File this under things that make you go hmmm. A new study out of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found that the psychedelic drug LSD is good for people’s mental health and well-being. The new study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Plos One and is entitled “Psychedelics and Mental Health: A Population Study.”
Researchers examined data from 130,152 people and found that in numerous instances, the use of psychedelic drugs was linked with fewer mental health concerns:
21,967 respondents (13.4% weighted) reported lifetime psychedelic use. There were no significant associations between lifetime use of any psychedelics, lifetime use of specific psychedelics (LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, peyote), or past year use of LSD and increased rate of any of the mental health outcomes. Rather, in several cases psychedelic use was associated with lower rate of mental health problems.
The study is significant because it was controlled for numerous factors and has undergone peer review. Control factors included “sociodemographic variables, use of illicit drugs, risk taking behavior, and exposure to traumatic events.”
Researchers in this study also performed another study last year in which they concluded that LSD was “a highly effective treatment” for those suffering from alcoholism. In that study, which was a meta-analysis of six other studies, researchers concluded that alcoholism could be completely helped for at least six months with one dose of LSD. “A single dose of LSD has a significant beneficial effect on alcohol misuse,” the researchers said, “Given the evidence for a beneficial effect of LSD on alcoholism, it is puzzling why this treatment approach has been largely overlooked…this is probably as good as anything we’ve got.”
With the new drug Molly making headlines in recent months, new attention has been focused on other types of hallucinogens, including LSD. Another drug, ecstasy, has been studied and been shown to be found beneficial in treating grief and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Lead researcher for the LSD study, Pal-Orjan Johansen, indicated that psychedelic drugs have been misunderstood by the general public. Johansen said, “Despite popular perceptions, expert harm assessments have not demonstrated that classical serotonergic psychedelic substances such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline are demonstrated to cause chronic mental health problems.” His partner, Teri Krebs, said, “Everything has some risk: psychedelics can elicit temporary feelings of anxiety and confusion, but accidents leading to serious injury are extremely rare. Over the past 50 years tens of millions of people have used psychedelics and there just is not much evidence of long-term problems.”
Does this mean that everyone who is depressed or has mental problems should rush right out and drop a couple of tabs of LSD? Probably not. According to WebMD, LSD is indicated in “hallucinations, numbness, nausea, and increased heart rate” in the short term, while “long-term effects include unwanted “flashbacks” and psychosis (hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and mood disturbances).”
It appears more research needs to be done in this field to determine if, in fact, LSD is beneficial in the long run, or if its negative effects outweigh any possible benefit.
By: Rebecca Savastio