Psychedelics not linked to mental health problems or suicidal behavior: A population study

This 2015 observational survey study (n=135 095) investigated the association between lifetime psychedelic use (LSD, psilocybin, mescaline) and mental health problems, but found no indication of increased likelihood for psychological distress, mental health treatment, suicidal behavior, depression, or anxiety amongst psychedelic users (n=19 299). These results contest the justification for prohibiting psychedelics as a public health measure.

Abstract

Introduction: A recent large population study of 130,000 adults in the United States failed to find evidence for a link between psychedelic use (lysergic acid diethylamide, psilocybin or mescaline) and mental health problems.

Methods: Using a new data set consisting of 135,095 randomly selected United States adults, including 19,299 psychedelic users, we examine the associations between psychedelic use and mental health.

Results: After adjusting for sociodemographics, other drug use and childhood depression, we found no significant associations between lifetime use of psychedelics and increased likelihood of past year serious psychological distress, mental health treatment, suicidal thoughts, suicidal plans and suicide attempt, depression and anxiety. We failed to find evidence that psychedelic use is an independent risk factor for mental health problems.

Discussion: Psychedelics are not known to harm the brain or other body organs or to cause addiction or compulsive use; serious adverse events involving psychedelics are extremely rare. Overall, it is difficult to see how prohibition of psychedelics can be justified as a public health measure.”

Authors: Pål-Ørjan Johansen & Teri Suzanne Krebs

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Psychedelics not linked to mental health problems or suicidal behavior: A population study

https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881114568039

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Published in
Journal of Psychopharmacology
March 15, 2015
217 citations

Study details

Compounds studied
Mescaline LSD Psilocybin

Topics studied
Personality

Study characteristics
Observational Longitudinal Survey

Participants
135095