No Link Between Psychedelic Drugs and Mental Illnesses

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People who use psychedelic drugs do not have an increased risk of developing mental health problems, according to a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

In a preview study, the researchers tried to find associations between mental health problems and psychedelic drug use, but they were unable to find a link.

Their new study included 135,095 randomly-selected adults from the U.S. National Health Survey (2008-2011), 19,299 of whom reported use of psychedelic drugs.

The researchers found no link between the use of psychedelic drugs and increased risk mental health conditions, including psychological distress, depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts, plans, or attempts. The results actually showed a correlation between psychedelic drug use and a decreased risk for mental health problems.

Despite this correlation, the researchers note that some individuals or groups may still be negatively affected by the use of psychedelic drugs. These negative effects may be hidden at the population level. Adverse effects have been recorded at the individual level, including serious conditions like hallucinogen persisting perception disorder.

Overall, the researchers believe that their results suggest that banning psychedelic drugs cannot be justified as a public health measure. Drug experts consider psychedelic drugs like LSD and psilocybin mushrooms to be safer to users and society at large compared with alcohol and other controlled substances, and the results of this study provide more evidence in their favor.

Psychedelic drugs like LSD could be used to treat depression, study suggests
No Link Between Psychedelic Drugs and Mental Illnesses

An analysis of data provided by 135,000 randomly selected participants — including 19,000 people who had used drugs such as LSD and magic mushrooms — finds that use of psychedelics does not increase risk of developing mental health problems. The results are published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

Previously, the researchers behind the study — from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim — had conducted a population study investigating associations between mental health and psychedelic use. However, that study, which looked at data from 2001-04, was unable to find a link between use of these drugs and mental health problems.

"Over 30 million US adults have tried psychedelics and there just is not much evidence of health problems," says author and clinical psychologist Pål-Ørjan Johansen.

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