Background: Preliminary studies show psychedelic compounds administered with psychotherapy are potentially effective and durable substance misuse interventions. However, little is known about the association between psychedelic use and substance misuse in the general population. This study investigated the association between psychedelic use and past year opioid use disorders within illicit opioid users.
Methods: While controlling for socio-demographic covariates and the use of other substances, the relationship between classic psychedelic use and past year opioid use disorders was analyzed within 44,000 illicit opioid users who completed the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2008 to 2013.
Results: Among respondents with a history of illicit opioid use, psychedelic drug use is associated with 27% reduced risk of past year opioid dependence (weighted risk ratio = 0.73 (0.60–0.89) p = 0.002) and 40% reduced risk of past year opioid abuse (weighted risk ratio = 0.60 (0.41–0.86) p = 0.006). Other than marijuana use, which was associated with 55% reduced risk of past year opioid abuse (weighted risk ratio = 0.45 (0.30–0.66) p < 0.001), no other illicit drug was associated with reduced risk of past year opioid dependence or abuse.
Conclusion: Experience with psychedelic drugs is associated with decreased risk of opioid abuse and dependence. Conversely, other illicit drug use history is largely associated with increased risk of opioid abuse and dependence. These findings suggest that psychedelics are associated with positive psychological characteristics and are consistent with prior reports suggesting efficacy in treatment of substance use disorders.
Pisano, V. D., Putnam, N. P., Kramer, H. M., Franciotti, K. J., Halpern, J. H., & Holden, S. C. (2017). The association of psychedelic use and opioid use disorders among illicit users in the United States. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 0269881117691453.