More research is needed to evaluate the connection between psychedelics and addiction.
A new study suggests psychedelics may have a place in the treatment of addiction.
The consumption of psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin is correlated with “persisting reductions” in the use of cannabis, opioids and stimulants, noted new research published this week in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry.
Researchers from the John Hopkins School of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Department of Neuroscience, The Ohio State College of Social Work and the Erowid Center contributed to the study.
“Observational data and preliminary studies suggest serotonin 2A agonist psychedelics may hold potential in treating a variety of substance use disorders (SUDs), including opioid use disorder (OUD),” researchers wrote.
The study recruited 444 adults via advertisements online who claimed to have overcome addictions to alcohol and/or drugs through the use of psychedelics. Each participant completed an anonymous survey that assessed a variety of factors, including problematic substance use.
Researchers discovered that the majority of subjects in the study self-reported using psilocybin (a compound in so-called “magic mushrooms”) or LSD to provoke a psychedelic experience.
On average, participants reported about 4.5 years of problematic substance use. Approximately 79 per cent of study participants met the retrospective criteria listed in the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) for severe substance abuse disorder prior to consuming psychedelics, and 96 per cent met the criteria for substance use disorder.
After their “psychedelic experience,” researchers say that only 27 per cent met the criteria for substance abuse disorder.
Participants who consumed higher doses of psychedelic substances, and reported more “mysticism,” epiphanies or insight as a result of the consumption, had a tendency to report a more substantial reduction in the consumption of other drugs.
The study’s authors emphasize that more research is needed to evaluate the connection between psychedelics and addiction, but that the results offer a promising direction for further study.
“While these cross-sectional and self-report methods cannot determine whether psychedelics caused changes in drug use, results suggest the potential that psychedelics cause reductions in problematic substance use, and support additional clinical research on psychedelic-assisted treatment for SUD,” the authors noted.
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Written by Emma Spears