Classic psychedelics are linked to general health
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The effects of therapeutic psychedelic treatment on mood disorders are receiving significant scientific attention. Psilocybin is currently being tested in several clinical trials for the treatment of mood disorders. However, arguably, even broader health benefits of classic psychedelics may include weight, cardiovascular disease, and cancer risk.
A groundbreaking new paper just published in March looked into the presumable broader health benefit of classic psychedelics. Three years of data, on over 170 000 people provided by the National Survey on Drug Use, was recently examined by a team of researchers from the Department of Sociology of the University of Oxford. Otto Simonsson and his team were determined to review a relationship between classic psychedelics and overall health.
Classic psychedelics are a subcategory with little evidence of physiological toxicity and carry a low risk if administered in the health care context and environment.
These substances act at the 5-HT2A receptor, a receptor that belongs to the family of serotonin receptors. In mental health, the studies are on the way, and the results are impressive. Two oral doses of psilocybin reduced depression at one week, three months, and six months after completing therapy. Participants reported the depression lifting, but many also noticed that they could make healthier life choices regarding diet, exercise, smoking cessation, etc. If psilocybin reprogrammed the brain toward healthier life choices, would it translate into lower weight, lowered heart diseases, and the incidence of cancer?
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Adults included in the survey that the University of Oxford looked into were over 18 y.o. residing in the US. They reported having tried a classic psychedelic at least once in their lifetime. In the US, at least 13% of adults tried psychedelics recreationally in their lifetime at least once. Statistically, users were often white males under 65 years old, with higher income and education.
The survey showed that having tried psychedelics at least once lowered one’s chances of suicide and increased psychological well-being compared to never users when it came to mental health.
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What remained unknown until now is whether the use of psychedelics correlates with overall health. Surprisingly it does.
Otto Simonsson’s team collected data about self-reported general health, body mass index (BMI), heart disease, and cancer incidence in the past 12 months. Data on over 35 mil American adults (reporting tried psychedelics at any point in the past) concluded that the use was associated with significantly lower odds of being overweight or obese. But there is another important conclusion, respondents who had tried a classic psychedelic at least once had the trend showing a lower odds of having heart disease, cancer in the last year. That is genuinely remarkable new data considering classic psychedelics have a low risk of harm to self and others and slim addiction properties. That adds important insight to the recently uncovered evidence scientists presented in several medical publications during the last two years. Classic psychedelics may interact with the immune system and exhibit anti-inflammatory properties.
One or a few doses of classic psychedelics may produce long-lasting beneficial effects beyond mood and mental health.