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Study: No Link Between Mental Problems and Hallucinogens

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ATLANTA (WAOK) - A new study has found there is no link between mental health problems and hallucinogenic drugs like LSD and “magic mushrooms”.

“Everything has some potential for negative effects, but psychedelic use is overall considered to pose a very low risk to the individual and to society,”said one of the study’s researchers Pål-Ørjan Johansen in a statement.  “Psychedelics can elicit temporary feelings of anxiety and confusion, but accidents leading to serious injury are extremely rare.”

Researchers Teri Krebs and Johansen, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, analyzed data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

They looked at survey data collected from more than 130,000 randomly selected Americans between 2001 and 2004 finding that 13 percent said they had taken hallucinogenic drugs at some point.

The researchers relied on data from the 2001-2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in which participants were asked about mental health treatment and symptoms of a variety of mental health conditions over the past year. The specific symptoms examined were general psychological distress, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and psychosis.

“The lack of association between the use of psychedelics and indicators of mental health problems in this large population survey is consistent with clinical studies in which LSD or other psychedelics have been administered to healthy volunteers,” the researchers noted in the study published in the Aug. 19 issue of PLoS One.  

The study says that some psychedelic drugs may even reduce risk for psychological problems.

“Early speculation that psychedelics might lead to mental health problems was based on a small number of case reports and did not take into account either the widespread use of psychedelics or the not infrequent rate of mental health problems in the general population,” Krebs explains.

“Over the past 50 years tens of millions of people have used psychedelics and there just is not much evidence of long-term problems,” she concludes.

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