Episode 11

Giving LSD to kids! (…to treat severe childhood schizophrenia)


May 1st, 2024

55 mins 42 secs

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About this Episode

In this episode we discuss a paper written by Gary Fisher concerning some intriguing research that he and some fellow colleagues conducted in the 1960s. This paper and our discussion surrounding it is quite confronting, as it deals with extremely troubled children who were suffering terribly. But even more intriguing than the depths of the psychoses these children were trapped within, was the profound breakthroughs that Fisher and his team were able to facilitate with the help of LSD— to transform the lives of some of these children from total horror into functioning members of society.

But probably the most confronting and disappointing aspect of this whole paper, is the fact that—as Fisher writes in the introduction— this, “research done 35 years ago is still the last word on the use of psychedelics to treat these conditions.” Indeed, we were left thinking what a an outrageous and avoidable tragedy it is that the terrible suffering of children like these continues to this day because of the so-called “war on drugs” and the related cessation of research into psychedelics.

The paper appeared in the newsletter of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), Volume 7 Number 3, in the summer of 1997 (pp. 18-25). The paper is titled: Treatment of Childhood Schizophrenia Utilizing LSD and Psilocybin.

As an introduction, consider these two passages from the paper:

  1. Now that the FDA has permitted research with LSD and psilocybin to resume, we feel it is important to share examples of a remarkable experiment, the results of which were not sufficiently taken into account because this line of research was prematurely halted in the mid-sixties due to political considerations. Childhood schizophrenia is still a difficult problem to treat and causes much suffering. It is a terrible shame that research done 35 years ago is still the last word on the use of psychedelics to treat these conditions.
  2. The working hypothesis of this study is that psychosis is a massive defensive system of repression-avoidance-denial in the service of protecting the individual from experiencing early childhood trauma. The repression is so massive that the individual ceases to experience himself with any validity. The individual exists isolated in a world without feelings and this world becomes meaningless.



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Music for the show by Si Mulumby.