As psychedelics are being embraced as a potential treatment for mental health conditions, new research suggests that mind-altering substances like 'magic' mushrooms leave people feeling positive and socially connected hours after the high wears off.
The study by Yale University, surveying 1,200 Brits and Americans at six music festivals, provided evidence to support lab-based research that psychedelic drugs can boost wellbeing.
Between 2015 and 2017, teams of researchers set up "Play Games for Science" booths in busy areas at their selected festivals between 10 AM and 1 PM, encouraging people to come and speak to them. Participants spent 15 minutes filling out surveys on their use of psychoactive substances, as well as age, gender, level of religiousness, political orientation and level of education.
Each person was asked whether they'd had a transformative experience at the festival defined as "an experience that changes you so profoundly that you come out of the experience radically different than you were before the experience" and, if so, whether they enjoyed it.
Most of the participants were moderately liberal 30-year-olds who had attended four-year colleges. Some 80% of them drank alcohol at the festival, 50% used cannabis, and 26.6% used psychedelics. (Only 12.3% of festival goers reported taking zero substances.) Researchers only approached people who weren't noticeably drunk, and they put a question into their survey that functioned as a sobriety check, ruling out participants that were too drunk to answer correctly.
The researchers, led by neuroscientist Molly Crockett, found that the results were strongest in people who'd taken the drugs in the last 24 hours, though most seemed to be experiencing an "after glow" hours after the effects of the drugs should have worn off. They found people who'd taken psychedelics were more likely to feel positive, and some even experienced a shift in their moral values.
Crockett's team could not verify which drug each person was taking, how much of it, and whether it was mixed with other substances. But even their general findings were useful, echoing results in previous controlled laboratory studies that found psychedelics make us feel socially connected.
Crucially, they wanted to understand whether participants' expectations affected their 'high'. People taking psychedelics may have wanted or intended to have a transformative experience, Crockett told Insider, and the fact that attending an event might be a transformative experience even without psychedelics.
"We found that psychedelic use is associated with transformative experience over and above expecting and desiring such experiences," Crockett told Insider.
The study did not look at negative reactions beyond asking participants if their transformative experience had been positive or negative.
In the 1950s and 60s, psychedelic properties such as psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) were the subject of many scientific studies, but they fell out of favor as the drugs became associated with debauchery and hedonism.
Recently there's been a resurgence of scientific interest in the benefits of psilocybin. In 2018, researchers at John Hopkins, America's oldest research university,urged the federal government to legalize psilocybin.
Last year Johns Hopkins launched a center solely dedicated to psychedelics research. This came after a number of studies which looked at the effect psychedelics had on depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder.
"Something with more immediate effects has a huge benefit as a tool in the therapeutic toolbox," Matthew Johnson, PhD, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, who authored his own psilocybin study, previously told Insider.
However, most research on the possible medical benefits of psychedelics takes place in a sterile lab environment, Crockett told Insider. It means scientists still don't have enough evidence to confirm if people will react to psychedelics in the real world the same way they would in a lab.
That's why Crockett led a group of researchers in visiting a bunch of music festivals, where psychedelics are often used to augment the musical experience, to find out what effect psychedelics might have in a natural setting.
"There is still a lot we don't understand about how psychedelics affect the brain and mind," Crockett told Insider. We need more research on how psychedelics "can be used to reduce suffering and enhance wellbeing, and how to minimize risks and potential negative effects associated with their use."
Researchers think magic mushrooms could have the potential to treat depression
A psychedelics expert says magic mushrooms will be approved for depression by 2027 here's why
Why psychedelics like magic mushrooms appear to kill the ego and fundamentally transform the brain
Read this article:
- Key Insights from PSYCH: The Psychedelics as Medicine Report - Prohibition Partners - March 18th, 2020
- Cannabis Countdown: Top 10 Marijuana And Psychedelic Stock News Stories Of The Week - Benzinga - March 18th, 2020
- With No Progress in Therapy, NYC Couple Turns to Psychedelics for Help - NBC New York - March 13th, 2020
- Upscale Psychedelics Therapy Center Opens On New Yorks 5th Avenue - Forbes - March 13th, 2020
- Why Kevin O'Leary is betting on psychedelics - Wealth Professional - March 13th, 2020
- Learning the hard way that psychedelic drug use can have long-term consequences - Dailyuw - March 13th, 2020
- Forget taking a pill a day. Canada is using psychedelics to revolutionize the way we treat mental health and addiction - The GrowthOp - March 13th, 2020
- High Stakes: Will The Legalization Of Psychedelics Mimic That Of Cannabis? Will It Learn From Its Mistakes? - Benzinga - March 13th, 2020
- Scientists Just Proved These Two Brain Networks Are Key to Consciousness - Singularity Hub - March 13th, 2020
- Cannabis Countdown: Top 10 Marijuana Stock News Stories Of The Week - MarketWatch - March 13th, 2020
- Podcast Host Joe Rogan Is Steadily Documenting A Psychedelic Record Of The 21st Century - Forbes - February 27th, 2020
- Empower Clinics to create psilocybin and psychadelics division leveraging corporate wellness and franchise clinic network - Proactive Investors USA... - February 27th, 2020
- The Psilocybin Movement Is Like The Cannabis Movement (Except When It's Not) - Benzinga - February 27th, 2020
- Psychedelics and Their 'Mystical Effects' in the Real World - Medscape - January 22nd, 2020
- Psychedelic Events Are Going Mainstream, Where The Much-Maligned Mushroom Industry Focuses On Mental Health - Forbes - January 18th, 2020
- Psychedelics have 'extraordinarily potent' anti-inflammatory power. Is there a place for them in mainstream medicine? - Genetic Literacy Project - January 18th, 2020
- Silicon Valley Is Micro-Dosing Magic Mushrooms To Boost Their Careers - Forbes - January 18th, 2020
- NYC To Host Economics Of Psychedelics Investing Summit - Benzinga - January 18th, 2020
- The Best FREE Things to Do for the Next Week - My New Orleans - January 18th, 2020
- Photos of the Stuff That Fascinates People While They're Tripping On LSD - VICE - January 18th, 2020
- Rats on DMT hint at the benefits of psychedelic microdosing - Inverse - December 31st, 2019
- BEYOND LOCAL: Would you ever consider psychedelics to treat PTSD? - SooToday.com - December 31st, 2019
- A Trailblazer of Global Consciousness: Ram Dass Led the Way - Psychology Today - December 31st, 2019
- The Psychedelic Renaissance and the importance of drug policy reform - Open Access Government - December 13th, 2019
- Magic Mushrooms Move Closer to Mainstream Medicine As VC-Backed Compass Touts Safety, Positive Mood Alteration - Karma - December 13th, 2019
- Miami Clinics Use Ketamine IV Therapy to Help Treat Depression and PTSD - Miami New Times - December 13th, 2019
- Andy Frasco Talks Finding Emotional Balance With Psychedelics On 'Psychedelics Today' Podcast [Listen] - Live for Live Music - November 30th, 2019
- Will psychedelics be available commonly in the near future? - BPhrm Dv - November 30th, 2019
- Letters to the Editor: Psychedelics on their way - Valley Advocate - November 30th, 2019
- Scientists Have a Fascinating New Map of the Human Brain on DMT - VICE - November 30th, 2019
- Hes a fungi: U.S. health agency asks researcher to give it the lowdown on psilocybin mushrooms - The GrowthOp - November 30th, 2019
- A Magic Mushroom Test Case, and the Man Behind It - OZY - November 30th, 2019
- The Two Black Women Helping To Reclaim & Encourage Natural Psychedelics Use In Oakland - Okayplayer - November 2nd, 2019
- Molecule Catalyst and UTM to crowdfund psychedelics research with blockchain - Decrypt - November 2nd, 2019
- On writing: What illuminates a story? - Big Think - November 2nd, 2019
- The future of psychedelic science - Varsity - October 20th, 2019
- Psychedelic Drugs: Researchers experimenting with active agent in magic mushrooms to treat addiction, depression and anxiety - 60 Minutes - CBS News - October 17th, 2019
- Investors hope psychedelics are the new cannabis. Are they high? - The Economist - October 17th, 2019
- Mind Trip: Psychedelics Fighting Depression, Anxiety, Addiction - The National Herald - October 17th, 2019
- Devon Welsh on Growing a Mustache, Psychedelics, and Other Complicated Things - Interview - October 17th, 2019
- Roland Griffiths: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know - Heavy.com - October 17th, 2019
- How Mushrooms Became Magic - The Atlantic - August 25th, 2017
- Using Mushrooms and LSD to Enhance Creativity - How to Use ... - August 20th, 2017
- LSD - Psychedelics - August 16th, 2017
- This Philosopher Thinks Psychedelic Drugs Lead to the Truth of Experience - Big Think - August 16th, 2017
- Can Psychedelics Treat Bipolar Disorder? - August 13th, 2017
- The foundation of Western philosophy is probably rooted in psychedelics - Quartz - August 13th, 2017
- Psychedelic drugs saved my life. So why aren't they prescribed? - Wired.co.uk - August 8th, 2017
- Daniel Greig, Canadian Drug Policy, Responsibilities, and Psychedelics - The Good Men Project (blog) - August 6th, 2017
- THE FUTURE OF PSYCHEDELICS: Are LSD and Mushrooms The New Prozac? - Dope Magazine - August 5th, 2017
- Gonzo Nieto, Drug Policy, Medical and Psychological Effects - The Good Men Project (blog) - August 3rd, 2017
- For children, it's beyond psychedelics - The Hans India - The Hans India - August 1st, 2017
- Modern psychedelic science is reviving lost research and finding new cures - The Plaid Zebra (blog) - August 1st, 2017
- Expanding consciousness - 48 Hills - August 1st, 2017
- What Has Awe Done for Me Lately? - HuffPost - July 31st, 2017
- New book about psychedelics and weird human experiences - Boing Boing - July 26th, 2017
- Psychedelics and Normality - HuffPost - July 26th, 2017
- Reasons to Consider Trying Psychedelics - FoxWeekly - July 25th, 2017
- Psychedelic Shine takes a trip to the skies in Boulder - Boulder Daily Camera - July 22nd, 2017
- Psychedelic drugs could tackle depression in a way that antidepressants can't - INSIDER - July 22nd, 2017
- Do You Take Drugs at Festivals? This Initiative is Working on Keeping You Safe - PoliticalCritique.org - July 20th, 2017
- Should We Reclassify Marijuana as a Hallucinogen? - Big Think - July 20th, 2017
- Countdown To (Legalized) Ecstasy! Rick Doblin, MAPS, & the Psychedelic Renaissance [Podcast] - Reason (blog) - July 20th, 2017
- Can Psychedelics Be Therapy? Allow Research to Find Out - New York Times - July 18th, 2017
- Psychiatrists Say Cannabis Medicine Has Psychedelic Properties - The Marijuana Times - July 15th, 2017
- Are psychedelics the new medical marijuana? - WTSP 10 News - July 13th, 2017
- Alameda author's new book examines psychedelic drugs' medical use - East Bay Times - July 12th, 2017
- Do Psychedelic Drugs Cause the 'Prophetic Effect'? - Breaking Israel ... - Breaking Israel News - July 11th, 2017
- Shrooms Could Be Legalized Sooner Than You Think - VICE - July 11th, 2017
- Parliament George and the Psychedelics? Mayor gets playful lesson on hipness - The Telegraph (blog) - July 8th, 2017
- About Us | Trusted News Source for Psychedelic Research ... - July 7th, 2017
- My grandfather was a death row doctor. He tested psychedelic drugs on Texas inmates. - Texas Tribune - July 5th, 2017
- Psychedelics Could Help Asia's Mental Health Care, But Stigma Remains Roadblock - TheFix.com - July 4th, 2017
- Is LSD the new coffee? - FactorDaily - July 4th, 2017
- Tune in, Turn on, Stay in School - Study Breaks - July 2nd, 2017
- The brain on DMT: mapping the psychedelic drug's effects - Wired.co.uk - July 2nd, 2017
- Cannabist Show: He's psychedelic comedian Shane Mauss - The Cannabist - July 1st, 2017
- The war on drugs is back. Will psychedelic drug research survive? - The Verge - June 29th, 2017
- Psychedelics and Virtual Reality Make a Trendy but Illegal Therapy - Inverse - June 27th, 2017
- Director Ana Lily Amirpour on Cannibalism, Psychedelics, and 'Horrifying' Racism Allegations - Jezebel - June 24th, 2017