Psychedelic drugs could reduce the risk of suicide – Metro

Posted: May 2, 2017 at 11:13 pm

MDMA is consumed primarily for its euphoric and empathogenic effects (Picture: Getty)

New research suggests that psychedelics could be used to lower the risk of suicide.

Psychedelics could be used in treatment for a range of mental illnesses; including depression, PTSD and anxiety according to information presented at the Psychedelic Science conference in California last week.

Substances such as MDMA are being examined as potential remedies for conditions such as PTSD, with an FDA-approved trial taking place later this summer.

Elena Argento, a researcher for the BC Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDs, claims psychedelics could play a significant role in decreasing the risk of suicide in vulnerable groups such as female sex workers.

Ayahuasca, a psychedelic brew made from plants found in South America, shows potential therapeutic qualities.

Argentos research is based on a four-year evaluation on sex workers access to health care conducted by AESHA which included 800 female sex workers in Vancouver.

Participants were asked about their drug use and mental health, including whether they had felt suicidal in the last six months.

Some of the women were excluded on the basis that they were feeling suicide at the time of the initial interview in order to establish a reliable measure of how psychedelics affect new periods of suicidality.

The researcher found that sex workers who had taken a psychedelic at some point in their life was linked to a 60% reduced risk of suicidal tendencies.

While crystal meth use and abuse during childhood remained a predictor of suicidal tendencies.

It should be noted that Argentos study was observational and it wasnt conducted under lab conditions.

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Previous studies have suggested that LSD has proved effective in treating depression and anxiety, though research into LSD as a potential treatment for mental illness have had their progress stunted by Americas so-called war on drugs.

Argento told the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies conference that the next step in her research could be to decipher if specific types of psychedelic or frequency used make a difference to the subjects state of mind.

She said: We didnt separate out looking just at LSD or psilocybin, for example, although thats something we could look at in the future.

There are plans at the BC Center for Excellence to start doing some trials with psychedelics.

Potentially some of the sex workers from AESHA will have the opportunity to be enrolled in these trials of using psychedelics for various mental health issues.

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Psychedelic drugs could reduce the risk of suicide - Metro

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