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June 15, 1970

The Experimental Use of Psychedelic (LSD) Psychotherapy

Author Affiliations

From the Maryland State Psychiatric Research Center, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Drs. Pahnke, Unger, Savage, and Grof), and the Department of Mental Hygiene, State of Maryland (Dr. Kurland), Baltimore.

JAMA. 1970;212(11):1856-1863. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170240060010

The history of research with psychedelic drugs has produced a variety of methods for their use and conflicting claims about results. First came the wave of excitement among experimentalists in the 1950s when it was claimed that lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) could produce a model psychosis which might be useful in understanding schizophrenia. While this promise was fading, enthusiastic reports about the possibility of LSD as an aid to psychotherapy in the treatment of alcoholism and other psychiatric disorders appeared. All these approaches were represented in 1959 at the first international conference devoted entirely to LSD.1 Since then, there have been at least five more published proceedings of such conferences on various aspects of psychedelic drugs.2-6 The most recent conference on various means of producing states of consciousness was sponsored by the Menninger Foundation and the American Association of Humanistic Psychology on April 7 to 11, 1969, in