Leary to Foley: This Will Cure What Ails You


Is LSD to alcoholism as DDT is to malaria? According to one somewhat dubious study (recently unearthed from the '60s), after a single big ol' dose of LSD "two-thirds of the alcoholics stopped drinking for at least 18 months after receiving one dose of LSD, compared to 25 per cent who stopped after group therapy and 12 per cent after individual therapy." Soon after the study was done, however, a ban on LSD closed down experimentation with the drug, blocking further experiments on therapeutic use.

LSD may soon be back in fashion, though, at least for men in white coats:

The ban on the use of LSD in medical experiments appears to be lifting, as researchers in the US have recently been granted permission to conduct experiments. In Britain, some psychiatrists have been calling for research projects involving LSD and similar drugs to be re-started. The Royal College of Psychiatrists discussed the use of the drugs in treatment at its annual meeting in March, for the first time in over 30 years.

For an impressively (but not surprisingly) thorough look at the history and chemistry of LSD, check out Wikipedia's entry. For Reason writers on LSD, go here and here.

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  1. Incidentally, Ayahuasca has been investigated for purported abilities to reduce alcohol and other drug addiction.

  2. Incidentally, Ayahuasca has been investigated for purported abilities to reduce alcohol and other drug addiction.

  3. I wouldn’t expect to see the use of LSD to treat alcoholism become terribly widespread. The steps in between “promising experimental margin” and “a drug ready to be pushed at doctors” are many and treacherous, not the least of which because the FDA is a favorite place for Washington to deploy ideological zealots. Besides, with luck we’ll be able to solve the problem with transcranial stimulation soon anyway.

  4. Don’t forget Ibogaine.

  5. What’s so dubious about the study, especially considering the follow-up 40 years after…?

  6. First off, a drug post not from Sullum. heresy.
    Second, Check out the Wikipedia entry for Bill Wilson (founder of AA) according to his recent biography he had a good trip that made him believe that acid had powers for curing alcoholism. (i’d post a link but I’m sure i’d screw it up)

  7. Lucky Drunks.

  8. Yeah, but it’s mostly because they’re too busy being curled up in a ball and watching Dark Side of the Rainbow to venture “out there” and buy a bottle of whiskey from the liquor store clerk who “Totally knows, man…”

  9. I doubt LSD “cures” any bad habits, so much as it puts the user in the frame of mind capable of objectively seeking positive achievement, with the help of proper encouragement and attitudinal changes. Plain group therapy would probably just be maddening by itself.

  10. I stopped drinking after LSD. Of course, I attribute that to the same reason that I stopped masturbating after I got a girlfriend.

    If only LSD cured homosexuality. Then it would become a platform in the Republican party.

  11. Leary actually makes that argument in Politics of Ecstacy. He believed it could change one’s homosexual orientation. He doesn’t use the word cure of course.

  12. Leary actually makes that argument in Politics of Ecstacy. He believed it could change one’s homosexual orientation. He doesn’t use the word cure of course.

  13. I read about this in the LATimes?

    The critics of this experiment did their own study to remove what they claimed were faults w/ the experiment?

    When they did it, they dosed the AA?s and then…
    tied them up so they couldn?t move and didn?t speak to them during the drugs effective fase

    They got negative results?..
    who’d’ve thought?

  14. Heh… “For Reason writers on LSD…”

    I just assumed you were all on LSD. 😉

  15. dude… what was I on when I hit post…


  16. Further,

    Do you have a link to that article?

    If true, I hope there was full diclosure that they were volunteering to be tortured.

  17. Either further typed that post while on LSD, or he joined the annoying growing number of people who type their posts in Word and then post, ignoring the fact that comment software wrescks Word formatting.

  18. I’m I’m I’m I’m on on on on on Ell Ell Ell Ess Ess Ess Dee Dee Dee right right now now now now NOW NOW NOW NOW now now now ow ow owowowowowow…

  19. went through acid faze in mid 70’s. enjoyed every trip exept one. mushrooms were better. wish i had more time to explore. rb seattle

  20. It’s bunk. Leary was himself a total drunk, and I know from personal experience. I sat with him at a bar after he lectured at my college in the 80s, and he proudly proclaimed that the double tequila he was drinking was his “real drug”.

  21. I know for a fact that LSD did not make me, er, I mean, does not make one stop drinking. Quite the opposite, in fact.

  22. Was it LSD which made Carrie Nation the upstanding citizen that she was?

  23. I happen to know at least one booze hound that all the acid in the world wouldn’t cure.

    Though, I’m told, that after you drop that it’s pointless to do anything else (besides a toke here and there) because NOTHING is going to break through the zone. So yeah, when you’re tripping, you are not fiending the alcohol buzz.

    Terorific: They DO know, man.

  24. Acuialy many have questioned the research RACHIAL CARSON used in her book SILENT SPRING and that DDT was banned using questionible JUNK SCIENCE

  25. Leary’s and Alpert’s stats on criminal recidivism rates are astounding and have never been matched. Re-imprinting is the method, and the applications with psychotropia have not been fully explored. Probably why the gov’t purveyors of syphillis are interested. Read Lorenz for the basics, this: http://www.bodynamicusa.com/Pages/Res_pages/link013.html
    for the outre apps.

  26. Mr. Nice Guy

    I have to disagree. I had one experience where pounding 5 drinks from a keg in a few minutes was the only thing that kept me from bugging out too much.

    Didn’t feel drunk, but stopped freaking, ya know?

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