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No Link found between Psychedelics and Psychosis

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No link found between psychedelics and psychosis

In large US survey, users of LSD and similar drugs were no more likely to have mental-health conditions than other respondents.

Zoe Cormier

04 March 2015

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Getty Images/MarkLyon

Anecdotal evidence of 'acid casualties' — people who develop chronic mental-health disorders following the use of psychedelic drugs — is not supported by data on large populations, researchers say.

Data from population surveys in the United States challenge public fears that psychedelic drugs such as LSD can lead to psychosis and other mental-health conditions and to increased risk of suicide, two studies have found1, 2.

In the first study, clinical psychologists Pål-Ørjan Johansen and Teri Suzanne Krebs, both at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, scoured data from the US National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an annual random sample of the general population, and analysed answers from more than 135,000 people who took part in surveys from 2008 to 2011.

Of those, 14% described themselves as having used at any point in their lives any of the three ‘classic’ psychedelics: LSD, psilocybin (the active ingredient in so-called magic mushrooms) and mescaline (found in the peyote and San Pedro cacti). The researchers found that individuals in this group were not at increased risk of developing 11 indicators of mental-health problems such as schizophrenia, psychosis, depression, anxiety disorders and suicide attempts. Their paper appears in the March issue of the Journal of Psychopharmacology1.

The findings are likely to raise eyebrows. Fears that psychedelics can lead to psychosis date to the 1960s, with widespread reports of “acid casualties” in the mainstream news. But Krebs says that because psychotic disorders are relatively prevalent, affecting about one in 50 people, correlations can often be mistaken for causations. “Psychedelics are psychologically intense, and many people will blame anything that happens for the rest of their lives on a psychedelic experience.”

The three substances Johansen and Krebs looked at all act through the brain’s serotonin 2A receptor. The authors did not include ketamine, PCP, MDMA, fly agaric mushrooms, DMT or other drugs that fall broadly into the category of hallucinogens, because they act on other receptors and have different modes of biochemical action. Ketamine and PCP, for example, act on the NMDA receptor and are both known to be addictive and to cause severe physical harms, such as damage to the bladder3.

“Absolutely, people can become addicted to drugs like ketamine or PCP, and the effects can be very destructive. We restricted our study to the ‘classic psychedelics’ to clarify the findings,” says Johansen.

The 'acid casualty' myth

“This study assures us that there were not widespread ‘acid casualties’ in the 1960s,” says Charles Grob, a paediatric psychiatrist at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has long has advocated the therapeutic use of psychedelics, such as administering psilocybin to treat anxiety in terminal-stage cancer4. But he has concerns about Krebs and Johansen’s overall conclusions, he says, because individual cases of adverse effects use can and do occur.

For example, people may develop hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD), a ‘trip’ that never seems to end, involving incessant distortions in the visual field, shimmering lights and coloured dots. “I’ve seen a number of people with these symptoms following a psychedelic experience, and it can be a very serious condition,” says Grob.

Krebs and Johansen, however, point to studies that have found symptoms of HPPD in people who have never used psychedelics5.

The second of the new two studies, also published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology2, looked at 190,000 NSDUH respondents from 2008 to 2012. It also found that the classic psychedelics were not associated with adverse mental-health outcomes. In addition, it found that people who had used LSD and psilocybin had lower lifetime rates of suicidal thoughts and attempts.

“We are not claiming that no individuals have ever been harmed by psychedelics,” says author Matthew Johnson, an associate professor in the Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. “Anecdotes about acid casualties can be very powerful — but these instances are rare,” he says. At the population level, he says, the data suggest that the harms of psychedelics “have been overstated”.

nature

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harms VASTLY OVERSTATED. in fact the inroads being made in PSYCHEDELIC THERAPY today is nothing short of ASTOUNDING.

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Legal ban on LSD and magic mushrooms 'against human rights', say scientists

PSYCHEDELIC drugs like LSD and magic mushrooms should be made legal as banning them is "against human rights", scientists have said.

By Scott Campbell

Published: Fri, March 6, 2015

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GETTY IMAGES

Researchers say the drugs are much less harmful than alcohol, and banning them is a human rights issue because of their "spiritual" links.

The Norwegian researchers also claim there is no link between LSD and magic mushrooms and mental health problems.

They analysed information from more than 135,000 random people, including 19,000 who had used psychedelics, and found no association between the drugs and psychosis.

The study used data from the US National Health Survey and found there was no relationship with psychological distress, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, plans and attempts.

A previous study by the same researchers also failed to tie up LSD and magic mushrooms, also known as psilocybin, with brain damage.

Clinical psychologist Dr Pal-Orjan Johansen, of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, said: "Over 30 million US adults have tried psychedelics and there just is not much evidence of health problems."

"Concerns have been raised the ban on use of psychedelics is a violation of the human rights to belief and spiritual practice, full development of the personality, and free time and play."

He believes it is time to end the 50-year ban on the hallucinogenic drugs which inspired the Beatles and other pop groups of the Sixties.

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The Beatles

PA

Psychedelic drugs are said to have inspired Sixties groups like The Beatles

His researcher Dr Teri Krebs added: "Drug experts consistently rank LSD and psilocybin mushrooms as much less harmful to the individual user and to society compared to alcohol and other controlled substances."

The researchers, whose findings are published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, pointed out that unlike alcohol, psychedelics are not addictive.

They found the use of psychedelic drugs is correlated with fewer mental health problems.

Dr Krebs said: "Many people report deeply meaningful experiences and lasting beneficial effects from using psychedelics."

But Dr Johansen admitted, given the design of the study, they cannot "exclude the possibility use of psychedelics might have a negative effect on mental health for some individuals or groups".

He said: "With these robust findings, it is difficult to see how prohibition of psychedelics can be justified as a public health measure."

Earlier this week British scientists claimed psychedelic drugs could prove to be highly effective treatments for depression and alcoholism after the first brain scans of people under the influence of LSD.

Early results from the trial, involving 20 people, are said to be "very promising" and add to existing evidence that psychoactive drugs could help reverse entrenched patterns of addictive or negative thinking.

Professor David Nutt, who led the study, warned patients are missing out on the potential benefits of such treatments due to prohibitive regulations on research into recreational drugs.

Speaking at a briefing in London, the government's former chief drugs adviser said the restrictions amounted to "the worst censorship in the history of science".

express

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in the 50's-60's the CIA & defence departments utilized americas best research universities to plumb the depths of LSD and other then emergence psychedelics.

 

IRONIC that these same universities applying new research with LSD, psilocybin, MDMA in efforts to treat returning war vets suffering from PTSD as well as other psychic maladies. 

 

Stanislov Grof's groundwork from the 1950's will prove to be the HANDBOOK for new trainees. 

 

read Psychedelic Healing, Neil Goldsmith, PhD FASCINATING!!! 

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A predisposition to develop certain mental disorders and drug use is actually an extremely tricky concept. This is because, individuals who are already predisposed to develop mental conditions are more likely to consume psychedelics in the first place. This, in turn, would lead to a higher chance of the individual losing touch with reality and become full blow psychotic. 

I read a mention of the Beatles above, but another such example is that of Syd Barret, the founding member of Pink Floyd, known in addition for his incredible use of psychedelics, hence a short lived music career and later, full blown schizophrenia.

So, i guess, more evidence and research needs to be conducted before any conclusive evidence can be formed. 

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It would depend on what you consider reality I suppose.

 

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@Shadey. Now that my friend is the million dollar question. And I really won't delve much into it, cause what do I know what reality exactly is. 
But what I meant was in the normal functioning of an individual in day to day life. Master Syd lost all control over his musical talent and career, his friends, his hot, hot girlfriends and lived rest of his life as a recluse, cared for by his mother. 
All this may/may not be true, but the truth is he did get a bit self destructive because of his reported "heroic" LSD use. 

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So because he found another reality that he preferred, opposed to what you think he may have wanted to keep, he was self destructive?

It sounds no different than someone becoming a  Buddhist monk and going into retreat for spiritual enlightenment, while others look  after him or her. He just did it in another way, that doesnt have a nice label that society can use to pigeon hole some one.

 

There is always multiple view points, depending on your reality :)

 

If you took some one out of Santa Ana and dropped them into the middle of the Amazon jungle with no survival skills they would tell you they were in hell and to put them back and not do it again please.

 

If you took a native of the Amazon  central jungle with no credit card and dropped them in the middle of Santa Ana, they would tell you they were in hell and to take them back please. But you would need an interpreter obviously.

 

Who is correct?

Edited by Shadey

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59 minutes ago, stevetrentwilliamson said:

hmmmm, i think we have a difference of opinion right there. But that's okay. You have your way, I have mine. 

No we don't, :)  we have a difference of reality, this the point of what I am trying to say about reality. In your "normal day to day reality", like a lot of society's reality, you believe he failed and ruined his life. Thats your perception stemming from your belief and fears, which is your reality. Its all perception, no right no wrong, just a stream of consciousness based on your perception of good and bad, wright and wrong.

 

My mother had dementia, its very distressful for the family of the sufferer, not necessarily for the person experiencing it, once they get past the moments of lucidity before going completely bonkers. So long as she felt safe, she was happy as Larry. It was myself and my family who thought it was terrible, once we had come to terms with it, and accepted it was not going to change, it was sometimes very humerus.

 

I remember one evening we had been watching a program on France, when it was time for her to go to bed, she thanked me for the lovely day trip to France she had been on. She would occasionally have conversations with her mother who passed about 20 years

earlier. Was she really having those conversations with her mother, society would say its not probable, to her it was real because it was what she was experiencing, whether any one else could or not and that made her happy.

Edited by Shadey

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4 minutes ago, stevetrentwilliamson said:

so sorry to hear about your mother, man. What happened is truly saddening.

Thanks, but no need to feel sad or sorry,  she was happy in her reality:) and I learned some very positive things from it, win win.

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What is it, that you want from your life?

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The trouble is society says, happiness comes with certain things, money, hot hot girl friends, a successful business, I know lots of people who have and have had those things and they were not happy, some were down right miserable. Some were so miserable they ended that life.

Happiness or anxiety is a state of mind derived from experiences of a personal reality that creates those emotions, 

  You said "individuals who are already predisposed to develop mental conditions are more likely to consume psychedelics in the first place".

I would say "individuals who are unhappy will be predisposed to develop mental conditions and are more likely to consume psychedelics and other drugs, including lots of sugar, in the first place.

And so ends my rambling for the night :huh:

Edited by Shadey

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Hey, that's really interesting. I never thought about it in that way. And yes i do agree, people who are unhappy would be predisposed to develop mental conditions and more likely to consume psychedelics in the first place. In a way, it all comes down to the unbearable sadness of existence that none of us can really escape from. 

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Hi Steve I am glad you came back, and I am glad you are thinking about it in a different way as well, I thought I may have upset you or made you feel uncomfortable, with the conversation we were having, which was not my intention. I just wanted you to see things from a different angle, than how you presented them earlier in this thread. I was not criticizing your beliefs/thoughts, as you said we are all different, It was more observing and pointing out possible limitations in your thinking of reality, which headed off on a different tangent. As you have similar interests in Psychology and Philosophy, I would like to carry on our discussion but please don't feel obliged if you dont want or have time to :) 

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@stevetrentwilliamson  So what do you think, if someone likes to use a drug, and enjoys doing it so much, they manage to place themselves in a position, where they dont need the drug any longer to maintain their happiness permanently, have they ruined their life as they see it not as society sees it. Theres no right or wrong answer, I just want to know how other people look at it.

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