Psychedelics could help show us the way out of addiction

Psychedelics could help show us the way out of addiction

When Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was formed,  “steps” were created.  The step of “seeking a higher-power” was born out of the founder’s mind-expansive experiences with LSD.

This article, written by Sarah Sloat, describes psychedelic research done by Matthew Johnson, PhD  of John’s Hopkins Medicine. His research, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, looked at the the role of psychedelics in the treatment of addiction.

Johnson, the Erowid Center and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) collaborated to collect data.  They collected data through anonymous online surveys on 343 participants. The participants were mostly white, American males who reported at least seven years of alcohol abuse before having a psychedelic experience.

Of the 343 participants, 72% met criteria for alcohol use disorder.  74% reported they had used psychedelics in the past. Out of those who took psychedelics, 62% were looking for a spiritual experience or wanted to explore their mind-state. Only 10% of this group took the drugs to quit drinking. However, most of the participants did experience a change in their drinking habits after taking the psychedelics.

Sloat’s article explains that “the survey results showed a dramatic change in the number of alcoholic drinks people consumed before taking a “moderate or high dose” of either LSD or psilocybin and the number of drinks they were consuming a year later.”  After their psychedelic experience, 83% of the participants no longer met the criteria for alcohol abuse.  Of note, 28% of the participants reported that their psychedelic experience was the reason they decided to make a life-change.

How may psychedelics help with addiction?  

“It’s the nature of the psychedelic experience that predicts long-term success when it comes to addiction, says Johnson. Psychedelic drugs, he explains, have effects that are more similar to psychotherapy than to traditional medications for combatting alcohol addiction. In other words, while psychedelics do actively interact with the brain, their benefits manifest in the experiences a person has after consumption.”

 “When you talk to someone who has managed to overcome addiction, they often talk about who they had to answer big picture questions that connect to what’s important in life,” Johnson says. “Psychedelics prompt those kinds of questions. Even though we have a lot more to explore, I think it’s likely that its the intense nature of the drug’s psychological experience that’s underlying its high success rates…There’s incredible potential here… So far, it’s a good bet that these tools will be broadly applicable to a number of disorders.” 

(Read the whole article by Sarah Sloat for more!)

Although a different drug, IV Ketamine also works for those seeking this type of help to beat addictions – and it’s already being legally given in safe, medically controlled environments – Altasano is one of them.   Expand your mind and be well everyone!