Hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD and magic mushrooms could help to improve wellbeing, increase optimism and happiness and also reduce incidents of domestic abuse two new studies have revealed.
The first study, published in the journal Psychological Medicine, was carried out by researchers at Imperial College London and looked at the experiences of 20 volunteers who each too a 75-microgram dose of LSD, either through a drip or intravenously, or a placebo.
The test group was then asked to carry out a number of tasks. The investigators found that the group on LSD had a heightened mood and increased level of optimism.
In response to the findings Dr David Nutt, a researcher who worked on the project, called on the UK government to ease the censorship and restrictions on studying the effects of illicit drugs. He said: “Understanding more about the physiological effects of LSD will help us shed light on potential medical interventions as well as help us learn more about consciousness.
“By researching how psychedelics work, we will be a step closer to understanding how specific areas of the brain are affected to induce certain psychological effects.”
A second study, carried out by researchers at the University of British Columbia and the University of Alabama, tracked the experience of 302 men in the criminal justice system. Of the 56% of participants who had used hallucinogenic drugs, only 27% were arrested for domestic abuse, whereas among those who hadn't taken psychedelics, the level was 42%.
Peter S Hendricks, from University of Alabama, said: “A body of evidence suggests that substances such as psilocybin may have a range of clinical indications.
"Although we are attempting to better understand how or why these substances may be beneficial, one explanation is that they can transform people's lives by providing profoundly meaningful spiritual experiences that highlight what matters most.”