August 20, 2013 3:01 pm
Those who enjoy taking trips of the psychedelic, illegal variety will be pleased to learn that magic mushrooms, LSD and peyote do not seems to cause detriments to users’ health, new research finds. People who use these drugs actually seem less prone to some mental health problems than the general population, The Scientist reports.
The researchers analyzed anonymous health data from 130,000 people from the U.S. who took part in a standardized survey. Around 22,000 of those people said they had used a psychedelic drug once or more. After adjusting for risk factors and analyzing the data, the team found no indication that psychedelics increase a person’s risk of mental diseases or disorders. ”Over the past 50 years tens of millions of people have used psychedelics and there just is not much evidence of long-term problems,” the authors say in a statement.
The Scientist elaborates:
[Psychologist Pål-Ørjan] Johansen and his coauthor found that lifetime use of psilocybin—the psychedelic compound in“magic” mushrooms—or mescaline—the psychedelic agent in peyote—and past-year use of LSD were instead associated with reduced rates of serious psychological distress. They also found that lifetime use of LSD was associated with reduced rates of outpatient mental health treatment and fewer prescriptions for psychiatric drugs.
This does not necessarily mean that psychedelic drugs promote health or prevent disease, however. The study design doesn’t extend into that realm of cause-and-effect, so more research will be needed to figure out why people who take these drugs seem to have a lower incidence of mental problems.
This study does, however, provide a simple take-home: there may be some reasons for justifying making these products illegal, but detrimental impacts on health are likely not one of them.
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