A recent article in Forbes discusses new research findings that point toward a shift in perception about psychedelic drugs.
The idea that psychedelics cause psychosis has a long history in urban mythology. In the 1980s, the story was that "seven hits of acid make you legally insane."
Of course, the number fluctuated through the years, but the core idea-drugs like LSD and psilocybin are dangerous to our long term mental health-remained a constant.
Now the story is changing.
Two new studies have found no link between psychedelic use and a wide suite of mental health conditions, including schizophrenia, psychosis, depression, anxiety disorders and suicide attempts.
The first, conducted by researchers from the Norwegian University of Science, made use of the copious data compiled by US National Survey of Drug Use and Health. By examining answers from 135,000 people who took the survey between 2008 and 2011, the researchers identified their core study group-the 14 percent of survey-takers who said they had used any of the three classic psychedelics (acid, mushrooms, or peyote) at some point in their lives.
Working backwards, they discovered that psychedelic-users were not at an increased risk of developing eleven key indicators of serious mental health problems.
A second study done at the University of Alabama and Johns Hopkins confirmed this finding. This study used the National Survey as core data, but examined responses from 2008 to 2012. Here too, the researchers involved also found no causal relationship between the three classic psychedelics and long-term mental health problems.
But where this second study gets even more interesting is that the researchers then inverted their line of questioning and went looking for positive mental health developments. And they found them. People who had tried LSD or psilocybin had lower lifetime rates of suicidal thoughts and attempts.