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Psychedelic drugs may be psychologically useful

Psychedelic drugs

Psychedelic drugs such as LSD, which, while illegal, do not cause dependencies, can have their physiological uses, finds a new US study by researchers at Johns Hopkins and the University of Alabama at Birmingham that was published in the “Journal of Psychopharmacology”. According to the authors, taking these substances leads to reduced psychological distress and fewer suicidal thoughts, plans and attempts.

For the study, the researchers analysed data of 191,382 adults from five years of results of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2008 to 2012). 27,235 participants reported lifetime use of one or more of these psychedelics.

12,657 respondents reported psychological distress within the past month, 10,445 reported suicidal thinking within the past year, 3,157 reported suicidal planning within the past year and 1,716 reported suicidal attempt within the past year.

The scientists found that lifetime use of the drugs was associated with a 19 percent reduced likelihood of psychological distress within the past month, a 14 percent reduced likelihood of suicidal thinking within the past year, a 29 percent reduced likelihood of suicide planning within the past year and a 36 percent reduced likelihood of attempting suicide within the past year.

“Our general societal impression of these drugs is they make people go crazy or are associated with psychological harm, but our data point to the potential psychological benefits from these drugs,” said study author Matthew W. Johnson. The psychedelics’ highly restricted legal status should therefore perhaps be reconsidered to facilitate scientific studies, Johnson said.

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