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Could LSD Provide a Possible Cure for ADHD?

Comments: 28 Comments
Published on: January 20, 2012

This short Blog is simply asking a questions, Regarding the potential for curative effects of LSD 25 on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Regarding ADHD and LSD: I have an anomalous experience regarding curative effects of LSD on attention deficit disorder. The subject is my own experience. In the late 1960s I was failing academically, unable to focus or concentrate on the written word, and on mathematics. After a series of six LSD sessions between 1967-1969, I had acquired considerable expansion of consciousness and profound mystical insights at the age of 19, that I had new motivation to try to read books on Vedanta, Buddhism, and indigenous religious practices. I was motivated to find frameworks to contain and make sense of my LSD mystical experiences. Suddenly I found I was able to read deeply and rapidly. Seven academic degrees later, I am today reading in 5 languages. I went from a perpetually failing student to a ‘summa cum laude.’ My impulsivity was reduced and its energy seemed to be channeled into an academic and psycho-spiritual focus.

I know that the LSD experiences somehow either induced and/or supported a kind of “cure” of my attention deficit. It certainly boosted my academic potential, given what it was before any LSD experiences. I am wondering if there are others in this group who have had similar experiences. We now know the amazing creative influence and expansion of ‘intelligence’ that LSD and other psychedelics and entheogens have produced (thinking of Steve Jobs, as an example, and of the impact of Stan Grof’s own experience with LSD and the enormous impact it has made on his life work and theory, and holotropic breathwork, and CIIS). With renewed interest in research into LSD and various medical and psychiatric disorders, I am wondering if anyone knows of specific literature on the effects of LSD on attention deficit disorder. It is a complex question, for LSD during and for usually a shortime after can also make concentration difficult. But for me, somewhere in the space of 2 years and six sessions, I was cured of my ADD (which they called hyperkinetic and minimal brain dysfunction back then).

At this point, this is just an effort to gather information on this topic and generate discussion. Thank you.

Mikkal

28 Comments
  1. sar says:

    i tripped for 24 hours a few days ago.. here is what i have found

    last year you were depressed. you have just got out of depression. you are experiencing life for a whole new time. life and rebirth. time moves slower than you think.

    I’ve heard people with adhd know how to cope with it by 25. i am 22. on lsd you forget about society and what they tell u is important. because ultimately you are human you are different than society.

    society tells you its bad to be you. humans have a need to be grounded thats why society is the way it is. focused on being normal. but being normal doesn’t allow you to express yourself

    how you focus as a human is expressing yourself. every thought you have is your past experiences living through you. its okay to feel how you feel. its you putting yourself in this world.

    but people with adhd need to know they can feel like that if they need to. and doing so is so satisfying. its self love. its telling society to go fuck themselves because thats what they need to do. but unfortunately they will not. you need to learn and be you for you. and only you so society can be stupid but you will be okay. so basically everyone is wrong.

    people who are not enlightened will just not get this about you. their brain hasn’t felt how we have felt. so they don’t even know how to imagine it at all. AND thats okay. because we are all different.

    14 hours of sleep after trip…..
    if you want to go do something. you need to go do it. if you are unhappy change where you are, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, environmentally. go to asia. go to your roots. find yourself. love you. because different is amazing. who would want to be like everyone else? people bold in society are bomb because they are bold. be bold. you need to individual before you can herd.

    trip memory..
    people have 3000 thoughts a day? no you have infinite. thats okay bc everything you do is a thought your brain tells your body you’re going to do it so you do it. fuck what everyone says you have so much control over your mind because reality is different in everyones mind. bc we all function differently. thats why people struggle in different ways. so we can alllll learn about us. use your brain to its full potential because you are living.

  2. Squirl says:

    I googled this because I tried acid for the first time at 29 years old. While I had an extremely hard time paying attention to conversations or even what was going on around me while intoxicated, coming down I felt clear, sharp, confident, and articulate. It felt very good. And people treated me the way I felt.
    After the effects wore off I went back to my normal self, and I dont want it. I want that super girl back. I wondered if anybody had come to the same conclusion that maybe small doses could be helpful.

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  5. Britt says:

    this all sounds so familiar!
    I’ve had ADHD diagnosis since I was seven (and before that, almost everyone was certain I wasn’t ‘normal’)
    and my parents have been saints in helping me cope with it. I’ve taken all kinds of medicines (Ritalin, focal in, concerta, and probably a bunch of other stuff I can’t recall) and have had therapy forever.
    the medication pretty much works but it changes me so much. I don’t recognize myself. I’m always extremely social and energetic and funny (if I may be that arrogant). but on the medication I recognize situations when I’d respond in a certain way, but I don’t. and it frustrates me so much.

    anyways. I was, also, not really doing very well in school. until I took magic shrooms. my history grades changed from 3,4’s to 9,3’s and all my other grades raised at least one point.
    eventually I almost graduated cum laude from high school and I now study mathematics.

    tripping has also created a certain calmness within my head. I’m a huge hesitator. I question everything (mostly about myself and how I come across). and I was always negative about myself. very low self esteem. i always think everybody thinks I’m a bad/annoying person. my, say 4th trip was a bad trip. I completely re-experienced those feelings of being hated and feeling less-worthy. and I talked with two good friends of mine who reassured me I was a good person and everything’d be okay. ever since then I realised that it was all in my head. so I moved (I had to for college) and started all over in a different city where I now realize I’m such a social bee. I still sometimes cope with the feelings, but I know they’ll go away in a while.
    I now take shrooms regularly because they cleanse my body of negativity and overthinking things and help me stay positive and concentrated. and I’ve taken LSD once which has helped me realize who I am and what I need/ what makes me happy. with an afterglow lasting at least 2,5 months.

    so in conclusion (I’m sorry for the meters of text)
    tripping has helped me concentrate, learn and memorize better. I think without LSD and shrooms my (academic) future would have been so much smaller. and also it has helped me overcome my uncertainty and (nearly depressed) negative overthinking. it’s just made me a happy and successful girl.

    • Sirmarksalot says:

      This was amazing reading your experience. It was very similar to my experience in life and first taking mushrooms.

      I first took them at age 29 a fearful self loather of about 280lbs of doubt. Born into the Mormon faith taught to love and fear but not in the right way. I was miserable until that glorious day in Amsterdam.

      I’m now 36 have since adopted regular LSD, Mushroom, DMT, and Ayauasca more recently and my life now I won’t get into but I’ll say I’m now a new man.

      I was diagnosed with ADHD at age 15 because I was “self medicating” with cannabis. After I opened my consciousness the first time I’ve lost 70lbs, and am now starting my 5th company and have generated over 10,000 jobs with my start ups.

      I’m the happiest person I know and make everybody around me better and have success as a result. Thank the heavens for the portals as the indians call them….

      • John cowie says:

        Took lsd for the first time I have adhd I feel calmness for the first time in life only had one trip so far but I have a good felling that my life’s going to change I’m 21 and how bean smokein weed trying to relax but no after one trip I fell relaxed

  6. John says:

    I have struggled with ADHD since 1991 aswell as the treatment that came along with the diagnosis. I believe that both the physical and psychological treatments may have been what created my anxiety and depression. I struggled for years self medicating. In the past month I was givin both lsd blotter and mdma/mda/mdea in a tested pill on separate occasions. Lsd gave me anxiety I quickly treated with a 2mg dose of ativan and allowed inner reflection of my life. Two weeks after that was my experience with mdma/mde/mdea that allowed just as much inner reflection, empathy, patience. It was like I sat down with myself in each experience and reviewed my entire life from a subjective standpoint and all my preconceived ideas were fliped on there heads like I was looking at life through someone else’s eyes and viewed life in a different perspective. Before I had not had a job in over a year, was lost had no idea what I wanted to do and was on the verge of suicide. I would literally stay home all day playing video games and had little social contact but with a few close friends. Other than that I had a brick wall up and would not let people close to me as I feared I would be let down and hurt by them. Today I feel like a million bucks Im back in school on my way to being a physicians assistant and havent touched drugs or alcohol at all since. I also dont play video games and the idea of staying home all day without the beauty of life and social interaction urks me. Before I had bad ADHD and was lost now I have none and my anxiety and depression is gone. I would also like to note that I have had a change in my thinking before all this I hated math but somehow I was able to take the reality that I was seeing on lsd eg: fractals and look at it scientifically and when some reasearch was done now I understand math and can view it in a 3d manner and love it! You should also note that I now take 100mg of 5-htp and 500mg l-tyrosine every day and I think that helps aswell.

  7. Awesomeguy says:

    Man i must share this.
    I have ADHD and recently tried LSD, i was cured of LSD in my 2nd trip.
    I noticed an INCREASE in mental cognition and performance, much more focus, i could focus on anyhting during the trip and in the afterglow.
    My mind wonders no more, im like a monk now, i can focus on anything.
    And i can understand complex math, grammar, languuages anything.

    I was trying to find more info on LSD and its elixer effects on ADHD, i found ur blog on the process.

    Thanks for the blong man

  8. jango says:

    Quite honestly I’d like to try but LSD is very hard to get nowadays because it is soon hard to make. Do you think shrooms would have the same effect?

  9. katy says:

    I have ADHD PI, and a while back, when we were short of cash, I split a tab with someone. My mate still felt the effect, but I felt just… normal really. As in like more normal than usual, not distracted, not fidgety, and I could concentrate better. Not sure if this is a sign that it helps or anything, but I’m too poor to try it as medication, and too cheap to go around wasting trips, so until I become a millionaire, I won’t know.

  10. Jan Joubert says:

    Hi there, Jan here a friend and journeywork patient/student of Lyn’s. I had severe ADD or ADHD as a child.

    I’ve only taken LSD once, the dosage was very very low and I don’t recall much of it.

    But I have used alot of mushrooms / Psylocybin Cubensis, the active compound of which is the same as LSD (though with other chemicals and less pure).

    There are times that mushrooms significantly improved my concentration. This was because it helped me release emotional baggage Thoughts that were distracting me and I couldn’t seem to conclude and which would just come back again and again. It helped me be more inspired, zestful about life. It showed me the beauty inherent to the little things in life. It helped me realize what good I can and want to do with my career and studies (at the time). And it helped me to believe in myself and in life.

    All of these things had a dramatic impact on my ADD.

    There are also times when mushrooms wrecked me. This is when taking them at the wrong time and place, without an regular and underlying spiritual practice and without respect for the spirit that guides them.

    Also, I have done Ayahuasca ceremonies thrice. It had much the same effect as mushrooms / above described, only much less random. Mushrooms one can kind of control your experience if you know how to lucid dream in a way. Not fully, not always, but it is possible. Also the content that you see is the content of your own self.

    With Ayahuasca it’s a personality, a godess, a spirit which is like a mother that climbs inside you. She’s a tough south american jungle lady and she kicks your ass when and where you need it, here she guides the levithian to bleach your shit out of you. But she is fair, and she is good, and once the ass kicking is done, she focuses on your good side, and builds this up.

    At the end of the day, both these experiences have had much positive effect on me and I would highly reccommend it.

    HOWEVER, I’ve come to the conclusion that (with mushrooms) ONLY with regular if not daily spiritual practice and a form of shadow work (ie psychotherapy), or with luck at the right time and place in your life will this bring about the above described effect. With Ayahuasca, it will always bring about a positive effect but it will be much easier, much better for you if you are in practice….

    Best

    • Mikkal says:

      Jan, thank you for laying out the number of entheogens, and for reporting the beneficial effects they had on your over-all in inspiring, motivating and giving your life-direction thrust–all forms of focus or con-centration. Your point about ritual containment of entheogen use is very important. Also, your sharing your experience of it positively impacting your in the ADD area is valuable to the topic of this Blog inquiry. I hope others will share like you. Best wishes,
      Mikkal

  11. Jason says:

    I was diagnosed with ADHD back in 2002. I was taking psychiatric stimulant medication for a year or so. And then one day I journeyed with psilocybin mushrooms. I was so intrigued by my lapse in attentional problems that I stopped my medication, and journeyed with a psychedelic once or twice a year since then (mostly mushrooms, cannabis, but LSD once, and DMT and Mescaline this coming march). No relapses of attentional difficulties…. That is my case study, and should be viewed as such, and there are certainly other factors that play a role, such as yoga, changes in relationships, increased motivation, weekly therapy, etc; however, there are thousands of individuals with the same story on internet blogs, MAPS studies (check out their website for a TON of information on more recent psychedelic studies), my friends’ reports, etc…

    I think there are many reasons why psychedelics, or Entheogens, taken the set and setting that encourages healing, can induce change. For one, they take me to my unconscious.. while I am conscious. Its as if I am lucid dreaming, but with more creativity and will power to decipher and interpret all the symbols that arise from the “hallucinations,” thoughts, and emotions that flow while engaging with each psychedelic. Therefore, it is seen, by myself, as a powerful therapist, a guide that takes me to that which I need to discover and process. She takes me to my shadow.

    There are other, more chemical reasons, as to why I think psychedelics work. See Dr. Grob’s essays on the antidepressant qualities of Ayahuasca. See the MAPS website on the powerful chemical interactions of mushrooms. For one, most psychedelics literally seemed to have evolved an anti-abuse quality, in which they give the human tolerance one to two weeks after ingestion – they require respect from us…

    • Mikkal says:

      Sorry for this slow reply, but thank you, Jason, for sharing your experience. With your own psychological background, it adds a nuance to this thread of inquiry, expanding on some of the ways entheogen are truly good medicine for the whole person, and noting other supportive practices that are factors in the possible beneficial outcomes you experienced.
      Blessings,
      Mikkal

  12. Manuela says:

    My experience seems to be very simmilar as yours, Mikkal. I had extreme difficulties concentrating during my first 2 years in academia, getting severe bad grades. After having a very deep experience when I was 20, with psilocybin mushrooms everything changed. I got my master cum laude now and still feel balanced and happy more than ever.
    Without doubt these psychedelics played a major role in this process, but it must also be stressed that there are other factors at play as well. First, these concentration problems very mainly caused by a depression that haunted me for many years. The psychedelic experience resolved this depression -by seeing in the roots to it-, connected me with what what i LIKE and love in life, and thus resolved my concentration problems. Besides (very important), these changes all took place in a very supportive setting, with novel friends, and a new exciting life. And third: changes occurd both suddenly, as well as very graudally. After a couple of years I decided to get psychotherapy, because there were still unresolved issues which I thought would be better to adress without drugs, but in a more peacefull and gradual way, and with help from someone with professional insight. I have no doubt I can an this very moment be diagnosed with ADD, but I can manage it and see it as simply a characteristic of my own personality make-up that I now know how to give a proper place in life. I would never recommend these drugs loosely to anyone with psychiatric problems, but I have strong hope that in the future these people can experience them under the necessary professional guidance.

    • Mikkal says:

      Thank you for your input, Manuela. I notice that insight into the roots of your depression came from the non ordinary states (NOSCs) triggered by the psilocybin–sense it is another entheogen, it would seem more likely it is not the chemistry of the substance, but the NOSCs it can trigger than can be therapeutic, as Grof states to be the case. With ecstatic breathwork systems ( Kundalini, Groff Holotropic. Star Wolf’s Shamanic breathwork, and my own Sacred Breathwork, we have been able to produce healing and transformative states without a drug or plant medicine. I have seen numerous psychosomatic, post traumatic, and deep psychological wounds healed as a result of what occurs in these states. In my case, bmy heart came alive with mystical and transpersonal interest, which enhanced motivation to learn morn and find a framework for reading, hence I was driven to read a lot and succeeded for the first time, as I said while in an LSD induced NOSC. With you I agree that we should not be recommending LSD or Mushrooms in a loose way–my main interest is to explore ADHD cure or amelioration with NOSCs, and not necessarily tied to the responsible clinical use of psychedelic medication/sessions. So I am just inquiring into new ways to work with ADHD. Thank you so much for sharing. I welcome anything else you have to say.

  13. Bill Schnell says:

    Leary’s idea of set and setting remains important. I recommend his book which he coauthored with Richard Alpert, and Ralph Metzner The Psychedelic Experience, A Manual based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. There is often talk in the neuro-psychiatric literature about brain maturation peaking at the average age of 25. I think some people exhibit ADHD symptoms and other learning problems through childhood, adolescence and early adulthood but then as their neurons mature and finish insulating themselves, they have the opportunity to attend. They may need help in overcoming all the psychological baggage that evolved during the years of central nervous system immaturity. Therapy, breathe work, meditation and other psychedelic experiences may help them take advantage of the opportunity. I also do neurofeedback. There are two types for the sake of this discussion. Alpha-Theta work often corresponds with non-ordinary states of consciousness and helps people work through and integrate ego-game and trauma stuff. The other type of neurofeedback moves toward phase shifts in the brain in the direction of developing greater function with state flexibility, focus, and so on. I have found that in adults and children with ADHD symptoms, that they tend to benefit primarily from the later. I have also done Alpha-Theta work following the targeted symptom approach and found it helpful in shedding the psychological baggage. However, Alpha-theta training can also destabilize the brain of ADHD individuals, arching them back to symptomatic states. This may assist you in a cautionary way with LSD approaches. I think there are as many different brains as there are people on the earth and so each individual person needs a very unique approach to healing with whatever methods are used. Your experience as related Mikkal brings to mind the possibility of synchronicity between your brain’s maturity at the wonderful early age of 19 and the psychological healing effects of LSD. But what do I know? Peace and Love, Bill.

    • Mikkal says:

      Thank you, Bill, for your most interersting observations and speculations. The hypothesis about prolonged myelinaton of neurons is worth considering, in my case. But I am thinking it may be a factor rather than an explanation. there was a spiritual awakening and increased motivation to read and concentrate on readiing that arose from what was happening in the NOSCs provoked by LSD. I actually did what it is difficult for many to do, I read under the influence of LSD, and that is when the improvement began. Also your comments about the highly unique quality of each brains seems worth remembering. Now a question about THC. Normally daily THC use or abuse seems to increase distractibility. But I have had two clients who were highly distractible and improved with THC use, and worsened without it. One of them, a musician, had an anxiety disorder and his brain may have matured between 18-25 with THC use. However, he is 32 and has recently quit through choice. He no longer has terrible relapses into panick attachs and chaotic distractibility without the THC. Interesting what you say about Theta waves…generally these are the “shamanic or visionary brain waves”, engendered through archaic techniques of ecstasy (sonic driving, trance-dancing, holotropic/holonomic therapy.– these very brains waves are associated with increased consciousness leading to substantial changes in psychological functioning, and resolution of psychosomatic disorders, addictions, some serious depressions, and PTSD symptoms. I’d be interested in your reflections on all that.

      • Bill Schnell says:

        I attended a conference in Philadelphia in October 2011. Siegfried Othmer, a physicist who now researches neuroscience, made an interesting comment based on the research of a Russian neuro-scientist: “The brain is somewhat narcissistic, it notices and maintains itself until it experiences novelty…when novelty is introduced into the brain, the brain notices itself once again and reorganizes itself around the novelty…it becomes aware of itself with novelty and changes.The novelty that is introduced creates a mirror by which the brain sees itself and changes” These words, spoken by a physicist, in reference to the findings of a Russian neuroscientist struck me as very Buddhist and I smiled in recognition for the remainder of the day. I have only studied LSD experiences(Be Here Now by Ram Dass, Center of the Cyclone by John Lilly and so on.) and it sounds as if LSD and other psychedelics in many ways chemically and psychologically and spiritually and intellectually introduces novelty into the brain that provides opportunities for higher levels of organization and function. I have also talked with many who have had bad trips and seemed to lose function or get lost in psychosis. In those situations, the individuals had not prepared their minds (set) and they had no community or trusted guide with them (setting). With THC, I think certain brains are more set up to benefit from it than others. Daniel Amen, a SPECT enthusiast has shown how THC reduces blood flow to the pre-frontal cortex and the back half of the temporal lobes. For people with over-aroused brains and bipolar brains THC use can produce some chemically driven regulation calming and “stability”. In college, I had a friend who smoked pot daily throughout the day. He never took notes in our science classes and math classes. While studying for exams and labs, he played very heavy metal rock at very high volume and he aced every test. He went on to become a successful but somewhat schizoid M.D.. I think in others, THC drives the brain into an ADD state reducing capacity to attend, to organize and to empathize. Peace, Mikkal

      • Bill Schnell says:

        Mikkal, I am reading F. David Peat’s book, Synchronicity: The Bridge Between Matter and Mind. On page 62, he writes: “Indeed, if the meaning of the body is taken to be its intelligent, coordinated activity in health, then disease is a degeneration or breakdown in meaning.” Thomas Hartman wrote an article entitled Hunters in a Farmers’ World” in which he articulated the emerging deterioration of meaning for certain beings whose nervous systems arc toward adventure and exploration(Hunters)as the world around them becomes increasingly more gilded and organized(the Farmer’s world). LSD may help some to discover or heal the meaning in their life which also regulates their nervous system or puts them in synch with greater psychological and spiritual explorations. Peace.

        • Bill Schnell says:

          There is good research coming out of University of Minnesota about the inefficacy of stimulants for ADD children and adults over time. They are finding in their longitudinal studies there that ADD/ADHD is probably caused by multiple environmental determinants rather than by genetics and imbalanced neurotransmitters as the ADHD industrial complex would have us believe. Their research suggests meaning or meaning sickness as the factor behind the experience. Perhaps I oversimplify, but if people heal the meanings of their life through personal growth via meaning oriented, compassionate community experiences, NOSC experiences, and love, they heal and find exquisite connection to life and nature.

        • Mikkal says:

          Thanks Bill. I had become aware of this same theme regarding our paleolithic hunter and agricultural ancestry. I recall Jung saying how important it is for us modern people to get ourselves back on our phylogenetic foundations. Probably entheogens in a safe ritual context (set and setting) can provide an opening to this for some people. I would enjoy hearing more of your input from your neurofeedback experiences.
          Mikkal

  14. Mikkal says:

    Thank you for your comments Cynthia. I am just asking questions at this point. There are no doubt numerous variables that could account for my cognitive changes, or that could be ruled out. For example, if the changes like mine could be confirmed through controlled studies in a clinically safe context, and if a causal relation between LSD25 and cognitive improvement could be established, tha would be potentially significant. If research led to the likely causal agent being non ordinary states of consciousness, then the question of could non drug methods that engender such states be similarly effective??

  15. Cynthia says:

    Interesting question. I could believe that it changed your brain either chemically or electricially or synaptically. The problem is can you control HOW it will change you? I’ve also seen people who underwent irreversible, negative changes as a result of their LSD experiences. If I thought it could help my 20-yr-old son who cannot digest much of anything he reads, I’d feed it to him in an instant. But like many ADD types, he has a great ability to go into the otherworld places, and I really wonder if he’d know how to get back if he took LSD. (But maybe that’s just a mother talking.)

    • Bernd says:

      You should read about “microdosing”, that means taking a very low dose; with LSD it’s about 10µg.
      There’s nothing happening to my visual perception at this dose.

      Search for “James Fadiman” – he has done (scientific) research for a few decades now. There are some talks on youtube too.

      Good Luck =)

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