Psychedelics not linked to mental health problems
There has long been a debate as to whether LSD and other psychedelics cause any long term psychological health issues. Now research suggests what we all want to hear - that it does not!
Recent research indicates that using psilocybin based psychedelic drugs, such as magic mushrooms and LSD, does not increase the risk of developing a psychological disorder. In fact, the use of psychedelics shows a strong association with fewer health problems!
130‘000 randomly chosen people analyzed - 22‘000 of whom used psychedelics
These findings come from a research team based at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, who analysed the data provided by the US National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Having previously studied possible implications of using psychedelics for the treatment of medical conditions, the Norwegian team’s next logical step was to investigate any potential long term side effects. They found that not only are there no greater risks of mental illness as a result of using LSD, psilocybin or mescaline, but instead there are even possible benefits associated with it.
Using the data from the national drug use survey, they found that one in six Americans have tried psychedelics. One researcher wrote “The lack of association between the use of psychedelics and indicators of mental health problems in this large population survey is consistent with clinical studies in which LSD or other psychedelics have been administered to healthy volunteers".
Mathew Johnson, a psychologist who was involved in experiments to test how effectively psilocybin helped cancer patients cope with anxiety and depression has taken an interest in the work. He had the following to say, “There seems to be no evidence of overall negative impact — and even some hints of benefit — associated with the use of psychedelics”.
The real news: psychedelics are beneficial
What thousands of consciousness explorers were yelling all along is slowly being confirmed by unbiased research: the use of psychedelics is not only safe, it can be a thoroughly beneficial experience.
The study has shown that those who have used psilocybin throughout their lives had significantly lower rates of serious mental illness then those who did not use mushrooms at all. The research team do not ask why this may be; but it could be suggested that the sense of wellbeing and understanding that so many feel through psychedelics could be part of the answer, reducing the anxiety and stress that can often lead to psychological disorders.
As any study, the one at hand is also not without its flaws. As this was simply an analysis of the survey, there are a lot of variables that could not be taken into account. For example, hereditary mental health issues would not have been properly taken into account. However, the findings remain positive, and warrant further research into the matter.
Struggling to accept the possibility of beneficial drug use, the team from Norway concluded that “We cannot exclude the possibility that use of psychedelics might have a negative effect on mental health for some individuals or groups, perhaps counterbalanced at a population level by a positive effect on mental health in others (…) [however] recent clinical trials have also failed to find any evidence of any lasting harmful effects of psychedelics. (…) Other studies have found no evidence of health or social problems among people who had used psychedelics hundreds of times in legally-protected religious ceremonies".
Much more unbiased research into psychedelics is needed, but what we already know shows one thing: the war on drugs lacks any scientific basis and might well be one of the largest crimes against freedom of expression ever undertaken.
Remember, psychedelics can still cause accidental harm if you are not careful. Always make sure you are in a safe and secure environment if you use them.