A new study out of the esteemed Yale University, published on January 20th 2019 in the journal of the National Academy of Sciences, reported that people who had recently used psychedelics (specifically psilocybin and LSD) noted a sustained improvement in mood and mental well being. These subjects also reported that these effects lingered after the high had worn off!
The body of this study consisted of 1,200 people attending multi-day arts and music festivals in the United States and United Kingdom, and somewhat surprisingly its results are congruent with the findings of previous studies conducted in therapeutic settings. This indicates that psychedelic substances enhance feelings of social connectedness and improve mental well-being under both therapeutic and recreational conditions.
During this study co-author and assistant professor of psychology Molly Crockett and her team visited numerous music and art festivals where psychedelic use is commonplace. They asked attendees who were at the time not under the influence of psychedelics about their recent experiences, and how it affected or benefitted their mood and social propensity. By surveying them, the researchers were able to characterize the psychological effects that occur in the interval after psychedelic experiences. They found that people who recently took psychedelics (psilocybin and LSD) were more likely to report having “transformative experiences” that were so profound they came out of the experience radically changed, and observed lasting changes to their moral values and mental health.
Psilocybin mushrooms (from champignonmagique.io)
Einstein + LSD
Transformative experiences have been reliably induced by psilocybin in multiple studies, notably this one in 2011 at Johns Hopkins Universities Department of Psychedelic Research. These experiences have been associated with an unbelievable amount of psychological benefit, from treating serious conditions like depression and addictions in a single session, to increasing feelings of social connectedness and positively altering mood and moral values, even long after the acute effects fade.
Although risks are present, the current body of evidence surrounding this topic suggests that psychedelic substances have serious potential as therapy for mood disorders, and also offer significant benefit to the ‘healthy’ recreational user. Watch out big Pharma!