Can the combination of MDMA and LSD, producing the effect known on the street as “candy flipping,” mellow out some of the effects of taking LSD alone? One research team set out to get to the bottom of it and determine if there is any therapeutic benefit from combining the two drugs.
A study published recently in the journal Nature exploring the benefits of combining MDMA and LSD, entitled “Acute effects of MDMA and LSD co-administration in a double-blind placebo-controlled study in healthy participants.”
“There is renewed interest in the use of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in psychiatric research and practice,” researchers wrote. “Although acute subjective effects of LSD are mostly positive, negative subjective effects, including anxiety, may occur. The induction of overall positive acute subjective effects is desired in psychedelic-assisted therapy because positive acute experiences are associated with greater therapeutic long-term benefits. 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) produces marked positive subjective effects and is used recreationally with LSD, known as ‘candyflipping’.”
A small pool of 24 participants randomly received four different treatment drug combinations: MDMA, LSD, MDMA and LSD combined, or a placebo. The participants who received a combination of LSD and MDMA said they had higher levels of well-being, happiness, and trust during their experience, compared to those who took LSD alone. It’s important to note that the size of the study is small.
“LSD and the LSD + MDMA combination produced comparable subjective effects with no significant differences,” researchers wrote. “However, the co-administration of MDMA and LSD prolonged the psychedelic experience compared with LSD alone. Overall, effects of LSD and LSD + MDMA were significantly stronger and longer compared with MDMA alone. There was no significant difference in peak ‘drug high’ between the substances alone and the combination.”
Lucid News reports that the anxiety from the onset of LSD that certain people experience could be helped by the effects of MDMA. “The acute subjective effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) are mostly positive; however, negative effects, such as anxiety, may occur,” said Isabelle Straunmann, a PhD in Clinical Research at UHB who led the study. “MDMA produces marked positive subjective effects and we hypothesized that when combined with LSD it can induce an overall more positive experience than LSD alone.”
Straunmann added that LSD is a very powerful hallucinogen on its own, and researchers didn’t see a statistically significant difference between those effects and the effects of combining LSD with MDMA.
Candy Flipping Explained
The idea of combining the two is based on anecdotal reports that they mix well together. Per the the first entry in the Urban Dictionary, candy flipping is “taking LSD (acid) and MDMA (ecstasy) together. Actually regarded quite highly within the drug subculture.”
“The effects of the MDMA lend a very upbeat feeling to the user, usually resulting in a positive acid trip,” Urban Dictionary continues. “Because MDMA is a fairly ‘reliable’ good high, but acid isn’t (there can be bad trips), the MDMA high helps to stabilize the acid trip.”
Medical properties begin with anecdotal evidence before they are proven in medicine through peer-reviewed research.
But does the combination of the two drugs present harmful drug interactions? Harm-reduction expert Adam Waugh told Lucid News, “the combination of MDMA and LSD is generally viewed as a low risk combination, in the sense it isn’t likely to cause harm to someone’s physical health.” However, he added that psychologically-speaking, “MDMA can increase the intensity of a trip substantially—which for some people can lead to an overwhelming experience.”