Alcoholic Anonymous founder Bill Wilson put forth the controversial idea of using LSD, yes, LSD to reduce alcohol abuse. Is there any scientific evidence for this?
Published today in the Journal of Psycholpharmacology, researchers took a careful look at a wide range of studies (“meta-analysis”) and concluded:
…repeated doses of LSD – for example, weekly or monthly – might elicit more sustained effects on alcohol misuse than a single dose of LSD.
Of 536 participants in six trials, 59% of people receiving LSD reported lower levels of alcohol misuse, compared to 38% of people who received a placebo. “We were surprised that the effect was so clear and consistent,” says Krebs.
I certainly would not recommend using hallucinogenic drugs to help alcohol abuse, trading one addiction for another, but this result does open up interesting questions about the underlying causes of alcoholism at the neurological level. Do drugs such as LSD interact with similar sites in the brain (receptors) as does alcohol? Can brain cells become more and more resistant to such stimulation? Is the effect permanent, or can it be reversed with another drug, or better yet, by cognitive behavioral therapy, through sessions with a psychologist?