How self-administering tiny doses of LSD abated the disintegration of the author’s mental health and family life.
Novelist Waldman (Love and Treasure, 2014, etc.) charts a complete month of her experimental journey with subtherapeutic microdoses (one-tenth of a typical dose) of psychedelic drugs. Her engrossing trial-and-error salve for depression was borne out of desperation and the realization she was being “held hostage by the vagaries of mood” from premenstrual dysphoric disorder. When the author’s conventionally prescribed treatments failed, her ailment became an increasingly arduous burden for her husband and four teenagers to bear. Clearly suffering, she enlisted the help of Dr. James Fadiman, an aging former psychedelic researcher, and embarked on his renegade trial by imbibing subperceptual doses of LSD on repeating three-day cycles and then recording its physical and psychological effects. Candidly written with vivid detail, Waldman’s 30-day diary is compelling and eye-opening from both a medical and an observational perspective. Initially, only her sleep appeared to be negatively affected, while her productivity, listening skills, and sensory awareness increased; her mood incrementally lifted as well. The author provides an informative treatise on drug abuse statistics, a brief history of pharmacological therapies, and her own perspectives on drug decriminalization. As a former federal public defender and law professor who lectured about the war on drugs, Waldman is scholarly on the subject and infuses case study material into her memoir, offering interesting notes on neurochemistry, interviews with psychonauts, and chronicles of successful, pioneering research studies with psychedelics. Throughout, the author shares frank, revealing anecdotes on her family and personal life, including the disclosure that her and her husband’s current version of “marital therapy” involves periodic use of the euphoric drug MDMA. The author’s controversial and unsubstantiated medicinal intervention with LSD is bravely honest, and the results are mildly promising.
Thirty days on LSD therapy makes for a fascinating trip, indeed, and a learning opportunity for readers interested in the past and present therapeutic uses for psychedelic drugs.