Oscar Janiger, a Beverly Hills psychiatrist who ``turned on'' scores of artists, intellectuals and elite members of Hollywood's entertainment community, including the late Cary Grant, to the psychedelic drug LSD in the 1950s and 1960s, has died at 83. From 1954 until 1962 -- four years before LSD was declared illegal - - Janiger was one of the first researchers to probe the drug's potential for enhancing intellect and creativity. He incorporated the drug into his therapy and handed it out to an estimated 1,000 volunteers including such luminaries as novelists Anais Nin and Aldous Huxley, actors Cary Grant and Jack Nicholson, and conductor/composer Andre Previn.
Janiger often said he was particularly interested in artists' ability to access a state of altered consciousness in uniform conditions using this ``creativity pill,'' which he saw as a ``marvelous instrument to learn more about the mind.'' ``From then on when I'd get into situations, I'd determine what aspect that was within me was being projected outward, and what was a reflection of the world that others can validate along with me. That, of course, has been the theme of my work in therapy and as a scientist,'' he said during a 1990 interview.
Between 1954 and 1962, Janiger conducted some of the most groundbreaking and controversial research on LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), testing nearly 1000 people. Though authored by medical anthropologist De Rios (Janiger died in 2001), this book is based largely on Janiger's studies and on interviews conducted in the last months of his life. Janiger's study was unique in that he aimed to gauge the effects of LSD on a wide variety of people in "normal" society rather than treating patients with severe psychiatric disorders. During the course of his study, he became interested in the way LSD affected creativity and imagination and began experimenting with artists and documenting the results. This book includes artwork, poetry, and personal narratives from many of the participants. De Rios compares her extensive cross-cultural knowledge of shamanistic religious ceremonies to the LSD experience. She concludes that LSD, under highly controlled circumstances, can help individuals both creatively and spiritually by altering and expanding their consciousness. A scholarly, serious examination of how psychedelic substances can influence expression, this title is recommended for larger collections in psychology, anthropology, and New Age shamanism.-Mimi Davis, Broward Cty. Lib. Dist., Fort Lauderdale, FL
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review by Brandy Doyle ..................... Ah, the good old days. As scientists face hurdle after hurdle to obtain approval for research with psychedelics, it’s worthwhile to look back at a time before the War on Drugs, when studying the actions and even benefits of these substances was much easier. Marlene Dobkin De Rios’s new book, LSD, Spirituality, and the Creative Process, tells the story of Oscar Janiger’s pioneering research, in which over 900 people were administered LSD. Janiger’s study began in 1954 and continued until it was shut down in 1962. About six years later he con- ducted a follow-up that analyzed questionnaires from about 200 participants. MAPS conducted another follow- up after 40 years, reaching 45 individuals. In both follow- ups, most people found the experience pleasant overall; however, there was wide variation within each group when people were asked if the experience had lasting benefits. Janiger’s follow-up noted that those in therapy had a high rate of positive response, and they felt that the experience was beneficial overall, but they found the experience much less pleasant than other participants who were not in therapy. (Many of Janiger’s subjects had been referred by their therapists to the study.) In the 40- year follow-up, one-third reported persisting beneficial changes, and interestingly, those who had been in therapy when they began the study were much more likely to report lasting benefits.
In one of the most interesting sections of the book, De Rios discusses the question of LSD and creativity. Early in Janiger’s project, an art professor in the study made a drawing of a Hopi kachina doll that was in the house. The artist found that LSD had a profound influence on his style, and suggested that Janiger invite other artists to explore this change. Janiger began a separate sub-study on creativity, turning one room of the house into a studio. He invited professional artists, writers, and musicians to participate, eventually including about 100 people. De Rios’s book includes a section of color images of the kachina doll, which was painted by many of the artists before and during their LSD sessions. ......... READ ALL REVIEW
In this 1955 film, a CIA-funded study examines medical experiments to determine the efficacy of LSD-25 and MER 17 (Frenquel) on treating psychosis.ome studies indicate that certain cannabis strains containing large proportions of THC and low proportions of CBD, may lower the threshold for psychosis, and thus help to trigger full-blown psychosis in some people. Early studies have been criticized for failing to consider other drugs (such as LSD) that the participants may have used before or during the study, as well as other factors such as pre-existing ("comorbid") mental illness. However, more recent studies with better controls have still found an increase in risk for psychosis in cannabis users.It is not clear whether this is a causal link, and it is possible that cannabis use only increases the chance of psychosis in people already predisposed to it; or that people with developing psychosis use cannabis to provide temporary relief of their mental discomfort. Cannabis use has increased over past few decades but declined in the last decade, whereas the rate of psychosis has not increased. This suggests that a direct causal link is unlikely for all users. Alcohol is also a common risk of causing psychotic disorders or episodes. Research has shown that alcohol abuse causes an 8-fold increase in psychotic disorders in men and a 3 fold increased risk of psychotic disorders in women. Alcoholic psychosis is sometimes misdiagnosed as a mental illness such as schizophrenia.It is also important to this topic to understand the paradoxical effects of some sedative drugs. Serious complications can occur in conjunction with the use of sedatives creating the opposite effect as to that intended. Malcolm Lader at the Institute of Psychiatry in London estimates the incidence of these adverse reactions at about 5%, even in short-term use of the drugs. The paradoxical reactions may consist of depression, with or without suicidal tendencies, phobias, aggressiveness, violent behavior and symptoms sometimes misdiagnosed as psychosis. However, psychosis is more commonly related to the benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome.
About 70 of Oscar Janiger’s patients took part in a creativity experiment in which he asked them to paint or draw an American Indian Kachina Doll before taking the LSD and then again one hour after taking it. Some 250 works of art were created during those sessions.
ALL (not some, or a few, but ALL) were said to have positive responses to the drug, saying it helped them open up and be more creative. They felt their art was better, and not that, but after using, they could reach a state of higher creativity easier than ever before. Dr. Janiger would also be known to later has test volunteers such as Cary Grant and Jack Nicholson. Jack Nicholson would later go on to describe hes experience as a beautiful and eye opening one. He would also later go on to make the LSD fueled "One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest", written by Ken Kesey, legendary LSD supporter
Affectionately nicknamed ``Oz,'' as in ``wizard,'' by his friends, Janiger's interests were wide ranging. After LSD was outlawed in 1966 he remained an advocate of the drug but turned his attention to other research. Among his many accomplishments he established a relationship between hormonal cycling and pre-menstrual depression in women, discovered blood proteins specific to male homosexuality, and determined through studies of the Huichol Indians in Mexico that centuries of peyote use do not cause chromosomal damage.