LSD has been in use for increased personal awareness, spiritual epiphanies, and a host of serious medical conditions. But until recently any "benefits" were shrouded in official controversy. Harvard and a Norwegian university just came out with an analysis of previous studies showing that there are indeed benefits.
As Dr. Fadiman reveals, these are no secret to science. Before it was banned, LSD was "the most researched psychiatric drug on the planet," he claims. It was first synthesized in 1938 from ergot fungi growing on spoiled rye grain and is effective in miniscule doses of only millionths of a gram.
Mainstream researchers used LSD therapeutically to treat alcoholism, common neuroses, and even AUTISM before it was banned by the government in 1966. Among hardcore alcoholics there was a 50% success rate, with even higher efficacy rates in treating autism.
Curiously, the main effect of LSD occurs after the drug itself has left the body, Dr. Fadiman reveals. It is thought to work by opening up one's "awareness capacity," what Buddhists might call insight. Religious Studies scholar Dr. Huston Smith learned this after taking LSD and having an experience which confirmed what he understood to be at the core of all religious faiths:
"Psychedelics give you a kind of a different view of everything... they take you much more into observing your life," he concluded.
A recent study at UCLA demonstrates how this inner journey can help people diagnosed with terminal cancer. According to Dr. Fadiman a drug similar to LSD, natural psilocybin, has successfully treated anxiety in late-stage cancer patients.