Can Psychedelics Help Heal Racial Trauma

Can Psychedelics Help Heal Racial Trauma?

The growing number of Americans experiencing racial trauma may find solace in currently banned substances: psychedelics. That’s according to new research from some top institutes, including the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

The researchers define racial trauma as “traumatization due to distressing experiences that can include physical, or psychological threats to oneself, or witnessing such threats to another based on race or ethnicity.”

The conclusion of the study suggests a patient who has gone through a psychedelic experience may have a greater amount of “psychological flexibility.” Psychological flexibility is defined as “being in contact with the present moment, fully aware of emotions, sensations, and thoughts.” A patient’s psychological flexibility was found to correlate with a decrease in his or her symptoms of racial trauma.

The hypothesis seems to be in line with recent numerous studies highlighting the anxiety- and depression-reducing benefits of psychedelics. These experiences are triggered by psilocybin, the naturally occurring psychedelic found in various species of mushrooms and in lysergic acid diethylamide (commonly referred to as acid or LSD), a synthetic compound with psychedelic effects.

Psychedelics have the potential to fill the gap for a lack of treatments, specifically addressing trauma associated with abuse based on race or ethnicity.

the author writes

The team from Johns Hopkins was joined by researchers from Ohio State University, the University of Ottawa and the University of Connecticut. The research was conducted using data from a cross-sectional online survey consisting of 313 people of color, including Black and Indigenous participants (BIPOC). 

The research still needs to be confirmed by clinical trials before a definitive claim can be made, but the findings are consistent with research elsewhere.  

The researchers also looked into previous studies on the impact of psychedelics on anxiety and depression, and found the patients who took part in those trials were disproportionate across racial groups. An analysis of 18 controlled trials found the patients involved were 82% white, 5% mixed race, 5% Indigenous, 3% Black, 2% Asian and 2% Latina. 

The researchers noted the next step forward is putting their hypothesis to the test in clinical trials among BIPOC.

Jared Sellick is a journalist and graduate from the University of South Florida, where he majored in Political Science with a minor in Mass Communications. You can read his full bio here.

Jared Sellick is a journalist and graduate from the University of South Florida, where he majored in Political Science with a minor in Mass Communications. You can read his full bio here.

More Articles

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!