Decaf Acid: New LSD Derivatives May Offer Mental Health Benefits Without the Trip

A study on newly-derived LSD derivatives claims these compounds may be able to treat depression without the additional 12-hour long magic carpet ride.

On September 28, a large team of scientists from different universities published results of the study in the peer-reviewed journal Nature, in which mice diagnosed with depression were given these novel compounds found in LSD.

According to the study, the mice showed signs of decreased depression without showing any physical indicators that they were high on acid. Apparently, when placed into an uncomfortable or life-threatening situation mice with depression will stop struggling to survive quicker than mice without depression. However, depressed mice will struggle for much longer when given substances like ketamine, psilocybin, and LSD.

“These molecules are potential leads for the development of therapeutics against disorders that have withstood long-term treatment including depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder,” a portion of the study said.

You might be asking yourself the same question I asked, how can anyone tell if a mouse is high? According to the paper, mice on LSD have a signature type of twitch they do with their nose so the scientists can tell if the mouse feels anything. Thus, if you ever see a mouse twitching its nose it could mean he’s tripping his cute little mouse balls off and it would be polite to offer him some water or a granola bar.

In all seriousness, the study represents a potentially monumental breakthrough in mental health treatment for millions of people who suffer from depression but are afraid of, or otherwise unable to handle a psychedelic trip. One of the authors of the study told High Times that the particular compounds used in the study will likely not make it to clinical trials but similar compounds potentially could.

“The particular compounds in the paper are not clinical candidates,” said Dr.  Bryan Roth, a professor of pharmacology at UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine. “As you might not appreciate, the compounds in the paper were discovered some time ago and since then we have evaluated many hundreds of additional compounds to find a potential candidate.”

Regardless of how early in the game it may be, this discovery begs the question of exactly where the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics are found, as a lot of people (myself not included) would likely skip the intense experience if it wasn’t necessarily needed in order for the patient to feel better.

“With hallucination remaining a liability, A goal in this area is the development of drug leads that retain the antidepressant and anxiolytic properties without psychedelic activity,” the study said. “There is much interest in finding agonists that retain antidepressive actions without the hallucinogenic effects of classic psychedelics such as LSD and psilocin.”

“Society would like a molecule that you can get prescribed and just take and you don’t need a guided tour for your trip,” another author of the study, Professor Brian Shoichet, told NPR.

The scientists and doctors involved in the study generally expressed optimism in their reporting that since the antidepressive benefits of drugs like LSD and psilocybin kick in almost immediately and can often last a year or more, these novel compounds may carry the same benefit without the wild ride.

Tripless therapeutics are not a brand new idea, however. A similar study in 2020 had some reported success with derivatives of ibogaine which appeared to produce the same antidepressive properties ibogaine is known for in mice without the presence of any physical symptoms that would indicate the mice were tripping.

Good news America, you may one day be able to easily experience relief from countless ailments through the power of non-psychoactive psychedelics. For those of you in more of a hurry, regular acid is worth the trouble, I assure you.

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