Kiwis asked to take LSD and go about their daily lives for University of Auckland creativity study

Volunteers have been asked to take the drug LSD and go about their everyday lives in an Auckland study looking at the link between the drug and increased creativity.

Scientists are taking a closer look at the creativity prospects of the psychedelic drug that was made popular by the counterculture in the 1960s and is now one of the most commonly used hallucinogens in New Zealand.

The study conducted by the University of Auckland asks volunteers to go about their daily lives while taking sub-psychedelic doses of LSD, however, some people will be given a placebo.

The purpose of the study is to understand whether the drug helps jumpstart people's creativity.

The study said the psychedelics may put people into "hyper-associative states" that are free of the usual logical constraints, however, it says there have also been examples where people feel more creative but are apparently not being so.

Volunteers were required to undergo daily questionnaires and laboratory tests to assess the drug's effect on mood, creativity, focus and cognition.

The tests involved brainstorming ideas such as naming as many possible uses for a household object such as a pencil for two minutes, linking three different words together with a fourth word and making a collage with scissors, glue and coloured paper.

The study began in 2021 and the trial phase is expected to end this month. 

Psychedelics have the potential for treating a wide range of mental health problems, with a separate University of Auckland study investigating LSD micro-dosing and talk therapy for cancer patients in palliative care.   

LSD, also known as 'acid', is illegal in New Zealand and is classified as a Class A drug, meaning it has the highest penalties possible for its manufacture, sale and use.

The drug can give users short and long term physical and mental effects including the risk of drug-induced psychosis.