Swiss TV News Interview with LSD’s creator Albert Hofmann and MAPS’ researcher Peter Gasser
Lysergic acid diethylamide really sounds like gobbledygook. In fact it is the legendary drug LSD. LSD was originally intended to be a medication, but in the 60ies it was THE drug of the flower-power movement. The hippies took LSD to escape the bourgoisie with the hallucinations that it evokes. Therefore LSD was soon forbidden as a medication. Now LSD is celebrating its comeback in medical use in Switzerland, as the Swiss Radio (DRS) reports today. A doctor from Solothurn gives LSD to clients with anxiety states. Pascal Weber reports:
The most famous LSD-Trip in cinematic history: the closing scene in Stanley Kubriks Space Odyssey of 1968. 70 years ago Albert Hofmann of Switzerland did research for a medication for the cardiovascular system and in the process coincidentally found LSD. Soon the drug was misused.
That the problem child yet finds this position, that it becomes the wonder chlid – and that is it, what this means that is great.
Peter Gasser for 35 years the research with LSD was prohibited, now he is the first to get permission to test it on patients.
The use of LSD is embedded into a conventional psychotherapy, that means that these patients, these people are doing a psychotherapy with me, where everything is talked through before and after the use of LSD and during this therapy I’m holding two sessions, of a whole day each, with LSD. They are going to be conducted here in my practice under surveillance and accompanied by myself and another female therapist.
Gasser wants to free people who are so ill that they have only little time left to live and suffer from panic anxiety, of their fears.
You have to see, that people who are facing death, who know, they have to die soon, might have a need to come to terms with themselves, to clarify things, to look at their lives in an overall view, perhaps they have the wish for a spiritual experience, to feel connectivity and it has been found, that such experiences are possible or even very probable with LSD.
LSD is one of the scientifically best known substances. Thousands of researchers have tried to fathom the effects of LSD. Their results show that for the body LSD is absolutely harmless. But for the psyche it can be dangerous. Exactly for this reason the Ethics Commission of the Canton Argovia, the responsible authority for the permission of the Gasser’s study, has hesitated a long time before it gave it’s ok.
Head of the Ethics Commission:
The main questionmarks were of course the particular state of the patients, that they know that they don’t have much longer to live. A further questionmark that we had was also how the patients would be informed about the benefits but also about the risks of a bad trip, so they understand, so they don’t feel pressured.
In the end, the Ethics Commision decided that the benefit of the study was greater than the risks. Therefore Peter Gasser is allowed to carry out his strictly limited experiment with 12 patients.
It is an intensive, awake state of the mind, perhaps like an intensive daydream with increased perception in sight, hearing and feeling and in this time the patient is here, mostly still, lying comfortably on a mat, we are playing music, sometimes it is quiet, sometimes we lead short conversations. This is going on until the effect is over, after about 8 hours.
So LSD once again becomes what it once was: medication. Albert Hofmann, the man who coincidentally found LSD nearly 70 years ago, is particularly happy about this.
For me a very big wish came true. I thought, I would like to live to see that LSD finds the place where it belongs, and this is in human medicine.
In a month’s time Hofmann celebrates his 102nd birthday. Today he celebrates the rehabilitation of his invention LSD.
Now available: a transcript of the December 2007 Swiss TV interview with LSD’s creator Albert Hofmann and MAPS’ researcher Peter Gasser.