Letter LSD-assisted psychotherapy in persons suffering from anxiety

Read this letter from MAPS researcher Peter Gasser discussing his recently approved Swiss LSD-End of life study.

Dear friends and colleagues,

Yesterday (Dec. 5) I received the approval form of the Swiss Ministry of Health (BAG) for my study. That means that I am fully through the approval process and I am allowed right now to start with LSD-assisted therapy. As to my knowledge it is the first time worldwide since 1972 (Richards, Grof, Goodman und Kurland) that it will be legally possible to treat people with LSD in psychotherapy.

I am very proud and happy that this opportunity is open to me and Barbara Speich, the co-therapist and it is very clear for me that I would like to dedicate this study to Albert Hofmann the inventor (or he would say the finder) of LSD. I phoned him and for him as well it is a satisfaction to know that his problem child will become a new chance to prove its value under scientific conditions, i.e. that LSD-assisted psychotherapy is safe and effective. To show this will be the task of my pilot study. I am convinced that this will succeed but I am unprejudiced enough to remain curious what results the study will give.

I already thanked several people who supported my work and I would like to thank again all those who helped until now. It may be uncommon to thank already at the start of a study and I hope not to be too euphoric, but the difficulties were enormous and the relief is big, so that I just have the urge to thank to important people, even if there may happen new difficulties in the course of our work.

And now? How do we continue?

After processing the LSD and randomizing, I will inform my professional colleagues and specialized institutions and to a certain extent also the public about the study and the possibility of treating. I chose an open definition for inclusion criteria and the Ethics Committee supported this decision, i.e. that not only patients with advanced, metastatic cancer (but these people may participate as well) may participate but also people with other somatic disease that cause existential anxiety, e.g. multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, autoimmune states, chronic infectious diseases like AIDS etc. The focus of the treatment is the anxiety and not the somatic disease itself.

At the moment I dont know how difficult it will be to recruit participants. Theoretically we will start in January or February of 2008.

With my best regards,
Peter Gasser