Psychedelic drug use helps, not harms, mental health

Contrary to the popular belief that use of psychedelic substances such as LSD and shrooms leads to the onset of mental disorders, a new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology concludes that there is no link between psychedelics and mental health problems. In fact, the findings of the Norwegian team of scientists and psychologists may indicate that psychedelic consumption may have beneficial results.

The study, authored by clinical psychologist Pål-Ørjan Johansen, reports the findings of a team from the Norwegian University for Science and Technology at Trondheim. The team conducted their research by selecting 135,000 randomly chosen participants – 19,000 of whom had used psychedelic drugs, including LSD and psilocybin, the active ingredient in shrooms.

The study found no evidence of a link between mental health issues and use of psychedelic drugs. “Over 30 million U.S. adults have tried psychedelics and there just is not much evidence of health problems,” said Johansen. He acknowledged that those who used the drugs were still susceptible to mental health issues (and not immune from having bad trips), but no more than anyone who had not tried psychedelics.

In fact, the study’s co-author Teri Krebs revealed that using psychedelic drugs is often much less dangerous than using other legal substances. “Drug experts consistently rank LSD and psilocybin mushrooms as much less harmful to the individual user and to society compared to alcohol and other controlled substances,” said the neuroscientist. In addition, “many people report deeply meaningful experiences and lasting beneficial effects from using psychedelics,” said Krebs.

Most psychedelic drugs have been illegal in the U.S. since President Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act in 1970. LSD and shrooms come under a further restricted category that prohibits not only their sale and consumption, but also their use in medicine. In the wake of relaxed marijuana laws around the country, some are wondering if the time has also come to alter the strictures around psychedelic drugs.

“Concerns have been raised that the ban on use of psychedelics is a violation of the human rights to belief and spiritual practice, full development of the personality, and free-time and play,” said the study’s authors.

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