Lysergic acid diethylamide: a drug of ‘use’?

This review (2016) provides a chronologic history of LSD and examines its safety profile, the potential for abuse, its therapeutic potential to treat alcoholism or terminally ill patients. It also summarizes insights about its receptor pharmacology, mechanism of action, and (adverse) effects, while highlighting some of its potential clinical applications such as an antianxiety agent, a creativity enhancer, a suggestibility enhancer, or a performance enhancer.

Abstract

“Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), described as a classical hallucinogen, began its journey from the middle of the last century following an accidental discovery. Since then, it was used as a popular and notorious substance of abuse in various parts of the world. Its beneficial role as an adjunct to psychotherapy was much unknown, until some ‘benevolent’ experiments were carried out over time to explore some of its potential uses. But, many of its effects were unclear and seemed to be a psychedelic enigma. In this review article, we have described the receptor pharmacology, mechanism of action, effects and adverse effects of LSD on the normal body system. We have also highlighted its addictive potentials and the chances of developing tolerance. We have assimilated some of the interesting therapeutic uses of this drug, such as an antianxiety agent, a creativity enhancer, a suggestibility enhancer, and a performance enhancer. We have also described LSD to be successfully used in drug and alcohol dependence, and as a part of psychedelic peak therapy in terminally ill patients. The relevant chronological history and literature in the light of present knowledge and scenarios have been discussed. Based on available evidence, LSD could be tried therapeutically in certain specific conditions under controlled settings. But as we mention, due to all the safety concerns, the use of this nonaddictive ‘entheogen’ in actual practice warrants a lot of expertise, caution, cooperation and ethical considerations.”

Authors: Saibal Das, Preeti Barnwal, Anand Ramasamy, Sumalya Sen & Somnath Mondal

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