Self-Experimentations with Psychedelics Among Mental Health Professionals: LSD in the Former Czechoslovakia

This qualitative study (n=22) conducted a structured interview assessing the attitudes towards psychedelic self-experimentation amongst mental health professionals who took LSD (25-1000μg/70kg) legally between the years 1952–1974 in former Czechoslovakia. Most of the respondents reported positive effects in the domain of self-awareness and/or in their didactic ability to comprehend the world of mentally ill patients. None of the respondents reported any long-term negative effect of their self-experimentation.

Abstract

Introduction: This article enquires into auto-experiments with psychedelics. It is focused on the experiences and current attitudes of mental health professionals who experimented with LSD in the era of legal research of this substance in the former Czechoslovakia. The objective of the follow-up study presented was to assess respondents’ long-term views on their LSD experience(s). A secondary objective was to capture the attitude of the respondents toward the use of psychedelics within the mental health field.

Methods: A total of 22 individuals participated in structured interviews.

Results: None of the respondents reported any long-term negative effect and all of them except two recorded enrichment in the sphere of self-awareness and/or understanding to those with mental disorder(s). Although there were controversies with regard to the ability of preventing possible negative consequences, respondents were supportive towards self-experiments with LSD in mental health sciences.

Discussion: This article is the first systematic examination of the self-experimentation with psychedelics that took place east of the Iron Curtain.”

Authors: Petr Winkler & Ladislav Csémy

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