Persisting Reductions in Cannabis, Opioid, and Stimulant Misuse After Naturalistic Psychedelic Use: An Online Survey

Albert Garcia-Romeu, Alan K. Davis, Earth Erowid, Fire Erowid, Roland R. Griffiths, Matthew W. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Observational data and preliminary studies suggest serotonin 2A agonist psychedelics may hold potential in treating a variety of substance use disorders (SUDs), including opioid use disorder (OUD). Aims: The study aim was to describe and analyze self-reported cases in which naturalistic psychedelic use was followed by cessation or reduction in other substance use. Methods: An anonymous online survey of individuals reporting cessation or reduction in cannabis, opioid, or stimulant use following psychedelic use in non-clinical settings. Results: Four hundred forty-four respondents, mostly in the USA (67%) completed the survey. Participants reported 4.5 years of problematic substance use on average before the psychedelic experience to which they attributed a reduction in drug consumption, with 79% meeting retrospective criteria for severe SUD. Most reported taking a moderate or high dose of LSD (43%) or psilocybin-containing mushrooms (29%), followed by significant reduction in drug consumption. Before the psychedelic experience 96% met SUD criteria, whereas only 27% met SUD criteria afterward. Participants rated their psychedelic experience as highly meaningful and insightful, with 28% endorsing psychedelic-associated changes in life priorities or values as facilitating reduced substance misuse. Greater psychedelic dose, insight, mystical-type effects, and personal meaning of experiences were associated with greater reduction in drug consumption. Conclusions: While these cross-sectional and self-report methods cannot determine whether psychedelics caused changes in drug use, results suggest the potential that psychedelics cause reductions in problematic substance use, and support additional clinical research on psychedelic-assisted treatment for SUD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number955
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Volume10
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 22 2020

Keywords

  • addiction
  • cannabis
  • hallucinogens
  • lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
  • opioid
  • psilocybin
  • psychedelics
  • stimulant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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