August 23, 2013
A Norwegian team of researchers at the University of Science and technology (NTNU) have published a study showing that psychedelic drugs do not cause mental problems in users.
The NTNU Department of Neuroscience (DoN) analyzed data from 130,000 participants of a 2001 – 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) conducted in the US.
The NSDUH study concluded that 1 out of 6 Americans between the ages of 21 – 64 have taken a psychedelic in their lifetime.
There was significant evidence to state that there is a beneficial effect in using LSD in treatment for alcohol dependency.
Pål-Ørjan Johansen and Teri Krebs explained: “After adjusting for other risk factors, lifetime use of LSD, psilocybin, mescaline or peyote, or past year use of LSD was not associated with a higher rate of mental health problems or receiving mental health treatment.”
The NSDUH questionnaire directed questions to inquire about general psychological distress, anxiety disorders, mood disorders and other psychosis.
Connections between those mental health conditions and the use of psychedelic drugs were determined.
Researchers stated: “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.”
The study pointed out: “The researchers said rather than finding a connection between their use and an increase in problems, they discovered long-term use of drugs such as psilocybin or mescaline was linked to ‘lower rates of serious psychological distress.”
Researchers stated : “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.”
Krebs commented that this study was not without limitations in conclusions.
He said: “The design of our study does not allow conclusions about causality. However, there is a lack of evidence that psychedelics cause lasting mental health problems.”
Matthew Johnson, psychologist for the psychiatric department at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) said: “There seems to be no evidence of overall negative impact — and even some hints of benefit — associated with the use of psychedelics.”
Johnson has experimented with using psilocybin in human participants.
Researchers at Imperial College London (ICL) have found that psychedelics could be used in treatment of depression, anxiety and cluster headaches.
LSD affects serotonin receptors; and is known to alter imagination and perception in the human brain.
This drug “also known as lysergide (INN) and colloquially as acid, is a semisynthetic psychedelic drug of the ergoline family, well known for its psychological effects which can include altered thinking processes, closed and open eye visuals, synesthesia, an altered sense of time and spiritual experiences, as well as for its key role in 1960s counterculture. It is used mainly as an entheogen, recreational drug, and as an agent in psychedelic therapy. LSD is non-addictive, is not known to cause brain damage, and has extremely low toxicity relative to dose. However, adverse psychiatric reactions such as anxiety, paranoia, and delusions are possible.”