The Saskatchewan group argued that the drug needed to be provided in a nurturing environment to be effective. However, the Toronto researchers held more credibility than the Saskatchewan researchers--who were led by a controversial, British psychiatrist, Dr. Humphry Osmond--and the Saskatchewan group's research was essentially buried.
But Dyck believes there is value in the Saskatchewan group's experiments.
"The LSD experience appeared to allow the patients to go through a spiritual journey that ultimately empowered them to heal themselves, and that's really quite an amazing therapy regimen," Dyck said. "Even interviewing the patients 40 years after their experience, I was surprised at how loyal they were to the doctors who treated them, and how powerful they said the experience was for them--some even felt the experience saved their lives."
In spite of the promise LSD showed as psychotherapy tool, its subsequent popularity as a street drug, and the perception of it as a threat to public safety, triggered a worldwide ban in the late 1960s--including its use in medical experiments. However, the ban on its use in medical experiments appears to be lifting, Dyck noted. A few groups of researchers in the U.S., including a team at Harvard, have recently been granted permission to conduct experiments with LSD.
"We accept all sorts of drugs, but I think LSD's 'street' popularity ultimately led to its demise," Dyck said. "And that's too bad, because I think the researchers in Saskatchewan, among others, showed the dru
Contact: Ryan Smith
University of Alberta