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If you are in crisis or contemplating self-harm or suicide, please call 988 or visit 988Lifeline.org, which provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24/7 in the United States. An extensive list of International suicide prevention hotlines can be found there. Remember: You are needed, you deserve to be here, and you are not alone. Reach out, and do not give up.
Having a Challenging Trip?
If you are experiencing a difficult psychedelic event, or still need help processing one, call or text 62-FIRESIDE. The Fireside Project offers free emotional support during or after a psychedelic experience. You can also download their app. Their services are completely confidential, and their staff is rigorously trained, compassionate, and knowledgeable regarding psychedelics. You can also contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at (800) 622-HELP (4357). Their confidential helpline is available 24/7 in English and Spanish for individuals and family members experiencing emotional distress or crisis.
Additional support resources can be found in the Zendo Project directory. The Zendo Project was founded in partnership with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. Their extensive list of harm reduction resources, emotional support services, and peer support hotlines offer a vast array of tools to help you move through a challenging experience and come out the other side feeling empowered and secure.
Having a Medical Emergency?
If you or a loved one are experiencing a medical emergency and require immediate attention, please dial 911 (USA) immediately.
Are You a Veteran Having a Medical Emergency?
If you are a veteran experiencing a difficult trip or crisis, please contact (800) 273-8255 and Press 1. This will connect you to the Veteran Crisis Line. Their hotline is staffed by experienced personnel, many of whom are also veterans. A trained responder will answer your call 24/7 to help you through a crisis, anxiety, or thoughts of self-harm.
Emotional and Crisis Support for the LGBTQIA+ Community.
Members of the LGBTQIA+ community may face unique and difficult situations during a challenging psychedelic experience. If you need emotional or crisis support, dial (888) 688-5428 or visit LGBThotline.org. Their hotline is designed for people of all ages and staffed by a dedicated team of highly trained volunteers from all parts of the LGBT+ community. They also offer a dedicated line for LGBT+ seniors that you can reach at (888) 234-7243.
Be Wary of Fentanyl-Contaminated Drugs.
The United States is experiencing a synthetic opioid epidemic that has claimed thousands of lives due to street drugs being adulterated with other drugs, such as fentanyl. Fentanyl is an incredibly powerful and deadly narcotic, with doses as low as two milligrams (a dose so small it could fit on the tip of a pencil) being potentially deadly. While it is never recommended to consume any illicit substances, it is critical that you or the people you know test any drugs you may ingest for fentanyl. Several non-profit harm reduction organizations, such as DanceSafe, offer fentanyl testing strips and at-home drug testing kits.
The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider. Some individuals with preexisting mental health conditions should not use psychedelics. Always consult with a trained medical professional about your specific healthcare needs.
Are Psychedelics Legal?
Most classical and non-classical psychedelic drugs are prohibited in the United States under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. This family of chemical compounds are considered Schedule I drugs, the most tightly controlled and generally illegal class. This includes psilocybin (aka Magic Mushrooms), Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), Ayahuasca, Ibogaine, Peyote, 2C-B, Cannabis, and others. Ketamine is also controlled under the same act and listed as a Schedule III drug. Due to the illegal or controlled nature of these drugs, it is not advised that you attempt to purchase, source, or otherwise possess any Scheduled substances, as you may be at risk of civil and criminal penalties.
The information provided on this website is intended for informational and harm reduction purposes only and does not constitute medical or legal advice. Nor is this information, or any journalistic stories, anecdotes, visual or artistic material intended as a replacement or supplement for medical or legal advice. It is important to understand that using any psychedelic compounds from the streets has significant risks and is unlikely to produce the promising results emerging in some clinical trials which involve particular dosing and purity, along with specific, carefully crafted psychotherapy in a safe, controlled environment. Various psychedelics purchased illegally often are adulterated with other, possibly harmful substances, making it difficult and not advisable to self-medicate for PTSD, anxiety, depression, or for the treatment of other mental health issues.
If someone were to tell you they’ve been using LSD for anxiety, what would you think? You probably wouldn’t expect that LSD, a powerful psychedelic drug most associated with the counterculture movement of the 1960s-1970s, would be a legitimate candidate in the search for new ways to treat generalized anxiety disorder.
But new research is changing that.
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD), often called “acid,” is a psychedelic drug known for its potent psychological effects. It was discovered in 1938 by Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann while studying ergot, a fungus that grows on rye. LSD’s journey from a Swiss lab in 1938 to clinical trials today is as colorful as its hallucinogenic reputation. Several studies highlighted the promise of LSD-assisted psychotherapy significantly reducing anxiety levels in participants. Yet, these trials also unveiled challenges tied to its psychedelic nature, showing that while the therapeutic potential is compelling, the path to clinical acceptance is still being paved.(1, 2, 3, 4)
Recent Clinical Trials Explore LSD for Anxiety
Recently, a Phase II clinical trial explored the effectiveness of LSD coupled with psychotherapy to alleviate anxiety, yielding promising results. Participants were administered LSD and exhibited significant reductions in anxiety symptoms compared to those given a placebo for up to 16 weeks. These findings provide promising results for the treatment of anxiety symptoms in the short term, but more studies need to be conducted to observe how LSD impacts these same symptoms after a longer amount of time.(1)
A literature review examining both the preclinical and clinical data related to LSD for the treatment of anxiety disorders suggests that even though LSD may temporarily increase anxiety, in the long term, it does induce anti-anxiety effects. This factor warrants consideration in therapeutic settings.(2)
Looking at other, more specific scenarios, a double-blind, randomized, active, placebo-controlled pilot study explored LSD-assisted psychotherapy in 12 patients grappling with anxiety associated with life-threatening diseases. The study aimed to study the effects of LSD-assisted psychotherapy in this particular population. The results of this pilot study indicated that in this setting, LSD may reduce anxiety.(3)
Yet another study looked at the effects of LSD administration to certain brain areas in mice subjected to chronic stress. The results of this study found that a higher dose of LSD given for a week did have the ability to stop the stress-induced behavior in the mice. Although this study was conducted in non-human research subjects, it may aid scientists in understanding the mechanism of LSD’s effect on anxiety.(4)
Ultimately, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests LSD has potential as a treatment for anxiety in some individuals, especially when combined with psychotherapy. The exploration of LSD’s efficacy across diverse anxiety-related scenarios, from generalized anxiety disorders to anxiety associated with severe illnesses, underscores the psychedelic’s versatile potential in mental health interventions.
How Can LSD Help With Anxiety?
Enhanced Emotional Insight:
Mindfulness and Present-Moment Awareness:
Altering Fear-based Thought Patterns:
LSD, like all psychedelics, is an extremely powerful compound and demands respect and care. Using LSD outside of a controlled setting should only be done after extensive research and education. Furthermore, if one is using LSD in a recreational setting or for self-growth, it is a good idea to have a responsible, sober person (known as a tripsitter) on hand to help you through any difficult moments.
Current Clinical Trials Exploring LSD for Anxiety
The resurgence of interest in psychedelic substances for mental health treatment has propelled LSD into the clinical trial arena, particularly concerning anxiety disorders. A range of ongoing and active trials are investigating the therapeutic efficacy and safety of LSD in alleviating anxiety symptoms. For instance, a noteworthy Phase IIb trial under the moniker MM-120, spearheaded by Mind Medicine Inc., has been greenlit by the FDA to explore the impact of LSD on individuals diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Another Phase IIb dose-optimization trial examines the dosing process, employing a novel (salt-based) form of LSD as a potential treatment for GAD.
Some Active or Recruiting LSD Clinical Trials:
LSD for Anxiety Phase IIb Trial:
This trial aims to explore the efficacy of LSD as a treatment options for anxiety associated with Severe Somatic Diseases or in Psychiatric Anxiety Disorders.(12)
Phase IIb Dose-Optimization Trial:
Another Phase IIb dose-optimization trial commenced on August 25, 2022, where the first patient was dosed with a pharmaceutically optimized form of LSD for treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder.(13)
LSD-Assisted For Major Depression Trial:
In a clinical trial, LSD-assisted psychotherapy researchers are exploring LSD’s ability to treat end-of-life related anxiety.(14)
The current clinical trials are paving the way for LSD to transition from a stigmatized recreational drug to a potential therapeutic ally. With each meticulously designed trial, the scientific community is peeling back layers of uncertainty surrounding LSD, unveiling its potential in a controlled, clinical setting. For instance, the dose-finding study of MM-120 strives to pinpoint the precise dosage where the benefits outweigh the risks, a crucial step for any drug on the path toward clinical acceptance. Exploring LSD-assisted psychotherapy reflects an innovative approach, merging the traditional with the psychedelic to unlock new treatment modalities for anxiety.
Highlighting new scientific findings, like those here, is about more than finding new treatments for conditions like anxiety, it’s about changing the narrative around LSD, redefining its role, and broadening the horizon of human knowledge. As clinicians delve deeper and more data emerges from ongoing trials, the medical fraternity is inching closer to a paradigm where LSD is not seen through the lens of the past but as a potential harbinger of hope for individuals grappling with anxiety disorders. The quest for alternatives in mental health care propels the scientific inquiry forward, and LSD, with its psychedelic allure and emerging evidence of therapeutic utility, seems to be a part of this unfolding narrative.
As research continues and results are published, LSD will be seen as more than a party drug or something from a bygone era. Instead, clinicians around the globe are proving that LSD has a real place in the future of mental health and psychiatric care.
- Holze, F., Gasser, P., Müller, F., Dolder, P. C., & Liechti, M. E. (2022). Lysergic acid diethylamide-assisted therapy in patients with anxiety with and without a life-threatening illness A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase II study. Biological Psychiatry, 93(3). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36266118/
- Inserra, A., Piot, A., Danilo De Gregorio, & Gobbi, G. (2023). Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) for the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders: Preclinical and Clinical Evidence. CNS Drugs, 37(9), 733–754. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40263-023-01008-5
- Gasser, P., Holstein, D., Michel, Y., Doblin, R., Yazar-Klosinski, B., Passie, T., & Brenneisen, R. (2014). Safety and Efficacy of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide-Assisted Psychotherapy for Anxiety Associated With Life-threatening Diseases. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 202(7), 513–520. https://doi.org/10.1097/nmd.0000000000000113
- De Gregorio, D., Inserra, A., Enns, J. P., Markopoulos, A., Pileggi, M., El Rahimy, Y., Lopez-Canul, M., Comai, S., & Gobbi, G. (2022). Repeated lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) reverses stress-induced anxiety-like behavior, cortical synaptogenesis deficits, and serotonergic neurotransmission decline. Neuropsychopharmacology. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41386-022-01301-9
- Fuentes, J. J., Fonseca, F., Elices, M., Farré, M., & Torrens, M. (2020). Therapeutic Use of LSD in Psychiatry: A Systematic Review of Randomized-Controlled Clinical Trials. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 10(943). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00943
- Dolder, P. C., Schmid, Y., Müller, F., Borgwardt, S., & Liechti, M. E. (2016). LSD Acutely Impairs Fear Recognition and Enhances Emotional Empathy and Sociality. Neuropsychopharmacology, 41(11), 2638–2646. https://doi.org/10.1038/npp.2016.82
- Ly, C., Greb, A. C., Cameron, L. P., Wong, J. M., Barragan, E. V., Wilson, P. C., Burbach, K. F., Soltanzadeh Zarandi, S., Sood, A., Paddy, M. R., Duim, W. C., Dennis, M. Y., McAllister, A. K., Ori-McKenney, K. M., Gray, J. A., & Olson, D. E. (2018). Psychedelics Promote Structural and Functional Neural Plasticity. Cell Reports, 23(11), 3170–3182. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2018.05.022
- de Vos Cato M. H., Mason Natasha L., Kuypers Kim P. C. Psychedelics and Neuroplasticity: A Systematic Review Unraveling the Biological Underpinnings of Psychedelics, Frontiers in Psychiatry. Vol. 12, 2021. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.724606. DOI=10.3389/fpsyt.2021.724606. ISSN=1664-0640
- Letheby, C., & Gerrans, P. (2017). Self unbound: ego dissolution in psychedelic experience. Neuroscience of Consciousness, 2017(1). https://doi.org/10.1093/nc/nix016
- Simonsson, O., Stenfors, C. U. D., Goldberg, S. B., Hendricks, P. S., & Osika, W. (2023). Altered states of leadership: mindfulness meditation, psychedelic use, and leadership development. Frontiers in Psychology, 14, 1151626. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1151626
- Less fear: How LSD affects the brain. (n.d.). ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170404124640.htm
- CTG Labs – NCBI. (n.d.). Clinicaltrials.gov. Retrieved October 24, 2023, from https://clinicaltrials.gov/study/NCT03153579?cond=Anxiety&term=LSD&rank=1
- CTG Labs – NCBI. (n.d.). Clinicaltrials.gov. Retrieved October 24, 2023, from https://clinicaltrials.gov/study/NCT05407064
- CTG Labs – NCBI. (n.d.). Clinicaltrials.gov. Retrieved October 24, 2023, from https://clinicaltrials.gov/study/NCT05883540?cond=Anxiety&term=LSD&rank=3