Two recent scientific studies show that users of psychedelics are not at increased risk of developing mental health problems.
Classic psychedelics: LSD, psilocybin and mescaline
Both studies use data from large USA population surveys. The first study is by Norwegian psychologists Pål-Ørjan Johansen and Teri Suzanne Krebs. They found that 14% of the 135.000 people who took part in the survey had ever used any of the three ‘classic’ psychedelics: LSD, psilocybin and mescaline.
These psychedelic users were found not to be at increased risk of developing mental-health problems such as schizophrenia, psychosis, depression, anxiety disorders and suicide attempts.
Lower suicide rates
The second study of behavioural pharmacologist Matthew Johnson of the John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland looked at 190.000 respondents. He also found that the classic psychedelics were not associated with adverse mental-health outcomes.
To the contrary: people who had used LSD and psilocybin were found to have lower lifetime rates of suicidal thoughts and attempts.
Acid casualty myth debunked
The studies debunk the myth that psychedelics can lead to psychosis. In the 1960s widespread reports of so-called “acid casualties” were mainstream news. According to researcher Krebs psychedelics can be psychologically intense nevertheless.
Her colleague Charles Grob, a long-term advocate of psychedelic therapy, points out that in individual cases adverse effects might occur. It’s rare, but some psychedelic users suffer from hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD): a ‘trip’ that never seems to end.
They perceive incessant distortions in the visual field, shimmering lights and coloured dots. However, the disorder also occurs in people that never used psychedelics.