April 28, 2015 – Psychedelics and Mood Disorders


Anchor lead:  Does use of psychedelic drugs case depression or other mood disorders? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Psilocybin and other hallucinogenic drugs have long been associated with the potential for causing depression or other mood disorders, but a study by Matthew Johnson and colleagues at Johns Hopkins actually shows that the contrary is found.

Johnson: What we found was the lifetime use of psychedelic substances was associated with a significant and rather large decrease in likelihood of recent psychiatric distress, suicidal thinking, suicidal planning, and suicide attempts.  This finding is interesting because there are a number of therapeutic applications being developed for psilocybin and related compounds, including the treatment of mood disorders.   :30

Johnson says the study, which looked at five years of data from a national survey on drug use and health, identified the inverse relationship between use of these non-addictive substances and mood.  While Johnson certainly isn’t advocating recreational use he does think a therapeutic use is possible.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.