Naturalistic Use of Mescaline Is Associated with Self-Reported Psychiatric Improvements and Enduring Positive Life Changes

This survey study (n=452) found that the use of mescaline led to improvements in scores on clinical conditions (anxiety 80%, depression 86%, PTSD & AUD 76%). Those who scored higher on acute mystical experience (MEQ30), ego dissolution, and psychological insight had larger improvement than those who scored lower.

Abstract

“Mescaline is a naturally occurring psychoactive alkaloid that has been used as a sacrament by Indigenous populations in spiritual ritual and healing ceremonies for millennia. Despite promising early preliminary research and favorable anecdotal reports, there is limited research investigating mescaline’s psychotherapeutic potential. We administered an anonymous online questionnaire to adults (N = 452) reporting use of mescaline in naturalistic settings about mental health benefits attributed to mescaline. We assessed respondents’ self-reported improvements in depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and alcohol and drug use disorders (AUD and DUD). Of the respondents reporting histories of these clinical conditions, most (68–86%) reported subjective improvement following their most memorable mescaline experience. Respondents who reported an improvement in their psychiatric conditions reported significantly higher ratings of acute psychological factors including mystical-type, psychological insight, and ego dissolution effects compared to those who did not report improvements (Cohen’s d range 0.7 – 1.5). Many respondents (35–50%) rated the mescaline experience as the single or top five most spiritually significant or meaningful experience(s) of their lives. Acute experiences of psychological insight during their mescaline experience were associated with increased odds of reporting improvement in depression, anxiety, AUD and DUD. Additional research is needed to corroborate these preliminary findings and to rigorously examine the efficacy of mescaline for psychiatric treatment in controlled, longitudinal clinical trials.”

Authors: Gabrielle Agin-Liebes, Trevor F. Haas, Rafael Lancelotta, Malin V. Uthaug, Johannes G. Ramaekers & Alan K. Davis

Notes

A variety of studies have shown that the use of psychedelics can lead to positive changes in mental health. The psychedelic experience is often seen as one of the most memorable experiences of someone’s life. Although there are, mainly psychological, risks, many people find joy and meaning in the use of psychedelics.

A survey study found that, for those suffering from anxiety, depression, PTSD, alcohol- and substance use disorders improved significantly. For instance, of the 452 respondents in this study, 41% reported experiencing depression at the time of their most memorable mescaline experience. Of that group, 86% reported improvements after the experience.

What did this study find out?

  • Psychological insight, was the only significant predictor after controlling for the acute mystical-experience and ego dissolution. Or in other words, the lessons learned and possibly integrated led to better outcomes
  • Not many studies have looked at the relationship between classical psychedelics and PTSD. This one showed that for those suffering from PTSD (n=72), 76% improved and this effect was most pronounced for those with a stronger mystical-type experience
  • Although it has been used for centuries, mescaline remains understudied and no RCT studies, to our knowledge, have been done. This research could be the impetus that helps start more studies into this interesting molecule

At this current time, we can use all the tools that are available to use to improve our mental health. And although psychedelics don’t directly target the core of many societal problems, studies like this one show the potential for improvement.

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