LSD-bunked: How Research Is Finally Separating The Facts From The Myths Surrounding Acid

LSD fueled a countercultural revolution in the 1960s, but is now becoming the subject of genuine scientific research. An Vino/Shutterstock

Myth two: LSD can be used as a truth serum

It is often reported that one of the major goals of MKULTRA was to use LSD as a truth serum, in order to extract secrets from captured enemies. Although this ultimately proved not to be the case, recent studies have shown that LSD does enhance “suggestibility”, as users’ minds become more malleable and open to manipulation.

By skillfully tinkering with set and setting, some researchers believe LSD could be used as a powerful adjunct in psychotherapy, enabling therapists to harness this increased suggestibility in order to help patients alter their mindset regarding certain issues.

Myth three: LSD kills brain cells

“This is your brain on drugs,” declared a now iconic US anti-drugs advertising campaign in the 1980s, accompanied by an egg being fried in a pan. While many drugs do indeed harm brain cells, a growing number of prominent neuroscientists believe LSD should not be placed into this category.

“The whole of America was conditioned with the image of the brain being fried by LSD and other psychoactive substances,” says Feilding. “That was a brilliant advertising image but it’s completely not based on reality. There’s absolutely no evidence that [acid] kills brain cells.”

Naturally, however, LSD should always be taken with caution and should not be automatically considered harmless, as very little research exists regarding the long-term effects of taking large doses.

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