Don’t Trip Over Psychedelics

by Brendan James

A fresh review of US health records by Norwegian researchers reveals yet more evidence that psychedelic drugs won’t fry your brain:

“Early speculation that psychedelics might lead to mental health problems was based on a small number of case reports and did not take into account either the widespread use of psychedelics or the not infrequent rate of mental health problems in the general population,” [researcher Teri] Krebs was quoted in a release from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. “Over the past 50 years tens of millions of people have used psychedelics and there just is not much evidence of long-term problems.”

Surely people have had bad trips. And, the researchers report, surely they have. But their population study was looking at more permanent problems; they report that the “adverse effects of psychedelics are usually short-lived; serious psychiatric symptoms following psychedelic use are typically resolved within 24 hours or at least within a few days.” And anecdotal reports of longer-term mental issues or “hallucinogen persisting perceptual disorder” they tend to reject as unsupported by further investigation, mistaking correlation for cause, or derived from small studies with suspect methodologies.