Can LSD Be Used to Treat Alcoholism?

By McCarton Ackerman 03/09/12

A mind-blowing new study indicates that a single dose of acid may have real benefits for alcoholics in treatment.

An escape from alcoholism? Photo via

Having trouble with drinking? Maybe you should try a dose of Acid. Researchers claim that a single dose of LSD could be helpful in treating alcoholism. A new paper, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, examines six different trials throughout the '60s and '70s, involving a total of 536 patients being treated for alcohol problems. The researchers, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's department of neuroscience, discovered that 59% of subjects given a single dose of LSD showed improvements in their alcohol habits in follow-up assessments months later—compared with just 38% of people who didn't take the drug.

Perhaps most interestingly, the trials suggest that the anti-alcoholism benefits of LSD are more mental than physiological. "Many patients claim that they get significant insights into their problems, that they get a new perspective on their problems and motivation to solve them," says study co-author Pal-Orjan Johansen. However, the drug would need to be administered in conjunction with treatment; LSD had a positive influence on the alcohol habits of people up to six months out of treatment, but not on those who'd been away for up to one year. The study has aroused great interest in the scientific community; Donald MacPherson, director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, is calling for more research to be conducted on the subject. Psychedelics were identified by psychiatrists in the '50s as having a range of medical uses and AA co-founder Bill Wilson even praised the benefits of LSD in his book, Pass It On: The Story of Bill Wilson and How the AA Message Reached the World.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.