A new study supported by the Research Council of Norway provides evidence that psychedelics are unlikely to cause mental health issues.
Psychedelics are different than most other recreational drugs. Experts agree that psychedelics do not cause addiction or compulsive use.
An important study that may have some bearing on the regulations on what constitutes a “low risk” psychoactive substance in New Zealand has been completed by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
“The use of LSD, magic mushrooms, or peyote does not increase a person’s risk of developing mental health problems, according to an analysis of information from more than 130,000 randomly chosen people, including 22,000 people who had used psychedelics at least once.”
Researcher Teri Krebs and clinical psychologist Pål-Ørjan Johansen, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s (NTNU) Department of Neuroscience, used data from a US national health survey to see what association there was, if any, between psychedelic drug use and mental health problems.
The authors found no link between the use of psychedelic drugs and a range of mental health problems. Instead they found some significant associations between the use of psychedelic drugs and fewer mental health problems.
Psychedelics are different than most other recreational drugs. Experts agree that psychedelics do not cause addiction or compulsive use, and they are not known to harm the brain.
When evaluating psychedelics, as with any activity, it is important to take an objective view of all the evidence and avoid being biased by anecdotal stories either of harm or benefit, the researchers say.
“Everything has some potential for negative effects, but psychedelic use is overall considered to pose a very low risk to the individual and to society,” Johansen says, “Psychedelics can elicit temporary feelings of anxiety and confusion, but accidents leading to serious injury are extremely rare.”
“Early speculation that psychedelics might lead to mental health problems was based on a small number of case reports and did not take into account either the widespread use of psychedelics or the not infrequent rate of mental health problems in the general population,” Krebs explains.
“Over the past 50 years tens of millions of people have used psychedelics and there just is not much evidence of long-term problems,” she concludes.
Some experts in New Zealand believe that while psychedelics may not cause mental health issues, there may be some possibility that they may exacerbate them in users that were previously unaware of any issues.
The study will be watched closely by those in the legal highs industry in New Zealand, looking to release legal highs and psychoactive substances that ‘mimic’ the effects of LSD and Psychedelic Mushrooms.
The results are published in the 19 August edition of journal PLOS ONE and are freely available online.