- A single psychedelic trip could help victims of racism overcome their trauma
- Symptoms were lowered in the 30 days after taking mushrooms, LSD or Ecstasy
- Scientists claim psychedelics could be an important avenue for healing
Victims of racism should take Ecstasy or magic mushrooms to reduce the trauma of their experience, suggests a new study.
Scientists found a single psychedelic trip from mushrooms, acid or MDMA could help victims overcome the racism they have been subjected to.
Psychedelic drugs could also help reduce stress, depression and anxiety in black, Indigenous and people of colour whose encounters with racism have had lasting harm, according to the findings.
In the new study, participants reported that their trauma-related symptoms linked to racist acts were lowered in the 30 days after an experience with either psilocybin, also known as magic mushrooms, LSD or MDMA, also known as Ecstasy.
‘Their experience with psychedelic drugs was so powerful that they could recall and report on changes in symptoms from racial trauma that they had experienced in their lives,’ said research co-lead author Dr Alan Davis, an Assistant Professor at Ohio State University in the US.
‘And they remembered it having a significant reduction in their mental health problems afterward.’
The more intensely spiritual and insightful the psychedelic trip was, the more significant the recalled decreases in trauma-related symptoms were, findings reveal.
Growing research suggests psychedelics have a place in therapy, especially when administered in a controlled setting.
Dr Davis said: ‘What previous mental health research has generally lacked is a focus on people of colour and on treatment that could specifically address the trauma of chronic exposure to racism.’
Co-lead study author Dr Monnica Williams, of the University of Ottawa in Canada, said the findings show psychedelics can be important for healing.
She said: ‘Currently, there are no empirically supported treatments specifically for racial trauma.
‘This study shows that psychedelics can be an important avenue for healing.’
The researchers recruited participants in the US and Canada using Qualtrics survey research panels.
They assembled a sample of 313 people who reported they had taken a dose of a psychedelic drug in the past that they believed contributed to ‘relief from the challenging effects of racial discrimination.’
The sample comprised adults who identified as Black, Asian, Hispanic, Native American or Indigenous Canadian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander.
Once enrolled, participants completed questionnaires collecting information on their past experiences with racial trauma, psychedelic use and mental health symptoms.
They were asked to recall a memorable psychedelic experience and its short-term and longer effects.
These had occurred as recently as a few months before the study and as long ago as at least ten years earlier.
Dr Williams said: ‘The discrimination they had encountered included unfair treatment by neighbours, teachers and bosses, false accusations of unethical behaviour and physical violence.
‘The most commonly reported issues involved feelings of severe anger about being subjected to a racist act and wanting to ‘tell someone off’ for racist behaviour, but saying nothing instead.’
The researchers are now working on proposals for clinical trials to further investigate the effects of psychedelics on mental health symptoms in specific populations, including Black, Indigenous and people of colour.
Dr Davis added: ‘This was really the first step in exploring whether people of colour are experiencing benefits of psychedelics and, in particular, looking at a relevant feature of their mental health, which is their experience of racial trauma.
‘This study helps to start that conversation with this emerging treatment paradigm.’
The findings were published online by the journal Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy.