Confirmed by Yale: Consuming Psychedelics Improves Mood

    Enhancing feelings of social connection and mental well-being for those who take them

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    Those who have recently used psychedelic substances perceive a sustained improvement in their mood and feel closer to others, even after the effects of the drug have worn off, according to a study published in the journal PNAS.

    Previous research has shown that psychedelics enhance feelings of social connection and mental well-being for those who take them. In fact, psychedelic substances such as ketamine or psilocybin -synthesized from natural hallucinogenic mushrooms- are often administered to patients with trauma, depression, anxiety or addictions (to alcohol or cocaine).

    The objective of the research was to confirm the benefit of using these drugs and, for this, the scientists carried out a field study with 1,200 people who attended multi-day music and art festivals in the United States and the United Kingdom.

    Results confirmed positively

    “Our results show that people who take psychedelics ‘in the wild’ report positive experiences very similar to those seen in controlled laboratory studies,” explains Matthias Forstmann, a postdoctoral researcher at Yale University and first author of the paper.

    To do the study, lead author and Yale psychology professor Molly Crockett and her team visited half a dozen festivals and asked attendees who were not then under the influence of psychedelics about their recent social experiences, their state of mood and substance use.

    Transformative experiences

    The team found that people who had recently taken psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin – more commonly known as magic mushrooms – had such profound “transformative experiences” that they came away from the test radically changed, including in their moral values.

    The transformative experiences, in turn, were associated with feelings of social connection and positive mood, with the most pronounced effects being reported by those who had taken psychedelics in the past 24 hours.

    By contrast, people who did not use these substances, alcohol, or other drugs such as cocaine or opiates did not report transformative experiences, increased connectedness with others, or positive mood to the same degree, according to the study.

    The study’s findings suggest that psychedelics may have potential as a therapy for mood disorders. “We are encouraged that our study is consistent with previous laboratory findings showing mood benefits of psychedelics in healthy people and in patients suffering from anxiety and depression,” concludes the Yale professor.

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