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A woman overdosed, but didn't die, after consuming 550 times an average dose of the psychedelic drug LSD. She had mistaken it as cocaine and ended up tripping for 34 hours.
Following her overdose, the woman microdosed LSD and found it eliminated her chronic pain, a symptom of her Lyme disease.
Other psychedelics like DMT and psilocybin also have been shown to manage conditions, like anxiety and depression.
A 46-year-old woman went on the trip of a lifetime when she accidentally mistook the psychedelic drug LSD for cocaine, snorted 550 times an average dose of the drug, and experienced a 34-hour period of being high.
According to the case report, which was co-authored by psychedelic researcher Mark Haden and examined three recent LSD overdose cases, the woman, who had chronic Lyme disease, started tripping 15 minutes after snorting white powder she believed to be cocaine.
When she didn't have the reaction she thought she would, she asked her roommate about the drug and was told it was actually LSD — 55 milligrams, to be exact. The average LSD dose for an approximately 12-hour trip is 0.065 to 0.175 milligrams.
The woman ended up tripping on LSD for 34 hours, but lived to tell the tale of her 2015 trip to Haden. Although it was a staggering amount, he wasn't surprised she survived: according to the Drug Policy Alliance, there has never been a recorded LSD overdose that's resulted in death.
She said during the first 12 hours, she blacked out for most of it, but remembered vomiting a lot. Once that period passed, the woman said she had a 10-hour period where she felt "pleasantly high" while sitting in a chair. During that time, she was also "frothing at the mouth, occasionally vocalizing random words and vomiting frequently," according to the report.
Another 10 hours later, the LSD finally wore off and the woman had a surprising reaction: the chronic pain she'd experienced due to her Lyme disease, for which she'd been using morphine daily for seven years, had gone away completely. She didn't feel the need to reach for the opioid, and she also said she didn't notice any morphine withdrawal symptoms, which would be expected, like nausea, depression, anxiety, and drug cravings.
The woman started to microdose LSD to manage her pain
Following her overdose, the woman decided to keep using LSD to manage her pain, but in smaller amounts.
She'd stopped taking morphine for five days after her LSD experience, and then her chronic pain returned, so she decided to take the morphine again but at a lower dose, and to also microdose LSD, every three days. A microdose of LSD is about a quarter of the typical 10-milligram dose and doesn't cause a hallucinogenic effect.
Three years later, the woman was able to completely stop using morphine to manage her pain and said she had no withdrawal symptoms.
According to Haden, this finding was surprising because, as he told Vice, he'd "heard somebody say that he thought LSD would be good for withdrawals, but I've never seen any evidence of it," he said.
Researchers believe psychedelics drugs could help with a variety of conditions, including depression and anxiety
Previous studies have suggested other psychedelic drugs like DMT, when microdosed, and psilocybin, when taken at a regular dose, could also help with symptoms of difficult-to-treat conditions like anxiety and depression.
A small study, published in November 2016 in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, looked at 29 cancer patients who reported feeling depressed or anxious due to their cancer diagnosis. For seven weeks, each patient went through psychotherapy sessions and received either a single 0.3 mg dose of psilocybin or niacin (vitamin B) afterward. Researchers noticed that the patients who received psilocybin had an immediate reduction in anxiety and depression, which held at the six-and-a-half-month follow-up.
In another small study, published in 2006 in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, researchers gave 36 medically and psychiatrically healthy participants 30 mg of psilocybin. At a two-month follow-up, 50% of the participants said their psilocybin experience improved their personal well being or life satisfaction moderately and 29% said it improved their life satisfaction "very much."
And a March 2019 study done on rats found that those who were given microdoses of DMT appeared less anxious than their non-microdosing counterparts.
"If you eliminate [psychedelic drugs'] effects on perception, there is no need or reason to abuse them, which could help with creating a medicinal product," Dr. David Olson, lead author of the study and assistant professor in the UC Davis departments of Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Molecular Medicine, previously told Insider about the potential therapeutic benefits of microdosing.
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