The first study of its kind to test the potential of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) as an analgesic since the 1960s has been conducted by the Beckley Foundation and Maastricht University -- and it comes bearing promising results.
The research team has found that tiny, non-psychedelic doses of the drug could act as an effective pain-reliever.
Conducted through a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial where 24 healthy subjects were recruited, the study examined the effects of three different LSD microdose (five, 10, and 20 micrograms) in four separate experimental sessions, separated by minimum five days.
Pain tolerance of the healthy volunteers was tested by completing a Cold Pressor Test at two different time points, specifically following the 90 minutes after and five minutes after dosing.
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This test was meant to assess the pain tolerance levels of the volunteers by asking them to submerge their hands in the cold water for as long as they could.
The results were, by researchers' description, "remarkable". The researchers wrote, "The current data consistently indicated that LSD 20 µg significantly reduced pain perception as compared with placebo, whereas lower doses of LSD did not. LSD 20 µg significantly increased pain tolerance (i.e. immersion time) by about 20%, while decreasing the subjective levels of experienced painfulness and unpleasantness.”
The said results were seen on both time points suggesting the pain-relief given by LSD was just as prominent five hours later as it is within the first 90 minutes.
Moreover, perhaps the most interesting finding to come out of the study was the fact that the analgesic effect seen in the 20-µg LSD group was similar to the other studies which have done the same pain test with oxycodone and morphine.
Such results are definitely worth exploring since this means that, with further studies, there could be possible applications of LSD as a non-addictive pain medication.
The study was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.