Drug Policy

LSD, Other Psychedelics Don't Drive You Crazy, New Research Says


Read it and weep, creators of crappy old black and white propaganda short films about the mad, mad dangers of psychedelic drugs, from Science Newsline:

The use of LSD, magic mushrooms, or peyote does not increase a person's risk of developing mental health problems, according to an analysis of information from more than 130,000 randomly chosen people, including 22,000 people who had used psychedelics at least once.

Researcher Teri Krebs and clinical psychologist Pål-Ørjan Johansen, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's (NTNU) Department of Neuroscience, used data from a US national health survey to see what association there was, if any, between psychedelic drug use and mental health problems.

The authors found no link between the use of psychedelic drugs and a range of mental health problems. Instead they found some significant associations between the use of psychedelic drugs and fewer mental health problems.

The results are published in the 19 August edition of journal PLOS ONE and are freely available online.

The researchers relied on data from the 2001-2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in which participants were asked about mental health treatment and symptoms of a variety of mental health conditions over the past year. The specific symptoms examined were general psychological distress, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and psychosis….

"After adjusting for other risk factors, lifetime use of LSD, psilocybin, mescaline or peyote, or past year use of LSD was not associated with a higher rate of mental health problems or receiving mental health treatment," says Johansen.

Not just not bad,  but maybe even good (beyond the individual's own decision that they did or didn't value the experience, something this sort of science can't really capture, but of vital importance):

The researchers found that lifetime use of psilocybin or mescaline and past year use of LSD were associated with lower rates of serious psychological distress. Lifetime use of LSD was also significantly associated with a lower rate of outpatient mental health treatment and psychiatric medicine prescription….

….."recent clinical trials have also failed to find any evidence of any lasting harmful effects of psychedelics," the researchers said, which supports the robustness of thePLOS ONE findings.

"Early speculation that psychedelics might lead to mental health problems was based on a small number of case reports and did not take into account either the widespread use of psychedelics or the not infrequent rate of mental health problems in the general population," Krebs explains.

"Over the past 50 years tens of millions of people have used psychedelics and there just is not much evidence of long-term problems," she concludes.

The full study.

Reason on psychedelic research.

Many in the field like to blame Dr. Timothy Leary for pushing back the cause of real science and psychedelics; I don't believe it, and here is my review of a decent Leary biography from 2007.

It is the government's choice to make them illegal that stymies serious, extended, multi-faceted research into what these things can do, and how, and why, and it was a bad choice.

NEXT: Gov. Walker Says Rand Paul and Chris Christie Are Hurting the GOP and the Country

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  1. No alt-text. Picture left you speechless, huh?

    1. I want to know where it came from. That is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time. Nekkid wimminz and drug hysteria, it’s a combination you can’t beat!

      1. [preface with self-righteous tut-tutting about the decline of morals, with gratuitous Bible passage]

        [200 pp of smut]

        Those things are collectors’ items now.

        1. Some of the most graphic and disgusting sexual related stuff I ever read was in some of the Christian propaganda that was pushed onto me in my youth. Do parents bother to read that stuff before they give it to their kids?

          1. Starting with the B-I-B-L-E, right?

        2. I had an English prof in college who, in addition to making us read the Western canon, would give us handouts from her research on captivity narratives as entertainment in pre-Revolutionary America. Pubescent girl kidnapped and savaged by natives or Protestant orphan sexually abused by nuns/priests at the convent were the two biggest ones. Although there was also a decent undercurrent of “good girl makes bad choice, ends up sex slave before escaping to write this morality tale”.

      2. Nekkid wimminz and drug hysteria

        It’s a dream topic for angry feministas.

        ‘Now my boyfriend is out all of the time having LSD orgies with naked women! And it’s all the fault of that Anarchist Nazi site, Reason.com. Ban them!’

        1. They let their boyfriends out?
          They have boyfriends in the first place?

          1. They have boyfriends in the first place?

            Yes, their imaginary boyfriends that they write about on Jezebel.

            1. It’s tough when they break up with their imaginary boyfriends. They can’t handle the rejection and turn into imaginary stalkers.

              1. But they’re not eating imagninary ice cream by gallon to sooth the pain.

    2. No alt-text. Picture left you speechless, huh?

      Back when women were women. *sigh*

  2. “Early speculation that psychedelics might lead to mental health problems was based on a small number of case reports and did not take into account either the widespread use of psychedelics or the not infrequent rate of mental health problems in the general population,”

    Shorter version: “Oh yeah. They made that shit up.”

  3. But, Helter Skelter! Don’t you all know that Manson was a totally normal dude, and then, LSD!

    ALL ILLEGAL DRUGS ARE BAD!!! Why do you think they are illegal!

    Stop this madness, for the children!

    I did some of the psychedelics a few times back in the 70s-80s, and I still turned out pretty normal I guess. Well, as normal as you can be and be a software engineer I guess. I’ve never really found a drug that I like, except for alcohol and the benzodiazepines, which I won’t touch because they are dangerously addictive. So, it’s just the beer for me.

    I wonder if I can be arrested for admitting to that on the intertoobs?

    1. The SWAT team will arrive between 2 and 3 AM.

      I suggest you not make any furtive movements.

      1. Oh, yeah, and hide your dog.

        1. I don’t have a dog, so I guess they are going to go extra tuff on me for denying them some fun.

          1. They will bring a dog from the shelter, put it in your living room and then shoot it.

    2. Then there’s the fact that his followers can’t ever recall Manson ever actually dropping acid. It’s likely he was a stone-cold sober psychopath.

      1. This is likely. Manson was a manipulator. He used drugs to manipulate. Doubtful he used them much himself.

        1. LSD makes the user much more susceptible to suggestion.

          So it wouldn’t surprise me if Manson fed it to his followers but didn’t use it himself.

          1. “LSD makes the user much more susceptible to suggestion.”

            That was not my experience at all. Can you back that claim up?

    3. I wonder if I can be arrested for admitting to that on the intertoobs?

      Doubtful. But you could be denied a security clearance or a CCW permit.

      1. I won’t work for the government, or for any job that requires that, and I live in MD, so I guess it’s status quo for the time being.

    4. I’m just going to leave this right here.

      1. Are you the dude from the story?

        If so, do you see any alt-text?

    1. Sarc, that woman in the graphic, has way too much T&A for you. So if anyone’s going to be having an orgy with her, I guess it has to be me.

      1. There’s nothing wrong with T&A.

        1. I am glad you are coming over to the dark side, of men who like women who look like… women.

          1. Women with small titties look like women… with small titties.

  4. Isn’t there some small research but fairly compelling research that LSD can do wonders for people with PTSD?

    1. Dont know, seems reasonable.

      However, small but compelling research on LSD helping with alcoholism exists.

      1. It showed a lot of promise as a psychiatric drug. Sadly the government banned all of the research into it. And we ended up with drugs like lithium instead that produce horrible side effects are not that effective in many cases.

        1. There is some. I think MDMA has even more potential.

    2. I’m not sure about LSD, but there was some positive research regarding MDMA (ecstasy) and PTSD before it was banned.

      1. Shrooms, Acid and X have all had studies done on them, and they all have promising outlooks as medications for various disorders.

    3. I think it’s psilocybin that has been found to be good for the enduring trauma of veterans.

    4. Psychedelics basically open the door to reprogramming your wetware. No mystery that should be useful for some mental issues.

    5. I’m no doctor, but I would caution against LSD for PTSD.

      Ecstasy, maybe, but not LSD.

      LSD could likely lead to some pretty dark corridors if the user were to contemplate the causes of his PTSD.

  5. There is still much speculation although little research into whether use of hallucinogenics can increase the risk or hasten the onset schizophrenia among people predisposed towards that condition.

    Peter Green and Danny Kirwan from the original Fleetwood Mac are the classic examples. Both did lots of psychedelic drugs in their late teens / early 20’s – including a lot at an infamous party in Germany. Both suffered from serious schizophrenia by their mid-20’s.

    1. See also, Barrett, Sid. If you see the pictures of Barrett in say 1966 and contrast them to the pictures of him in 1967, something really bad happened to the guy. “Now there’s a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky” is one of the more accurate descriptive lyrics in rock history. Maybe he would have gone mad without the drugs. But he clearly did a lot of drugs and went completely insane.

      1. I knew a guy who claimed to have taken what amounted to about a hundred times the normal dose of LSD, and he was definitely brain damaged.

        1. He wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed just prior to taking it.

        2. Wait, excessive amounts of drugs can hurt you?

          You don’t say.

      2. I can see how uncontrolled use could potentially exacerbate some underlying pathology. Just because a little is therapeutic doesn’t mean a lot is more therapeutic. But schizophrenia is not a really well understood issue. I don’t think the psychedelics cause it, though. I think your brain just ain’t right.

        1. Uncontrolled use by someone who has problems to begin with ends badly. There were other people who did tons of LSD and didn’t turn out like Barrett.

        2. I had a friend who was… fragile. He tripped one time too many, and the last time I saw him, he was borderline schizophrenic.

          But for those who are okay, it can be a great thing. For myself, I’ve thought about doing sub-threshold doses to enhance creativity.

      3. Syd was also taking large quantities of just any drug offered to him, not just psychedelics. Syd in particular loved quaaludes & since he was a rockstar in the UK he was being given most of the drugs for free.

    2. That’s why studies with some statistical basis are more useful that anecdotes.

      For every Peter Green or Sid Barrett, there’s probably a tech titan who did psychedelics (I mean, c’mon, Bay Area?, ’70s and ’80s?) and managed to do just fine.

      1. “There are two major products that come from Berkeley: LSD and UNIX. We don’t believe this to be a coincidence.”
        Jeremy S. Anderson

  6. Right, drugs are harmless. Except for the addicts who die every day, the families that are destroyed, the millions of hours in lost productivity, the taxpayer funded government welfare that is handed out to addicts and their families, the kids who have a terrible home life because their parents are druggies, etc. It’s all good in Libertarian world.

    1. Are addicts better off in prison?

      Are workers more productive in prison?

      Do kids have a better home life when their parents are in prison?

    2. Can’t be addicted to psychedelics (the topic of the article, not all drugs) and in a libertarian world their would be no taxpayer funded welfare. Troll Fail.

      1. Can’t be addicted to psychedelics (the topic of the article, not all drugs) and in a libertarian world their would be no taxpayer funded welfare. Troll Fail.

        Actually, not to nitpick, but to nitpick, you can be addicted to anything. I assume you’re talking about pure chemical dependency. /pedant

        My understanding, is even drugs which have a chemical dependency (heroin), that goes away in about 48 to 72 hours, and everything after that is purely psychological.

        1. I’m addicted to water, air, and food.

    3. Right, drugs are harmless.

      Beat that strawman! Go! Go! Go!

    4. the addicts who die every day, the families that are destroyed, the millions of hours in lost productivity,

      That drug war is really working out well, isn’t it?

    5. Right, alcohol is harmless. Except for the drunks who die every day, the families that are destroyed, the millions of hours in lost productivity, the taxpayer funded government welfare that is handed out to drunks and their families, the kids who have a terrible home life because their parents are drunks, etc. It’s all good in Libertarian world.

      1. Which is why booze should be illegal too!


        1. What could possibly go wrong?

    6. the millions of hours in lost productivity

      Said as if my productivity belongs to anyone but me.

      1. That really is the ultimate statist statement isnt it.

        Its a flat out claim to ownership of us.


        1. Hey now! We’re all in this together!

    7. Hey look, a drive-by douchebag!

  7. I always took an objective view every time I tripped, knowing all that had happened was that I’d ingested this small amount of a neurotransmitter, and that nothing else external to me had changed. I think I got some net benefit from that.

  8. One of my goals post-retirement pre-dying is to trip again. I don’t dare do it while I’m still working and kind of have some…responsibilities. But after I retire. TOTALLY wanna do it again.

    It’s been ~30 years – had one bad trip ever (and that wasn’t THAT bad…just a little…intense and nervy), the rest were WONDERFUL.

    Yep – now, will we have Acid XChanges on every corner in 5-7 years, or will I still need to hit up a trusted friend of a friend, who “knows a guy…and it’s good shit”?

    1. With something like that I’d have to really trust the guy. It’s not like the Dead or Phish are still touring the country with a bevy of psychedelics following in their wake.

  9. Warty Hugeman and The Checkerboard Ladies of Planet LSD-25: A Warty Hugeman Time-Travel Adventure

    “LSD orgy!” Warty screamed as he dived into the pile of entangled limbs and swollen genitalia. He swatted away jutting penises as he pulled himself over the undulating surface, toward the upraised buttocks of a Checkerboard Lady The tangled delight of her labia reminded him of the optical art seat cloth in a Porsche 928. Warty had experiences a singular night of unsurpassed passion with a sentient Porsche 928 on the Planet of Living Fuck Cars and he was eager to relive the orgasmo-visual disorientation.

    As he pulled himself through the grunting, rutting, squirting, spurting, farting, queefing, climaxing, wilting, re-engoring and flaccid fuck pit, Warty loved the feel of skin-on-skin after so much time in the timesuit. He was still wearing it, of course. It was much too dangerous to take it off, but tuned a few nanoseconds out of phase, the acid fuckers passed right through it. Warty tried to remain alert, ready to bring the suit into phase and jump away at any sign of danger, but his turgidity was distracting has it was licked, nuzzled, caressed, grabbed, rubbed, petted and slapped as he moved toward the Checkerboard Lady.

    1. LSD was in everything on Planet LSD-25., the water, the food, the sweat and sexual fluids of every inhabitant. It was 23,246 AD and it was the height of custom planet colonization in The Milky Way. Warty had visited The Planet of Perpetual Sunrise, The Planet of No Dogshit Anywhere, The Planet of the Over-Sexualized Ape Hookers, The Planet of Aging Sideways and The Planet of Intact Males Wearing Flip-Flops so far. He skipped all the boring-sounding ones. He just marked them right out of his tour package. Warty had set the nanomachines swarming in his blood to capture the LSD molecules and parse them out slowly for a continuous light trip, instead of a full on freak out. Things and people would glimmer, but he wouldn’t start firing piconukes at giant flying penises trying to drown him in cosmic semen, like that time on Hoffman’s orbital platform.

      As he approached The Checkerboard Lady, erect and ready to plunder her intimate geometry, she turned to him.

      “Warty Hugeman, strongman out of time, man with no home, why have you come to this place?” she asked, in spectral tones.

      “I am Warty Hugeman and I am here to have sex with you,” he replied. She seemed to be growing larger and larger, he tried to shake off the effect of the hallucinogen.

    2. “It is not The Sacrament of the Holy Solvent that affects you. I am growing larger. You are a monster, Warty Hugeman, a monster stalking through time to fuck and loot all of creation. I am defending myself from you, Warty Hugeman.” She towered over him now, sinking through the stunned orgy participants until she reached solid ground. All the fucking and sucking and licking and peeing had stopped. They were all focused on the giant Checkerboard Lady and Warty Hugeman.

      “There’s no need for that, baby,” he shouted up at her. “If you don’t want to get it on, I’m not going to make you. Stay like that if you want, I like ’em on the big side anyway.”

      The Checkerboard Lady farted in reply, a thunderous sound that knocked the assembled orgyfolk to the ground. They were all laughing. It smelled like freshly mowed grass. Suddenly Warty was a child again, playing on the front porch, watching his father mow the grass. A rock kicked out for under the mower and struck Warty right above his tender eyebrow. Warty reached up and felt and old scar forming on his brow.

      “Hiow are you doing this?” he yelled up at her. She was still growing. Her smallest toe was not larger than Warty. She farted again the surround structures on the plain around them crumbled. The orgyfolk right under the blast were crushed to a paste. It smelled like the exhaust from an ancient hydrocarbon vehicle.

    3. Warty was suddenly in a memory from high school. He was running across a busy highway, following people his own age. He knew them. Friends long dead. Warty was confused and faltered. He looked up and a car was bearing down on him. On instinct he threw himself out of the way. Not fast enough. The car clipped his leg, shattering it.

      Warty snapped back to the present. He fell to the ground in agony, feeling the steel pins pushing aside bone and marrow to seat themselves in place. He groped at the small studs set into the meat of his hand. The timesuit materialized around him.

      “Stop! I wasn’t going to hurt you!” he yelled, amplified by the external speakers of the suit. He couldn’t even make out her face any longer; it was simply too far away. When she spoke, it was with the voice of an angry god.


      “SO I GUESS WERE NOT GOING TO FUCK?” he boomed back at her.

      “DIE!” she shrieked, rending the very sky apart.

      Warty vanished into the timestream, bored and intent on getting lunch.

      THE END

      1. All that and he still gets blue-balled?


  10. One thing thing to remember is that people with something going on mentally might be less likely to take it. For example I have pretty bad anxiety and I would never take a hallucinogenic drug because of it, I can’t even handle pot. This is a pretty common position among the people I’ve talked to with anxiety. I might maybe try them late in life with precautions because I would like experience it, but who knows.

    1. Rule Number One of Hallucinogens: Don’t take them around assholes.

      1. I just go a couple miles into the mountains with a chosen one or two other people and take them. Don’t have to worry about assholes.

  11. I think the worst/best part of the cover is the leering visage of James Lipton.

  12. Oh great. In another article today, Reason was trying to convince people that libertarians have some sort of philosophical core, that we’re not just conservatives who do drugs. Then you go ahead and print this….

  13. Don’t forget the story of Dock Ellis, who threw a no-hitter while on acid. Granted, he walked 8 batters and hit one, but it was still a no-hitter.

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