The use of psychedelic drugs such as lysergic acid diethylamide and psilocybin has been associated with enhanced mood and feelings of social connectedness in controlled laboratory and therapeutic settings. However, the extent to which such psychological effects manifest in naturalistic and nonclinical contexts, which typically characterize psychedelic drug use, is unclear.
Researchers gathered survey data from 1,225 participants at six multiday mass gatherings occurring between 2015 and 2017 in the United States and the United Kingdom. Compared with no psychedelic use.
The use of psychedelic drugs within the previous 24 hours was associated with an increase in positive mood, social connectedness, and transformative experiences, which represent profound changes to a person’s values, beliefs, or morals.
Additional analysis suggested that the increase in positive mood among psychedelic drug users was mediated by transformative experiences and social connectedness, such that transformative experiences and social connectedness predicted positive mood among psychedelic drug users.
According to the authors, the lab-in-field approach validates previous findings from laboratory and clinical studies and supports further research on the potential therapeutic effects of psychedelic drug use.
How psychedelics may enhance mood at mass gatherings
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