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article imageNo link between psychedelic drugs and mental health issues

By Tim Sandle     Aug 24, 2013 in Science
A new study suggests that using psychedelic drugs does not increase a person's risk of developing mental health problems.
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), “magic” mushrooms, and peyote (a small, spineless cactus with psychoactive alkaloids, particularly mescaline) do not increase a person’s risk of developing mental health problems, according to a new study. Moreover, the report has found that psychedelic drug use was actually linked to fewer mental issues.
For the study, Medscape summarizes, scientists analyzed health data on more than 130,000 people chosen at random from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2001–2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. From the drug survey, 22,000 respondents said they had used psychedelics at least once.
From the analysis, the researchers found no links between the self-reported use of psychedelic drugs and a range of mental health problems, including general psychological distress, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and psychosis. The lead author, psychologist Pål-Ørjan Johansen, said in the research brief: "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 outcome, however, did not mean that the use of such drugs is beneficial for health or that some people will not suffer mental health issues. Johansen went on to say: "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."
The study was conducted at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). The study has been published as a paper in the journal PLOS One.
As a caution it should be noted that several associative studies have drawn vastly different conclusions about the connections between psychedelic drugs and mental health.
More about Psychedelic drugs, Mental health, Lsd
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