LSD microdosing phase one clinical trial finds almost no side effects

Lysergic acid diethylamide, the psychedelic most commonly known as LSD, has shown promise as a potential treatment for the type of dementia known as Alzheimer's disease. Life science company Eleusis has published the results from its phase 1 clinical trial involving LSD microdoses given to healthy adults over the course of a few weeks. The company monitored participants' health during this time, finding almost no side effects from the dosing.

Existing research into psychedelics has revealed the strong potential for treating a variety of conditions, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD. In addition, some psychedelics have also shown potential for repairing damaged brain cells, but legal restrictions on these compounds have made it difficult to adequately study the substances.

A slight loosening on research involving LSD and psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in 'magic mushrooms,' has opened the door for a number of early clinical trials. Though these drugs may be effective treatments for some conditions, researchers must determine what negative effects — if any — they may have on one's health. That's what this latest clinical trial aimed to discover.

According to Eleusis, the company split a total of 48 older healthy adult volunteers into four groups: one was given a placebo while the others were given LSD microdoses at 5, 10, and 20 micrograms. These participants received their doses every four days, which is one of the multiple popular microdosing schedules. During the three weeks of dosing, researchers monitored the participants' health.

The 'adverse event monitoring' included assessments of the participants' heart rate, ECG readings, blood pressure, cognition, proprioception, and more. As well, the volunteers were subjected to physical and psychiatric health exams — these evaluations extended one month after the dosing period ended.

By the end of its trial, Eleusis says the participants showed 'no deviations from baseline or abnormalities' in regards to cognition and safety. The participants given LSD reported only one side effect compared to the placebo group and it was one the researchers already expected: mild to moderate headaches. Though more research is needed, the results help pave the way for research into future Alzheimer's treatments that may involve LSD microdoses.