Erowid References Database
Pahnke WN, Kurland AA, Goodman LE, Richards WA.
“LSD-assisted psychotherapy with terminal cancer patients”.
Psychedelic Drugs. 1969;p33-42.
The final months of life for the person dying of cancer are usually marked by increasing depression, psychological isolation, anxiety, and pain. In spite of heroic treatment efforts that seek to keep the patient comfortable and to prolong his life, the impending and finally inevitable failure of these attempts often leads to feelings of defeat and despair within the patient, his family, and even the
attending medical personnel.
In recent years considerable attention has been focused upon attempts to alleviate the psychological stress and physical pain experienced by the dying cancer patient. Since 1959, when Feifel's book, The Meaning of Death, appeared, there has been continuing discussion of these problems, highlighted by the conference on "Care of Patients with Fatal Illness," sponsored by the New York Academy of Sciences in February 1967; but there has been little improvement in methods for relieving the mental and physical anguish of the dying cancer patient. Clearly, the suffering caused by terminal cancer is an area urgently in need of more effective treatment.
A search of the literature has revealed only two other investigators, Kast and Cohen, who have attempted to use LSD with terminal cancer patients. Both have come to similar favorable conclusions on the useful potential of LSD treatment in such cases and the need for further exploration.
Research in this area was pioneered by Eric Kast of the Chicago Medical School. In a series of articles, he reported that LSD not only had a significant analgesic effect, but also in some patients lessened depression and apprehension concerning death. This new psychological outlook was usually noted for longer periods of time (sometimes for several weeks) than the analgesic action lasted. None of the patients appeared to have an adverse medical reaction to the drug's effect, even though they were critically ill. The emotions released by LSD seemed well tolerated. Elsewhere, in a report of a single terminal cancer case, Cohen was able to confirm Kast's findings and concluded: "LSD may one day provide a technique for altering the experience of dying."
|Notes # : Proceedings of a Hahnemann Medical college and hospital symposium, held Nov. 22-24, 1968, in Philadelphia.
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