The use of psychedelics in the treatment of conditions such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression has been a topic of interest for many researchers but still remains a field rather unexplored because of the stigma around it. Nevertheless, the field holds a tremendous potential that is waiting for further research to be done.
Recently, a group of researchers examined a group of individual's personal, emotional, and environmental circumstances, and how those affected their experiences after using psychedelics.
The research was conducted with 1,967 psychedelic users from online forums. Each completed an extensive questionnaire about their drug use, subjective well-being, personality, and other factors. The participants would also state the setting they used the substance in and the mood they were in when they decided to use it. And of course, subjective outcomes were questioned too.
As a result, 1,324 participants were classified as having normal well-being while 643 participants had low-being.
In an interview with PysPost, author Natasha L. Mason said, “The main takeaway from our study was the finding that individuals with clinical characteristics (low well-being and higher scores in certain personality traits) report consuming psychedelics with positive outcomes.”
This meant that recreational users who used psychedelic drugs with low well-being were more likely to experience a positive mood change after taking LSD, psilocybin, or MDMA. Moreover, they found that nearly all of the individuals who took a psychedelic when in a negative mood reported mood change afterwards.
Mason explains this by saying, “This is important because psychedelics are being investigated in individuals characterized with low mood (like depression), thus it suggests that they are still a therapeutic option, and importantly, when preparing an individual for a psychedelic experience, clinicians should focus on other set factors (for example, like preparedness and readiness for the experience, as has been suggested in other studies).”
In addition, the researchers found that high neuroticism scores were linked with experiencing unwanted side effects. This means that screening individuals on personality traits before entering clinical trials holds importance too.
While the research has certain shortcomings such as not reaching enough people and the possibility of participants not being reliable narrators, the researchers still hope that their study can provide data that for other scientists to reference when doing more controlled experimental trials.
The paper has been published in Sage Journals.