Recently, researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Department of Neuroscience examined data collected from more than 130,000 Americans in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in an effort to determine what kind of effect psychedelics have on mental health.
The study, published in the journal PLOS One, found that not only does the use of psychedelics have no association with mental illness, it actually reduces the risk of mental health problems:
There were no significant associations between lifetime use of any psychedelics, lifetime use of specific psychedelics (LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, peyote), or past year use of LSD and increased rate of any of the mental health outcomes. Rather, in several cases psychedelic use was associated with lower rate of mental health problems.
The researchers conclude that “These results might reflect beneficial effects of psychedelic use,” and “relatively better initial mental health among people who use psychedelics”.
Specifically, the study found that those who had used psilocybin, mescaline, and peyote at any time in their life, and those who had used LSD within the past year, showed lower rates of serious psychological distress, and psychiatric medication prescriptions.
Also, those who had used LSD at any point in their lifetime showed a lower rate of outpatient mental health treatment. The use of mescaline or peyote significantly reduced the rate of symptoms of agoraphobia, and those who had used psilocybin showed a lower rate of outpatient mental health treatment and a lower rate of symptoms of panic attacks.
According to the study, the general use of any psychedelics at any point significantly reduced the rate of psychotic symptoms.