that her fear of the disease was destroying the time she had left.

Grob’s study has yet to be published, but it comes on the heels of similar work at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md. Positive results were seen in 36 healthy individuals given psilocybin and observed in a laboratory there.

European researchers are hoping LSD and ecstasy will have similar effects.