Yes. Fully legal research programs in the mid-20th century that involved tens of thousands of patients found that carefully monitored and controlled use of LSD may be beneficial for many psychiatric disorders, personal and spiritual development, and creative enhancement for healthy people.

However, after LSD was banned in 1970, clinical research to evaluate its medical safety and efficacy was effectively halted until the late 90s and early 2000s.

Research Then and Now

Today, there are more than a dozen studies taking place to evaluate the medical safety and efficacy of psychedelics, including LSD. Although much of the early LSD research did not stand up to today’s standards, as they often lacked a placebo control group or double-blinding procedures (in which neither the subject of the research nor the investigators knew whether the subject received LSD or placebo).

Nevertheless, their promising findings have been revisited and spurred a resurgence of new, more rigorous research on the potential benefits of psychedelics as a treatment for cluster headache, anxiety, addiction to alcohol and other drugs, and depression, as well as neuroimaging experiments furthering the understanding of its effects on the brain.

The approval process for research with Schedule I drugs is expensive, complex, and hindered by the political influence of the war on drugs. Because of this, research evaluating LSD’s beneficial uses does not receive funding from academic or government institutions. Instead, it relies relies on nonprofit organizations like the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), the Beckley Foundation, and the Heffter Research Institute.

See the fact sheet for more information and resources.