According to a recent study funded by the Research Council of Norway, alcohol could pose more of a mental health risk than the use of psychedelics. In the study of 130 000 Americans, including 19 299 psychedelics users, the researchers, failed to find a link between the long-term use of psychedelics and past year incidents of serious mental health problems, psychological distress, or physical injury.
Interestingly, the authors of the study wrote that, “in general, the use of psychedelics does not appear to be particularly dangerous when compared to other activities considered to have acceptable safety.” This supports concerns about the safety of alcohol and alcohol abuse, which is linked to mental health issues, and can exacerbate the problems that it is often used to medicate.
One of the researchers, neuroscientist Teri Krebs of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, asserted that there is no satisfactory justification for the outlawing of psychedelics in terms of public health:
“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.”
However the researchers noted that certain limitations need to be taken into account. For instance, a number of risk-factors were not available, such as family mental health history, as well as longitudinal data before the use of psychedelics. The researchers thus acknowledged that there may be certain criterion that could put some psychedelics users at a higher risk than the general population.
The researchers concluded that, “it is difficult to see how prohibition of psychedelics can be justified from a public health or human rights perspective.”
In the clip below, author and Stanford philosophy graduate Sam Harris discusses his experiences of psychedelics with Big Think.