"Lysergic Acid Diethylamide"
Letter to the Editor by John Buckman.
British Medical Journal, Vol. II, 302 (1966)
Review by Adrian Pocobelli
In a 1966 letter to the Editor, psychiatrist John Buckman addresses the decision by Sandoz to discontinue the distribution of L.S.D. 25. Buckman laments the fact that Sandoz had lobbied interested parties in the medical community up to four years prior "to form some sort of international medical body which would be responsible for setting up standards of practice and for recommending to the pharmaceutical firm names of investigators who were considered competent to work with this drug." Although there had been an attempt to create such an organization in the previous weeks, Buckman explains how the effort was too little, too late, as it had turned into a lost opportunity: "To some of us it would seem like bolting the stable door after the horse had escaped."
Despite the action by Sandoz, Buckman remains optimistic - having talked to the National Institute of Mental Health in the United States and the Ministry of Health and the Medical Research Council in England - that L.S.D. would remain available to "bona fide investigators." Buckman stresses the importance of having governmental regulation of L.S.D. to prevent its use by unsuitable subjects, which could have "disastrous results": "Some official control of the distribution of L.S.D. 25 and other hallucinogens is essential." Nevertheless, as a researcher who has worked with L.S.D. since 1957, he emphasizes its critical importance and potential value to future research and therapy:
These drugs are unlike any others in use in psychiatry. The profound psychological effects produced by them put them in a category by themselves and they certainly cannot be compared with amphetamines. I believe that potentially L.S.D. 25 is of great value, not just an aid to psychotherapy, but as a tool for the understanding of the functioning of the human mind.
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