No association between psychedelics and mental health problems

The use of LSD and other psychedelics does not increase the risk of developing mental health problems – on the contrary. This is the result of a study undertaken by The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and published in “PLOS ONE”.

Evaluating data from more than 130,000 people, including 22,000 who had experience with LSD, magic mushrooms or peyote, Teri Krebs and Pål-Ørjan Johansen in fact found a connection between psychedelic drugs and fewer mental problems such as psychological distress, anxiety disorders, mood disorders and psychosis.

“After adjusting for other risk factors, lifetime use of LSD, psilocybin, mescaline or peyote, (…) was not associated with a higher rate of mental health problems or receiving mental health treatment,” says Johansen. Long-term users of LSD demonstrated a significant association with less outpatient treatment, less psychological distress and therefore less prescribed medication.

According to the researchers, psychedelics can cause temporary anxiety and confusion. Cases leading to serious damage are, however, extremely rare.

“Earlier speculation that psychedelics might lead to mental health problems were based on a small number of case reports and did not take into account either the widespread use psychedelics or the not infrequent rate of mental health problems in the general population”, explained Krebs.

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