This observational survey study (n=752.374) investigated the relationship between lifetime classic psychedelic use and cardiometabolic diseases and found that lifetime classic psychedelic use was associated with a 23% lower odds of heart disease and a 12% lower odds of diabetes in the past year.
“Introduction: The objective of the current study was to investigate the associations between lifetime classic psychedelic use and cardiometabolic diseases.
Methods: Using data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2005-2014), the present study examined the associations between lifetime classic psychedelic use and two types of cardiometabolic disease: heart disease and diabetes.
Results: Respondents who reported having tried a classic psychedelic at least once in their lifetime had lower odds of heart disease in the past year (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 0.77 (0.65-0.92), p = .006) and lower odds of diabetes in the past year (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 0.88 (0.78-0.99), p = .036).
Discussion: Classic psychedelic use might be beneficial for cardiometabolic health, but more research is needed to investigate potential causal pathways of classic psychedelics on cardiometabolic diseases.”
Authors: Otto Simonsson, Walter Osika, Robin L. Carhart-Harris & Peter S. Hendricks
Cardiometabolic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes can be delayed or reversed by pharmacological treatment, intensive lifestyle modification, or both.
Classic psychedelics include tryptamines, lysergamides, and phenethylamines. They may have beneficial effects on several physical illnesses, including cardiometabolic diseases, through several mechanisms, including facilitation of healthy lifestyle changes, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties, and high affinity for serotonin receptor subtypes associated with cardiometabolic diseases.
Using data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the present study found that lifetime classic psychedelic use was associated with lower odds of heart disease and diabetes.
Table 1 shows that respondents who had ever used a classic psychedelic were more likely to have heart disease or diabetes in the past year than those who had never used a classic psychedelic.
In the regression models, lifetime classic psychedelic use was uniquely associated with a 23% lower odds of heart disease in the past year and a 12% lower odds of diabetes in the past year.
This national survey-based study found that lifetime classic psychedelic use was associated with lower odds of heart disease and diabetes, but the study was limited by its cross-sectional design and lack of information on the context of classic psychedelic use, dose used, or frequency of use.
Table 1 shows the percentage of respondents with heart disease or diabetes in the past year.
There has been extensive research on prevention and treatment of cardiometabolic diseases, but the potential long-term effects of classic psychedelic use on cardiometabolic health remains largely unknown.
Data and population. This study used pooled data from NSDUH survey years 2005 to 2014 to examine the association between lifetime classic psychedelic use and having a heart condition and/or cancer in the past year.
Respondents who reported using DMT, ayahuasca, LSD, mescaline, peyote or San Pedro, or psilocybin in the past 12 months were coded as positive for lifetime classic psychedelic use.
The odds ratios were adjusted for age, sex, ethnoracial identity, educational attainment, annual household income, marital status, self-reported engagement in risky behavior, lifetime use of cocaine, marijuana, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA/ecstasy), inhalants, smokeless tobacco, pipe tobacco, cigar, and cigarettes daily, and age of first alcohol use.
The NSDUH survey years were used to analyze lifetime use of inhalants, stimulants, sedatives, pain relievers, smokeless tobacco, pipe tobacco, cigars, daily cigarette use, and age of first alcohol use.
The present study used descriptive statistics to examine the relationships between lifetime psychedelic use and heart disease and diabetes, and then used logistic regression to examine the unique associations between lifetime classic psychedelic use and cardiometabolic diseases.
O.S. conceived of the study and conducted the analyses. W.O. contributed meaningful expertise on cardiometabolic health, and R.C.-H. contributed meaningful expertise on classic psychedelics.
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Authors associated with this publication with profiles on BlossomRobin Carhart-Harris
Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris is the Founding Director of the Neuroscape Psychedelics Division at UCSF. Previously he led the Psychedelic group at Imperial College London.