There are few drugs that have given rise to more popular misinformation than LSD. Reaching its peak popularity in the 1960s and the days of the hippie counterculture, LSD has always been shrouded in mystery. Recently, new ways of administering LSD, such as microdosing, have led to another wave of interest in the drug, as well as a swell of myths about its effects.
Research into LSD and its effects on a wide variety of mental illnesses such as depression is still ongoing, and scientists are learning more by the day. However, enough is known to clarify a few popular myths about LSD. Here are a few:
- LSD will open up your unconscious
Research on LSD has shown that users often report new insights and connections after taking the drug, sometimes even after only a single dose. Some proponents of the drug even argue that it fundamentally changes how you perceive the world, and some new research indicates it could have a positive impact on how depressed patients perceive themselves. However, none of this means that users are ‘unlocking’ their deeper mind. Any drug can alter the brain, and LSD is no exception. But LSD does not offer a gateway to a deeper level of awareness.
- LSD is extremely dangerous, no matter how much you take, and will fry your brain
This does not mean taking the drug is recommended, or that it cannot be dangerous. However, claims that any use of the drug at all will lead to permanent harm to the brain are unfounded and not supported by research. New studies where LSD was administered in a controlled setting at fairly low doses indicate the drug may have some therapeutic benefit. And there are many others who have used it infrequently with little reported negative long-term effects.
- LSD puts you at a much higher risk of mental illness and suicide
There are some cases where heavy use of LSD led to users going insane. However, these cases appear to be fairly rare, and LSD does not appear to have a very strong link to the development of mental illness. Some studies even indicate that LSD use was associated with a lower lifetime risk of suicide. Recent research has also shown that LSD, when administered in careful doses by a clinician, could possibly have some benefit in the treatment of depression.
- Microdosing LSD will cure you of depression
A recent wave of interest in LSD microdosing (administering doses of the drug that are small enough that there is the little hallucinogenic effect) has led to some claims that it is a miracle cure for depression. While there has been some research done between LSD and depression, microdosing doesn’t appear to be a cure-all. There are some reports that it can improve symptoms, but there is not enough research to recommend LSD microdosing as an effective treatment for depression.
- LSD is physically addictive
There is little research that indicates that LSD leads to symptoms of physical addiction like those seen with nicotine or alcohol. There is evidence that it can lead to some level of psychological dependence with repeated use, which can lead to anxiety and mood effects upon discontinuation, but aside from this, there is little to show that it has addictive properties.
It is not recommended that you go out and start taking LSD. It is a potent hallucinogen and should be avoided unless you are involved in a clinical trial. That said, it is important that you recognize what is fact and what is fiction about LSD and how it affects the mind.