British scientist David Nutt claimed recently that terminally sick people should be given LSD, as he believes the drug can lead to long-term benefits in a person’s thinking.
Nutt, who used to work for the British government consulting on drug issues at a high level, was fired from his position in 2009 for saying that ecstasy and LSD were less harmful than alcohol, despite there being much evidence that supports his claim.
The Independent in Britain interviewed Nutt recently, and he told them, “The way we deal with death is to poison people with opiates so that they can’t think. But on LSD it’s as if they have died, as if they’ve gone out to another place. They exist beyond their body. That experience can give them a sense of perpetuity, of permanence, of being part of the cycle of life.”
The controversial scientist also spoke in London last week against restrictions on research on recreational drugs, which he dubbed “the worst censorship in the history of science.”
Referring to the type of censorship he is under, Nutt compared his plight to that of Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei in the 17th century.
“The only comparable example is when the Catholic church banned the telescope in 1616. We’ve banned research on psychedelic drugs and other drugs like cannabis for 50 years. Truly in terms of the amount of wasted opportunity, it’s way greater than the banning of the telescope. This is a truly appalling level of censorship.”
A colleague of Nutt, Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris from the Imperial College, agreed that the dose given to test patients was a “tiny speck,” but added, “The effects are quite profound. It would be described as a moderate dose, but a moderate dose of LSD can still produce a profound state of consciousness. I wouldn’t say that it’s a dangerous experiment, but I would say that LSD has potential negative effects.”
Speaking about his efforts to contact the Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust for funding, Nutt explained, “The issue always comes ‘well look, these are recreational drugs’, and the recreational label is so powerful I think it scares people off. I personally think the neuroscience that’s been uncovered by these drugs is revolutionary. This research is so important it should be funded to the tune of millions.”