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Harvard Law graduate, author and former US Public Defender Ayelet Waldman speaks to Kate Allman about changes to laws around the world to permit clinical trials on the drug LSD.

Ayelet Waldman graduated from Harvard Law School in the same class as former US President Barack Obama in 1991. She worked as a US Federal Public Defender for many years, has written six books, had a column in The New York Times and published countless articles in other news publications.

Waldman’s resume is overflowing with accolades you might expect from many a talented Harvard graduate. But here’s a plot twist: she also took LSD every three days for a month and proudly credits the drug for saving her marriage and her mental health.

Lysergic acid diethylamid – known more commonly as LSD or “acid” – earned a reputation as the drug of choice for hippies and psychedelic music revellers in the 1960s. It’s fair to say Waldman, who is an author, 53-year-old mother-of-four and lecturer at Berkeley Law School at the University of California, doesn’t fit that stereotype.

Yet, in her 2017 memoir A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life, Waldman admits to having taken LSD, administering “microdoses” of about 10 micrograms (about one tenth of a standard recreational dose) every three days in an attempt to alleviate crippling depression and mood swings that had plagued her for years.

“In retrospect I think I had a mood disorder my entire life,” Waldman told LSJ in advance of her appearance at Sydney’s Festival of Dangerous Ideas in November. “As I had more children and I moved on to writing serious fiction and non-fiction novels, my life became busier and bigger and the hormones really made it come to the fore. Eventually I was experiencing suicidal symptoms.”

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