Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hallucinogens and happiness

Although hallucinogenic drugs can have harmful effects there is evidence that controlled administration of them in supportive settings can be helpful. Researchers from Bristol University and Imperial College London carried out an internet survey on the positive and negative aspects of these drugs and received over 600 responses. They found that people reported less harm from LSD and psilocybin (magic mushrooms) than other drugs such as MDMA (ecstasy), cannabis, ketamine and alcohol. A wide range of benefits was reported including help with mood disorders, addictions and migraine. Some people - particularly those using LSD - reported ongoing hallucinations but few regarded them as troubling. 81% of users reported having had a spiritual experience while using a hallucinogenic drug and over 90% considered 'access to the unconscious mind' to be a specific property of LSD and psilocybin.

Carhart-Harris, R.L. and Nutt, D.J. - User perceptions of the benefits and harms of hallucinogenic drug use: a web-based questionnaire study Journal of Substance Use, August 2010, 15(4), 283-300

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