After years of languishing on the fringes, LSD could be making a comeback, according to a University of Saskatchewan medical historian.
In a recently published paper in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Erika Dyck said that there is a resurgence of interest into lysergic acid diethylamide, the psychedelic drug commonly known as LSD.
"Increasingly you've had… very credible neuroscientists and physiologists… and even to a lesser extent drug regulators saying maybe we should look back at this," she said.
Dyck said LSD research ended when it became a pastime of the counter-culture of the 1960s.
"Some of the scientists at the time were criticising the method saying there is too much hype, there is too much enthusiasm, it's not real or not good science," Dyck said.
'The idea is that through having a single experience with LSD in a palliative state, it helps people confront death.' - Erika Dyck, medical historian
LSD was not curing people and would only be taken once, which meant there was no incentive for pharmaceutical companies. Although research showed success, especially in regards to alcoholism treatment, scientists found it difficult to keep doing research, get funding, or even acquire lab space if they were working with LSD.
"It got such a bad reputation," Dyck said.
Then in 2007, a British pharmacologist published a paper which said scientists may have been looking at psychedelic drugs all wrong which sent a "lightning bolt through scientific communities" Dyck says.
With the help of research tools previously unavailable to scientists like medical imaging techniques, scientists are looking at how the psychedelic could be used in palliative care, geriatric care, anxiety and depression.
"The idea is that through having a single experience with LSD in a palliative state, it helps people confront death," she said, adding the uses are still being explored.
"That idea is also being picked up by people exploring post-traumatic stress disorder with the use of psychedelics."
She said that LSD would not be used as a means of healing; instead it would be used as care management, allowing people to "get outside themselves."
Dyck added that she enjoys the "beautiful historical irony."
"Stereotypically, the baby boom generation ruined LSD, [but] they may reclaim it on their deathbed as our health care system moves more and more to catering to geriatric care and palliative care," she said.