LSD-assisted psychotherapy and the human encounter with death

This early study (1972; n=31) on LSD-assisted psychotherapy (200-500µg) showed the promise of using psychedelics in combination with therapy. The participants of the study were diagnosed with cancer and received therapy/preparation before (10 hours) and after (1-2 hours). Of these patients, 9 (29%) significantly improved on scores of emotional/mental health.


“31 patients diagnosed at various stages of cancer progression were referred for therapy consisting of drug-free preparatory interviews totalling 6-12 over 2-3 wks, an all-day LSD session, and postsession interviews used to facilitate integration of the LSD experience. Assessment of LSD dosage was based on body weight and emotional defenses. Patients’ conditions pre- and postsession were assessed by therapist, cotherapist, physician, nurse, family member, and independent rater on scales of depression, anxiety, pain, fear of death, isolation, and management. Of 36 mean scores, 3 did not demonstrate any significant or strongly positive trend. 9 patients dramatically improved, 13 moderately improved, and 9 remained essentially unchanged. 2 cases are examined in depth. The mechanics and process of the LSD experience are discussed and suggestions are made for further research.”

Authors: William A. Richards, Stanislav Grof, Louis E. Goodman & Albert A. Kurland

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