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The “trippy vibes” are all around; in social media, in the perspectives of the youth, staying “trippy” is most certainly a positive aspect in the modern day. Although the social media praises the ideas and colors of “tripping,” it is actually becoming an increasingly popular trend in the medicinal world to study the behavior and effects of LSD and how it can aid those dealing with all sorts of mental and physical issues, especially in psychotherapy.
Before discussing the trend of LSD in the medical realm, it’s important to know what LSD is, and what it can produce when taken. LSD, or Lysergic Acid Diethylamide is a synthetic (or man-made) drug that has been noted for its hallucinogenic nature in places such as raves and hippie-cultured events. The hallucinogen is found in various forms, including crystalized (its purest form), liquidized for blotter paper, gel paper (for oral ingestion only), or eye drops. A hallucinogen is a drug that produces psychedelic effects and is known to potentially produce hallucinations,. While the only hallucinogen being used in a medicinal nature is LSD, hallucinogens can also expand to MDMA, “Magic Mushrooms”, PCP, Ketamine, DXM, Peyote, and Mescaline.
Hallucinogen users go through a “trip” or a long-term high that leaves the person feeling euphoric and more appreciative of their life as well as the life around them. The negative effects of LSD consist of a lack of appetite, lack of sleep, and a potential “bad trip,” where the user goes through extreme paranoia alongside other negative emotions such as anger and sadness. It is also important to refrain from taking any SSRI medication (anti-depressants) while using LSD, as it can also be a contributor of a bad trip. Users also make the mistake of being in a negative environment when tripping, which will also cause a bad trip. If the user does start to become paranoid, it is suggested another person be the user’s “guide” or “coach” to help aid in soothing the mind.
LSD has been a growing trend since the 1500’s, where farmers discovered Ergot – a fungus growing on wheat and rye plants. When the fungus infected the plants, it would cause the plant to turn black in color. However, due to the lack of food, medicinal, or drug knowledge in the 1500’s, the farmers assumed it would be fine to eat. When the farmers and families ate the Ergot infected wheat or rye, they would show symptoms of what looked similar to an LSD trip, including violent behavior, hallucinations, vomiting, and muscle spasms. It was later believed by one researcher that the violent and unpredictable nature of Ergot could have been the reason that the Salem Witch Trials came to be in the 1600’s. He proposed that the witches that were hanged, burned, or drowned, were only deemed as witches because they were experiencing the effects of Ergot. Though this is still only one belief and is not something that can be proven, – seeing that the bodies are far too old to detect any traces of Ergot – other theories have cycled through that included Ergot as not the main cause, but the effects following the days after ingesting the Ergot were to blame for the violent nature of the “witches”. Regardless, the use of hallucinogens has been a trend for centuries.
While Ergot may have been the drug of choice in the 1500’s, Swiss scientist, Albert Hoffman discovered LSD in 1943 while looking for a blood circulation stimulant. After 25 attempts, he found the stimulant he wanted all along. Albert accidentally ingested his creation and noticed “an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscope like play of colors.” He took it again days later in a much larger dose to see the effects but was exposed to a “bad trip” which turned good hours later.
Although LSD is still illegal recreationally and medicinally, the drug is still being researched today. Usually conducted in other countries or underground, LSD has been noted as a potential miracle drug for modern medicine, if research proves its worth. It has become an increasingly popular trend to study, as more results have shown positive impact towards patients as opposed to the negative. Which of course, the negative reasons are why it is being held off as a legal medicine.
Over the past 10-20 years, research shows that LSD has helped patients with cluster (suicide) headaches alleviate their pain or completely rid them of the headaches. It has been shown that 100% of patients who have taken LSD to temporarily alleviate their cluster headaches have seen permanent results such as being completely cured from cluster headaches, having less frequent cluster headaches, or having less severe cluster headaches. LSD also is being looked at as a potential benefactor in people with PTSD, results from research have shown that patients have done better on the PTSD-ST (Post traumatic stress disorder self test) that have had LSD incorporated psychotherapy sessions as opposed to those having basic psychotherapy sessions.
Finally, According to MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) LSD is being increasingly looked at for relieving anxiety patients of their stresses during psychotherapy sessions. Studies show that within two LSD administered psychotherapy sessions, patients were feeling better and anxiety was a thing of the past. While LSD is not an anti-depressant, it is shown to cause emotions of love and euphoria, which is why it is so beneficial for anxiety patients. The downfall of this research is, some researchers say that the use of LSD in anxiety related psychotherapy sessions has triggered a bad trip in which the patients need to be monitored for anywhere from 8 hours to two days.
Even though LSD is a very suggestive drug, the trend of researching it for the benefits of mental and physical health is growing rapidly. As more information about the unpredictability of LSD becomes known, the more likely research is to push for the legalization of it medicinally in psychotherapy sessions. As far as recreationally, it doesn’t seem to be happening any time soon and most likely won’t ever be something that current living generations see. It is more beneficial to “stay trippy” for the medical reasons than that of the recreational.
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