Study Links Psychedelic Use To Good Health Habits
The use of psychedelics is more widespread than ever, and many are grateful for it.
Not only are psychedelic drugs a safer recreational choice compared to alcohol, but it does have the power to change one’s life for the better. Countless people have been able to turn over a new leaf after living a life that has imprisoned them due to mental illnesses that have been difficult to treat. These range from alcoholism and addiction to post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety, and more.
For people who aren’t necessarily struggling with mental difficulties, psychedelics can still benefit you. It has been shown to improve overall quality of life and can improve how you perceive life as a whole. Now, there are studies showing that psychedelic use may actually be linked to healthier lifestyles – both physically and mentally.
Psychedelics Linked to Healthier Habits
A recent survey of American adults found that those who admitted to using any of the classical psychedelics at least once also reported to eating healthier and smoking less cigarettes.
Classic psychedelics refer to hallucinogenic drugs that result in trips, or a mental state that are out of the ordinary. Some popular examples of classical psychedelics include magic mushrooms, LSD, ayahuasca, DMT, LSD, and peyote. Most of these drugs are illegal, though there are a few places in the world that have either decriminalized them or legalized them.
For the study, Otto Simonsson together with other colleagues analyzed data from an online survey of 2822 participants. The group was chosen using a methodology that allowed the population to reflect the rest of US adults in terms of age, sex, and ethnicity. Out of the group, 613 of them acknowledged consuming psychedelics at least once. They were then asked if what they consumed was cocaine, cannabis, pain relievers, MDMA, PCP, tobacco, or inhalants at least once, as well as how many cigarettes they consumed and how old they were when they first drank alcohol.
In addition, the participants were asked if they consumed any of the classic psychedelic drugs. What was surprising was that those who responded yes to whether they consumed psychedelic drugs, then afterward answered assessments of psychological experiences with psychedelics, found that those who did consume them had healthier lifestyle habits compared to those who didn’t.
“Lifetime classic psychedelic use was, for example, more common among men, individuals with greater self-reported engagement in risky behavior, and individuals who reported lifetime use of other illicit substances. Lifetime classic psychedelic use was very modestly associated with more healthy tobacco-related and diet-related behavior, but no association was observed with alcohol-related and exercise-related behavior,” wrote the researchers. In short, those who used psychedelics at least once smoked less tobacco and consumed healthier foods.
“Although these results cannot demonstrate, they suggest that psychological insight during a classic psychedelic experience may lead to positive health behavior change and better physical health in some domains, in particular those related to weight management,” concluded the study’s authors.
Psychedelics Linked to Better Mental Health
Another recent study of 985 survey respondents revealed that mystical experiences may be associated with a long-lasting reduction in depression and anxiety. They were asked to describe the psychedelics they consumed, then completed questionnaires that assessed the mystical nature of it. In addition, they were asked to describe if it was psychologically insightful, challenging or if it resulted in a positive mood.
The researchers conducted a machine learning analysis of data to participants who were asked about their non-clinical experiences using psychedelic drugs. Those that scored highest on the tests asking about the mystical nature of their psychedelic consumption also showed improvements in symptoms of depression and anxiety.
“Sometimes the challenge arises because it’s an intensely mystical and insightful experience that can, in and of itself, be challenging,” says Alan Davis, the study’s senior author. “In the clinical research setting, folks are doing everything they can to create a safe and supportive environment. But when challenges do come up, it’s important to better understand that challenging experiences can actually be related to positive outcomes,” he explains.
“The group that had the highest insightful and mystical experiences and low challenging experiences showed the most benefit in terms of remission of anxiety and depression symptoms and other longer lasting benefits to their lives,” explains Aki Nikolaidis, the study’s first author.
They specifically also found that participants who reported consuming LSD and psilocybin were the same ones that reported better mental health outcomes even after they have had to face a difficult situation.
“Identifying subtypes that exist regardless of which psychedelic you take answers an interesting question,” adds Nikolaidis. “But the fact that we found that they’re associated with specific outcomes, and replicated that finding, really shows why it’s important to understand the powerful nature of what is happening subjectively and its potential to yield a beneficial outcome,” he says.
These are just some of many other studies that back up how psychedelics can indeed improve mental and physical health outcomes for anyone. While we don’t yet know how or why they work that way, there are a few theories why. For one, psychedelic consumption helps us see things outside of our actual lives, in a way that allows us to connect with ourselves and our environment better.
Another possible reason is the fact that psychedelic use promotes altruism, empathy, and compassion – not just to our loved ones and the world, but towards ourselves. The capability of psychedelics to forge new connections in the brain is can also lead to these enduring positive changes in our lives.
Has psychedelic use benefited you physically or mentally?
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