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Study Shows Psychedelics Users Had Less Stress During Pandemic Lockdowns

A study on the COVID-19 outbreak’s impact on mental health has found that users of psychedelics experienced less stress during the pandemic than those who had not used the drugs. 

Prior to the outbreak, Americans reported that 8.5 percent were depressed. The number of Americans who reported feeling depressed increased as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic. According to statistics published last year, it rose to 27.8 per cent. Professor Sandro Galea from Boston University School of Public Health said the effects of the pandemic on mental health are unprecedented.

“Depression in the general population after prior large-scale traumatic events has been observed to, at most, double,” he said after publishing research on mental health aspects of the pandemic last year.

Research also indicated that anxiety levels rose during the pandemic. There was an additional 14 percent increase in panic among U.S. residents, Canada, the U.K., Australia, Canada and Australia.

Depression and Psychedelics

Another study has demonstrated that the use of psychedelic drugs, such as psilocybin and other psychedelic drugs can help with mental conditions like depression, anxiety, or addiction. Researchers from Brazil, Spain, and Spain conducted an investigation into how psychedelic drug use has affected mental health. This study took place between April and July last year when most of the world was in lockdown to stop the spread of the virus.

Researchers conducted an online survey with 2,974 respondents. Most of the participants were from Brazil, Spain and the United States. There were 497 respondents who said that they use psychedelics regularly; 606 reported occasional usage and 1,968 claimed to have never tried them. The majority of participants in the United States and Spain were locked down during the study, though that wasn’t the case for Brazil.

Participants were asked to answer questions about how they had used psychedelic substances such as peyote and MDMA. Participants also answered questionnaires about their psychological distress, perceptions of social support, stress symptoms after trauma, and personality measures.

“Psychedelic drug users, especially regular ones, reported less psychological distress, less peritraumatic stress, and more social support,” the authors of the study wrote.

The majority of those who used psychedelics before the lockdowns had reported that it had had a substantial positive impact on how they were able to handle the stress. A third (35%) of the participants who had used psychedelics in the past said it did not have an impact on their ability for them to cope with stress. 16% said they experienced some benefits from using these drugs.

Users of psychedelic drugs also report having greater access to the outdoors and more time spent outside. People who use psychedelics regularly reported greater engagement in music, meditation and yoga, while people who don’t have psychedelics report spending more time exercising, watching TV, and looking at news related to COVID-19. 

People who used psychedelics regularly were less inclined to use suggested measures for public health, such as gloves and face masks. On personality tests, those who had used psychedelics reported higher scores on scales that measured novelty seeking, self-transcendence, as well as cooperativeness.

Are you looking for correlation?

Another consequence of the pandemic, which could impact mental health and well-being was also discovered in this study. A fifth of the participants said they lost their jobs, and almost half reported that their income was lower during this pandemic.

Researchers found that psychedelics users experienced less stress in the aftermath of the pandemic. However, the cause is not known. The researchers called for more research. They noted that there could be other factors, such as more outdoor space and healthier eating habits. Also, less exposure to the news about the pandemic, which may have an effect on your mental health.

“Our findings showed that regular users of psychedelic drugs had less psychological stress and some personality differences when compared to occasional users and non-users,” the study’s authors concluded. “This suggests that either the use of psychedelics might be a protective factor itself or people with certain previous traits are more prone to frequently using psychedelic drugs.”

An article on the research, “Cross-Sectional Associations Between Lifetime Use of Psychedelic Drugs and Psychometric Measures During the COVID-19 Confinement: A Transcultural Study,” was published online by the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers of Psychiatry.