“It’s not hard to get acid in 2015. A lot of people sell it and a lot of people do it. But there’s only one man in the world who’s legally authorized to offer up a healthy dose of lysergic acid diethylamide.
Meet Dr. Peter Gasser, the Swiss psychiatrist who’s spent nearly a decade taking a deep dive into psychedelic research, picking up where Albert Hofmann, known as the first person to synthesize and ingest LSD, left off in 1966, when LSD was made illegal in and research on the substance nearly went extinct. Hofmann personally met with Gasser several times to give the Swiss doctor his blessing about Gasser’s foray into experimental therapy aided by psychoactive drugs.
Gasser has been interested in psychedelics from a medicinal standpoint ever since he took LSD nearly 25 years ago. In 1988, the Swiss Federal Office for Public Health granted him special permission to certain psychiatrists to begin research with the drug, despite the global ban. He was one of five therapists in Switzerland who was legally allowed to implement MDMA and LSD into his research and tried the psychoactive treatment himself—at least until Switzerland banned LSD again in 1993.
Dr. Gasser wasn’t done integrating acid into his therapy research, though. “The existence of these substances is a reality, so it seems to me more helpful to investigate their potential benefits and risks than to prevent research,” he wrote in a newsletter for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in 1994. “Continued ignorance will not prevent prohibited substances from being used destructively in the underground.
In 2007, the Swiss Ministry of Health approved a pilot study of his that looked at the effects of acid administered to patients suffering from cancer and other terminal diseases, which was sponsored by MAPS. Each patient underwent two drug-assisted therapy sessions with a break in between. After seven years of research, the study was published last year under the name “LSD-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with a life-threatening disease: A qualitative study of acute and sustained subjective effects.” This was the first controlled trial of the drug in the 21st century.
“Several [subjects] died within a year after the trial—but not before having a mental adventure that appeared to have eased the existential gloom of their last days,” wrote the New York Times.
a featured speaker at last year’s Horizons: Perspectives in Psychedelic Research conference in New York City, and after presenting the data from his pilot study he announced that he’d successfully applied to the Swiss government for “compassionate use” authorization to include LSD in his therapy practice. He continues to administer the drug to patients today, in both individual and group settings. He currently has seven approved patients for LSD treatment, three of whom will undergo a ten-hour session this month.
The doctor’s office is on a quiet street in Solothurn, a village in the northwest of Switzerland. The building resembles any other therapist’s office, with a simple sign at the entrance and a white waiting room adorned with bookshelves, paintings, and flowers. The only thing remotely psychedelic is Gasser’s therapy room, lined with comfortable couches and floor cushions, a statue of Buddha, and a nice stereo system that no doubt is integrated into his guided trips.
I recently sat down with the doctor there to discuss his life’s work.” Click the link below to read the entire article…