When you think of the psychedelic drug mescaline, you probably think of people having a wild trip just for fun. However, it appears doing this drug may have mental health benefits. A study recently published in the journal ACS Pharmacology & Translational Science found doing mescaline could help reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety and more.
Researchers recruited 452 adults from around the world to participate and had them complete a questionnaire and mental health survey over the internet. All participants said that they had done mescaline at least once in their life.
The researchers found a majority of those who reported having experienced mental health issues like anxiety, depression and PTSD felt trying mescaline had helped improve their mental health conditions. The best outcome — with 86 percent reporting an improvement in symptoms — was experienced by those with depression.
Gabrielle Agin-Liebes, a clinical psychologist researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, and one of the study’s authors, tells The News Station she found it very interesting how many people reported that mescaline had helped their mental health conditions improve.
“While the rigor and implications of these data are limited by several study design characteristics, such as the absence of a control group and possible participant self-selection biases, these findings are exciting,” Agin-Liebes says. “They suggest that mescaline holds meaningful potential as an aid in psychotherapy, psychiatric medicine, and personal/psychospiritual development.”
Agin-Liebes says she doesn’t ever see mescaline being prescribed to people at a pharmacy, but it could potentially be used in a supervised setting with a trained mental health specialist guiding the person’s experience. She says the fact that a mescaline trip typically lasts significantly longer than a trip you might experience with another psychedelic such as psilocybin, might “enable a greater therapeutic window and opportunity for shifting entrenched psychological patterns.”
Evan Wood, chief medical officer at a psychedelic medicine startup in Canada called Numinus, tells The News Station he found this study to be quite interesting.
“While further research is required, these findings suggest that the psychedelic experience may be associated with positive benefits beyond what is observed in studies that have specifically looked at clinical conditions like depression,” Wood says. “The study is also consistent with findings from earlier work that has demonstrated an association between the depth of the psychedelic experience and positive outcomes.”
Wood says he wants to see psychedelics like mescaline studied more so we can better understand the health benefits they may offer. It’s clear that these types of drugs are good for a lot more than just having a fun time.