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Study reveals more people are using psychedelics to self-treat mental health

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The numbers indicate a growing movement of people unwilling to wait for LSD and psilocybin to be legalized.

The use of psychedelic drugs as an underground self-treatment for mental health conditions is on the rise, according to the world’s largest drug survey, with thousands of people turning to substances like LSD, MDMA, psilocybin and ketamine to treat psychiatric illnesses and emotional distress.

Of the 110,000 worldwide respondents to the 2020 Global Drug Survey, 6,500 (just under six percent) reported using recreational drugs as a DIY mental health treatment. These included cases of people micro-dosing alone with LSD or magic mushrooms, as well as cases where people took psychedelics under the supervision of another person in an unregulated setting. While these supervisors were most commonly reported as being friends and partners, the unregulated settings also included psychedelic retreats and so-called “traditional healing groups”.

The findings show that while health regulators around the world debate whether or not to legalise the therapeutic use of drugs like LSD, MDMA and psilocybin, demand among users is increasing. And according to Dr Monica Barratt, a professor at Australia’s RMIT University and a co-author of the study, it “may end up being filled outside of the medical setting”.

Depression, anxiety and relationship problems were the most common underlying factors leading people to self-medicate with illicit substances—but others included PTSD, bereavement and problems related to substance use. As the authors note, “people are thus using psychedelics to treat the most common mental health problems that people currently seek help for from traditional medical services.”

To Read The Rest Of This Article By Gavin Butler on Vice

Published: March 08, 2021

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