Psychedelic Psychotherapy (LSD) in the Treatment of the Patient with a
Kurland, Pahnke, Unger, Savage, Goodman 1968/69

Reviewed by Oliver Mandrake

Based on a presentation at an international congress in April 1968 in Spain
the article summarizes results in treating 15 cancer patients with
Psychedelic Peak Psychotherapy. In the course if this kind of therapy a high
dose LSD session is embedded in intensive psychotherapy before and after the
drug session. Already in use with good results in treatment of alcoholics
and neurotic patients at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center in
Baltimore, the idea to use it on cancer patients originated with Kast in
1963, whose reports indicated analgesic (pain reducing) effects of LSD in
such patients.

Patients were referred based on criteria that included depression, physical
pain, and a feeling of helplessness of the oncology staff in helping the
particular patient. Doctors, staff, and family members evaluated before and
after the treatment each patient's physical and emotional status. Use of
narcotics before and after treatment was noted.

A table showing each patient's physical condition (type and stage of cancer)
and their mental and physical (pain related) improvement after the treatment
is provided. Not all patients showed dramatic changes, but none seemed to be
harmed by the treatment either. It appeared that those patients in the
earlier stages of cancer were helped more than those with more advanced
states, indicating that such therapy should be used as early as possible.
Some pain relief was achieved in a small number of patients, but not enough
to warrant further research in that direction. Positive results were
achieved on the psychological side, depression, anxiety, and fear of death
all were reduced and patients appeared more relaxed and closer with family
members, at greater ease with their medical treatments. 2/3 of those treated
showed meaningful change and 1/3 of the 15 treated showed significant
changes. It was concluded that, while LSD alone cannot substitute
psychotherapy, it might offer some advantages over traditional therapy
methods. Further study is deemed necessary.

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