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LSD Increasingly Popular Now That 'the World Is on Fire'

Illustration for article titled LSD Increasingly Popular Now That the World Is on Fire
Image: AP

Since vacations are out of the question for the foreseeable future, many people are getting creative, pretending backyard kiddie pools are the ocean, imagining biking to a new neighborhood is the same thing as hopping on a plane, fantasizing that putting a blindfold on and having our roommates spin us around 30 times is an “adventure.” Anything, really, to beat the simultaneous monotony and panic that coronavirus has brought. But what is the best way of traveling without actually going anywhere? The answer, for a lot of us, seems to be psychedelics. Obviously.

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A new study has found that the popularity of LSD has spiked in the last few years, with use among adults in the U.S. having increased by more than 50 percent between 2015 to 2018.

“LSD is used primarily to escape. And given that the world’s on fire, people might be using it as a therapeutic mechanism,” Andrew Yockey, a doctoral candidate in health education at the University of Cincinnati and lead author of the paper, told Scientific American. “Now that COVID’s hit, I’d guess that use has probably tripled.”

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Researchers also think that the drug’s popularity might have picked up following the 2016 election, which has understandably driven many of us to want to get as far away from our current reality as we can, if only for a few hours. As a society, we’ve also gotten very into “micro-dosing,” which could also explain the upward tick.

Escapism, of course, isn’t the only benefit of LSD: Psychedelics—including mushrooms and ketamine—have been found to improve users’ mindsets, and in some cases, vanquish depression altogether. Sadly, the government has decided to arbitrarily criminalize these potentially life-saving substances, meaning they can’t be studied on the scale they should be.

“LSD might be a panacea to anxiety and other psychological disorders,” Yockey told SciAm. “But as a Schedule I drug, there’s just so much red tape behind that that some researchers I’ve talked to who want to do LSD research say it’s not even worth it.”

He argues that rather than politicize these drugs, resources should be diverted to fighting substances that are actually dangerous, like methamphetamine, cocaine and fentanyl. “These drugs can kill you, LSD cannot,” Yockey said. “We need to rectify our messaging.”

Night blogger at Jezebel

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DISCUSSION

10step
As the World Kerns

It feels a little reckless to position psychedelics as having a possible therapeutic benefit, when there has been an insufficient amount of research to support that conclusion. Just because LSD cannot kill you, does not mean it is safe to just start popping tabs because you think it might help your depression.

I’m all in favor of research in to the topic. If there are proven, reliable benefits, I’m also in favor of trained professionals prescribing them for that use.