In an article for Newsweek, journalist Shailesh Andrade explained how, with some help from LSD, he was able to quit smoking for good.
Before his acid experiment, he had tried everything to stop his ten-year habit. All other quit-smoking aids had undesirable side-effects and ultimately led to him smoking again. Then, after trying the psychedelic, his desire to smoke simply vanished.
He says he's not alone, citing "In a recent pilot study at Johns Hopkins, 80 percent of the participants were nicotine free six months after two or three psilocybin sessions. And other promising research shows the efficacy of psychedelics to treat alcoholism and even cocaine addiction."
As he claims in the article, this is not magic; there is solid science behind it. He says the logic came to him after reading Johann Hari's book, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, which explains how addiction is less a function of the chemical and more a result of the "cage" in which you are living.
The book details a study in which lab rats were given a choice between regular water and heroin-laced water. Almost every time, the rats choice the heroin water.
However, in this study, the rats were in an empty cage with no other sorts of environmental stimulation. In a follow-up study, a second environment was added for comparison. This environment was set up to be a sort of rat heaven. There things to play with and other rats to have sex with. The rats in this environment rarely drank from the heroin water.
These results show that when presented with a better living situation, rats will not turn to addictive substances. Similar research has been done on how this "cage" theory applies to humans. As Andrade states, "During Vietnam, close to 20 percent of returning veterans had a dependency on opium. But a year after their return, 95 percent were drug-free. If you replaced constant fear of dying in a jungle war with a peaceful life filled with friends and family, the addiction went away."
Andrade goes on to explain that though LSD did not physically change his environment in any way, it did change his worldview in a way that helped him break free from his less tangible "mental cages." With this new-gained perspective, smoking seemed unimportant and undesirable. A more optimistic worldview presented healthier alternatives to smoking, in the forms of socializing and spirituality.
With all of this evidence and testimonials, it seems like now is the time for society to change its views on LSD and other psychedelic drugs. Clearly they can have important medicinal uses and need to be taken seriously for their psychological benefits.