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Study Finds Psychedelic Users Lower Cocaine, Alcohol Intake

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Recent research published in the “International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction” has indicated that psychedelic use may result in reduced cocaine intake. The study found that while psychedelic users reported either reducing or completely stopping their intake of cocaine, antidepressants and alcohol, their use of tobacco and cannabis products went up.

As psychedelics have been illegal at the state and federal levels for the past several decades, their use has been limited to a small niche community of psychonauts. However, a recent surge in psychedelic research revealed that hallucinogens have the potential to treat a myriad of mental-health disorders and caused public interest in psychedelics to surge.

The growing body of literature indicates that psychedelics such as psilocybin, LSD and ayahuasca may be able to offer long-term relief against mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and treatment-resistant depression with barely any adverse side effects. Furthermore, several indigenous communities from around the world have a long and rich history of using psychedelics in spiritual, cultural, and religious rituals. As this information has come to light, more people have begun using psychedelics either recreationally or for therapeutic purposes.

A June study from Colu found that past-year use of non-LSD psychedelic use among young adults in the United States aged 19 to 30 years old doubled from 2018-–2021. This surge in psychedelic use seems to have varying impacts on how Americans use other types of drugs. Study author Kevin F. Boehnke and his team used data from the Canadian Psychedelic Survey, a survey designed to collect data on the use of 11 psychedelic substances among adults aged 19 years and older, to study psychedelic-use patterns and how those patterns affect the use of other psychoactive drugs.

The research team theorized that psychedelic use would result in reduced tobacco and alcohol intake.

Researchers found that 44% of people decreased their alcohol use or stopped drinking after they started using psychedelics, 43% decreased antidepressant use or stopped using them altogether, and 43% reduced or stopped using cocaine. However, 14% of the study participants reported starting or increasing their use of other drugs, 11% increased their cannabis use, 9% consumed more tobacco, and 4% said they began using methamphetamine. Interestingly, participants who reported using less psychoactive substances after psychedelics tended to be younger.

Participants who were using psychedelics for therapeutic purposes were much more likely to report reducing the use of other drugs, with psilocybin (magic mushrooms) being especially influential in inducing reduced drug use in 58% of the participants.

When startups such as Mind Medicine Inc. (NASDAQ: MNMD) (NEO: MMED) (DE: MMQ) finally have their psychedelic formulations approved by the FDA and other regulators, patients will have psychedelic treatments whose safety profile and drug interactions are known. This could reduce the risks associated with taking multiple substances without knowing the potential risks of such combinations.

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