For generations, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) has been regarded as a psychedelic drug that can cause unpredictable effects such as hallucinations or an apparent extension of consciousness. While the seemingly contradictory and inconsistent effects of LSD use are known, a study by the Imperial College London confirmed that LSD can cause paradoxical effects, including psychosis-like symptoms and improved psychological well-being.
The research, titled “The paradoxical psychological effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD),” was conducted to study the paradoxical effects of LSD and whether it can improve the overall well-being of a patient. Known for its both positive and negative effects on the mental health of a person, the study, published online in the journal Psychological Medicine in February 2016, prompted the scientists to infer that the effects of LSD could be due to the drug’s proneness to cause “cognitive looseness” or highly enhanced mental flexibility.
Lead researcher Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris said, “There’s probably a sweet spot to the balance of thinking between flexibility on the one hand — the ability to be adaptive and creative — and then on the other hand, to be able to focus and be organized.”
“While more flexibility can lead to more creativity it can paradoxically also increase the risk of psychosis,” he added.
Pointing to the fact that LSD-based treatments can help treat a range of mental illness and cure depressive disorders, Carhart-Harris said, “Maybe to some extent, that’s what normal waking consciousness is like when you’re healthy – you inhabit this spot. Maybe psychedelics push you a little bit towards the pole of more flexibility, more creativity.”
The experiment was conducted on 20 healthy adults who were made to attend two laboratory sessions with a gap of two weeks. The participants were administered 75 mg LSD during the first session and were distributed placebo in the second. The OAV questionnaire developed to integrate research on altered states of consciousness was used by the researchers for measuring the participants’ spiritual experiences, anxiousness, complex imagination and other known effects of psychotropic drugs. A separate questionnaire was used to track the participants’ psychosis like symptoms.
While LSD administered during the first session appeared to produce bewildering and conflicting outcomes in the participants, influencing the versatility of the mind along with creating a high, symptoms resembling psychosis were also found.
The participants were made to assess their personalities and tendencies towards buoyancy and level of delusion at the end of two weeks after each session. The results suggested that the participants became more confident and showed greater desire for more knowledge and experience. The researchers also observed that their thinking process did not appear to become more or less delusional.
The researchers concluded that psychoactive substances like LSD and psilocybin (found in magic mushrooms) can be used for treatment purposes in the long run despite their tendencies to produce a psychosis like mental state in initial phases.
Way to recovery
The effects of LSD are said to mimic psychosis, but can be used to treat mental health issues in a controlled manner. If you or your loved one is suffering from mental illness and is looking for professional advice, you may get in touch with the Florida Mental Health Helpline for certified therapeutic interventions and curative procedures. You may call our 24/7 helpline at 866-846-5588 or chat online for further information.