Stopping Bad LSD Trips with “Off-Switch” Technology

This technology developed by MindMed and Liechti Lab may help ease some of the concerns surrounding psychedelic therapy.


Part of the stigma that still haunts efforts to develop LSD-assisted psychotherapy is the possibility of patients experiencing bad trips, particularly at high doses. The startup psychedelic pharmaceutical company MindMed and the Liechti Lab at the University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland, have been collaborating on the development of a new technology that may stop the effects of LSD in its tracks. This new invention may transform LSD from a long-lasting drug into a shorter-acting therapeutic compound.

In an April 21, 2020 press release, MindMed announced the patent filing of what they call a “neutralizer technology” that can shorten and stop a patient’s LSD trip while they are undergoing therapy.

Few Details of the Invention Are Available

The press release contains no details on the technology, such as the compounds involved, the receptors they are targeting, or other mechanisms of action. MindMed does say that the technology is “based on surprising experimental results from work and collaboration conducted in the lab.” Also, the press release indicates that although MindMed has filed a patent, the technology requires further development before using it can be marketed for use in therapy sessions.

Dr. Matthias Liechti, head of Liechti Lab, told New Atlas, “I can say that we have a planned program exploring the use of a range of compounds to be used to treat negative acute experiences with hallucinogens to increase their clinical safe use. Classically, such treatments included benzodiazepines or haloperidol. Ketanserin has so far been used to investigate the mechanism of action of psychedelic substances.”

Dr. Liechti continued,

The novel concept is to reduce the duration of action and the effect intensity of a psychedelic in high doses, for example, in cases where panic develops or in overdoses and after the hallucinogen has been ingested. The rapidity of the effect will depend on the specifics of the formulation that is being tested and developed.

This Technology is Part of a More Extensive Partnership

The collaborative work between Liechti Lab and MindMed goes beyond the LSD neutralizer technology. An April 1, 2020 MindMed press release announces a longer-term partnership between the companies which is centered on Liechti Lab’s years of research on psychedelic compounds. Under the terms of the agreement, “MindMed gains exclusive worldwide rights to data, compounds, and patent rights associated with the Liechti laboratory’s research with LSD and other psychedelic compounds, including data from preclinical studies and eight completed or ongoing LSD clinical trials.”

JR Rahn, co-founder, director, and co-CEO of MindMed told New Atlas, “The innovative and original work of the Liechti Laboratory is a treasure trove of novel data on LSD. We are just at the beginning of several significant discoveries that have the potential to further the application of psychedelics as therapeutic medicines. If developed, these discoveries will benefit both patients and therapists working in the psychedelic medicine space.”


Barb Bauer Headshot

Barb is the former Editor and one of the founders of Psychedelic Science Review. She is currently a contributing writer. Her goal is making accurate and concise psychedelic science research assessable so that researchers and private citizens can make informed decisions.


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Michael Verkerke
4 years ago

Great…I’d volunteer to be part of the trials ?

3 years ago

The use of ketanserin to mitigate 5-HT2a agonist effects would hardly be surprising – let’s see how it turns out clinically).

3 years ago

This should shorten the time needed for each session.