The FDA approved the research by Dr. Peter Gasser, involving 12 terminal patients, most with cancer.
The subjects were all described as suffering "deep anxiety," over their condition and the coming end of their lives.
The Seattle Times reports the patients first had “talk therapy,” and then divided into two groups.
Eight were given LSD while the others took a placebo. The goal of the LSD was to "produce the full spectrum of a typical LSD experience."
The Verge reports the reasoning is it would allow doctors to "facilitate discussions about the patients' fears of dying."
Gasser says it worked. "Their anxiety went down and stayed down," he reported.
However, those involved say it wasn’t an easy trip. "The major part was pure distress at all these memories I had successfully forgotten for decades, a man named Peter said. “These painful feelings, regrets, this fear of death."
Peter was shocked at how the drug helped him open up. “It surprised me,” he began. “I didn’t know I was talking away until Dr. Gasser made me notice.”
Scientists say there were no adverse effects from the use of the drug.