A recent study has found that microdosing lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) can improve pain tolerance in humans. The non-addictive psychedelic drug was popularized by the 60’s counterculture and more recently by ravers.
The researchers discovered that LSD has potent analgesic properties, VICE reported. This is the first study to revisit LSD’s potential pain relieving capabilities since the war on drugs, which ended studies of the drug because it made it a Schedule I controlled substance.
“This study in healthy volunteers shows that a low dose of LSD produces an analgesic effect in the absence of a psychedelic effect,” lead researcher Jan Ramaekers said in a statement. “The magnitude of the analgesic effect appears comparable to analgesic effects of opioids in the same pain model.”
The study gave volunteers single doses of 5, 10 or 20 micrograms of LSD, or a placebo, over several days. The researchers assessed the volunteers’ pain tolerances by having the volunteers submerge their hands in cold water (37 degrees Fahrenheit) for as long as they could. The LSD improved the volunteers’ pain tolerance by 20%.
“The present data suggests low doses of LSD could constitute a useful pain management treatment option that is not only effective in patients but is also devoid of the problematic consequences associated with current mainstay drugs, such as opioids,” said Amanda Feilding, Founder and Director of the Beckley Foundation. “Over 16 million people worldwide are currently suffering from Opioid Use Disorder and many more will become hooked as a result of oversubscription of pain medication.
Cannabis, also a Schedule I controlled substance, has become a new-age painkiller. Recently, chronic pain was found to be the most common reason people give when enrolling in state-approved medical marijuana programs (64.9%).