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Arran talks to Virginia Prescott on New Hampshire Public Radio - Word of Mouth

LSD as Therapy

By Virginia Prescott on Tuesday, November 17, 2009.


Your attorney probably wonÂ’t recommend a dose of whateverÂ’s in that brown bottle, but your doctor might. The medical and psychological community is studying hallucinogenics with renewed interest. The journal Neurology recently reported that LSD can be more effective than migraine medication for treating cluster headachesÂ…..

Arran Frood has been investigating the mental health communityÂ’s acceptance of hallucinogens for the Telegraph UK and joins us on the line now from England with more on the mental health communityÂ’s renewed interest in hallucinogenic drugs.

Previously on NHPR

Tripping Out At Harvard

By, Virginia Prescott  June 12,08.


Until this past February, when Dr. John Halpern began administering MDMA, better known as the club drug Ecstasy, to dying cancer patients. He got started by researching the use of peyote in Native American religious rituals. Now heÂ’s hoping Harvard will approve testing on the medical prospects for LSD for treating cluster headaches.

Freelance writer Peter Bebergal is based in Cambridge, Mass., and wrote about the new wave of psychedelic-drug research for the Boston Phoenix.

Article from the Boston Phoenix News -

Will Harvard drop acid again?

Psychedelic research returns to Crimsonland

By Peter Bebergal |  June 9, 2008 


Quote -

“The idea for the LSD study came from an unexpected place. Because of his reputation as one of the few above-ground researchers dealing with hallucinogens, Halpern was contacted by a young man who suffered from cluster headaches, who also found a great deal of long-term relief when he used psilocybin and LSD.

According to Halpern, cluster headaches are one of the most painful conditions known in medicine — a gruesome illness. Sufferers have described it as an ice pick slowly and insidiously boring through one’s eye and into one’s skull. The afflicted have been known to bang their heads against a wall and pull their hair out. “People anthropomorphize it,” says Halpern. “They call it the devil.”

Through Internet research, Halpern found a large community of cluster-headache sufferers who had learned, on their own, that hallucinogens could interrupt their attacks. The individuals, mostly members of cluster-headache support groups, had independently discovered that they all used LSD and psilocybin to self-medicate.

They had tried to get the attention and backing of neurologists, in an effort to lend credibility to their claims. But, because of what Halpern called the rigmarole of doing research with these drugs — given all the federal hoops through which one has to jump — their efforts and pleas were ignored. They eventually found Halpern, and he and a number of other researchers managed to interview 53 cluster-headache sufferers who had taken hallucinogens. In a paper published in 2006 in the journal Neurology, Halpern noted that no other medication was known to stop cluster headaches. And yet a little acid or some magic mushrooms seemed to do the trick.

Now their hope is to get approval from the FDA, and for McLean Hospital to actually administer LSD to cluster-headache sufferers. One of the principal researchers in the preliminary cluster-headache project, Dr. Andrew Sewell, thinks that this study is unlike any other. “You can find 50 people on the Internet who will claim anything,” says Sewell, “but to get a control group like this showed that a clinical trial is viable.”

I suggest to Halpern that, for a researcher looking to conduct LSD experiments, it is mighty serendipitous that the cluster-headache group would come along. There is a paisley-speckled chicken-and-egg question: is Halpern trying to do research with hallucinogens or is he trying to help people with cluster headaches? “It’s about legitimate science,” he says. “Patients that are enrolled in a research study deserve no less….”


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