You may have read about a recent study that suggests psychedelic drugs like “magic mushrooms” and LSD don’t cause any kind of psychological or mental health harm. The authors want to take psychedelics a step further and give them away to people, entirely for free, as a therapeutic treatment
In their study, Johansen and Krebs looked at the data of the U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Among 135,000 participants, 14% said they used certain types of psychedelics, like LSD, mescaline, peyote, psilocybin, or MDMA in their lifetimes. The researchers concluded that the individuals who had used a psychedelic drug in their lives were no more likely to suffer any kind of mental health problem, including schizophrenia, psychosis, anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts.
They did note, however, that drugs like PCP and ketamine showed to be addictive and had adverse effects on health, which is why their research didn’t focus on those drugs.
“Psychedelics are psychologically intense, and many people will blame anything that happens for the rest of their lives on a psychedelic experience,” Krebs told Nature.
This research is personal for Joansen. He recently talked about how he used MDMA and psilocybin to beat his own alcohol abuse and PTSD. When he was 13, he lost is maternal grandparents, and then his older brother unexpectedly died from heart failure.
“In the summer, he and I would camp out alone in the upper part of the Nidelva river, fishing and enjoying each other’s company for weeks on end. I found comfort in his sense of security, and we stayed up all night, exchanging stories,” Johansen told VG Helg.
In college, he developed a drinking problem and used psychedelics to help him cope with his past and kick his alcoholism.
“I quit using alcohol altogether. I had to take care of myself when I took mushrooms, and being unbalanced was not an option. Psychedelics led me to examine the destructive behavioral patterns that I was unable to face before,” he said. His use of MDMA while studying at Harvard University helped him talk about his past after several failed attempts at psychotherapy.