Survey Finds No Link Between Psychedelics Use, Cancer Risk

October 25, 2022 11:40:51

New research has found that the use of psychedelic substances is not linked to the lifetime development of cancer. The investigators’ objective was focused on determining whether there was any truth to research from the 1960s that associated the use of psychedelics to a heightened risk of developing cancer.

The research in question was conducted in 1967, with those involved reporting that the use of LSD caused chromosomal damage in white blood cells. Subsequent studies also suggested that exposure to LSD could have carcinogenic potential.

For their study, the researchers focused on expanding on a 2021 study that explored the association between cancer diagnosis and the lifetime use of psychedelics. The researchers conducted an analysis of data obtained from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in the period between 2015 to 2019. This survey, which had more than 200,000 final respondents, includes data on variables such as sex, age, income, race/ethnicity, lifetime history of HIV/AIDS, educational attainment and other drug use.

The researchers then controlled for confounding variables, which led to the discovery that the lifetime use of psychedelics wasn’t linked to diagnosis of hematologic and other cancers. They noted that this was true for each of the three psychedelic classifications: phenethylamine (mescaline,2C-B, peyote, MDMA and San Pedro), LSD and tryptamine (DMT, AMT and 5-MeO-DIPT).

In their report, the researchers stated that when they didn’t control for confounding variables, they discovered that the lifetime use of psychedelics was linked to a lower prevalence of lifetime diagnosis of cancer. They suggest that this link may have been driven by the lower respondent age for those who revealed that they used psychedelics.

The scientists stated that their discovery supported the findings from the 2021 study, which observed no significant association between cancer diagnosis and the use of psychedelics.

Assistant psychiatry professor Brian S. Barnett, the study’s author, stated that the study had some limitations, which included the fact that the data set used didn’t provide information on the number of times respondents used psychedelics or the doses consumed. It also did not specify whether the use of psychedelics by participants preceded their illness diagnosis.

The researchers observed that more studies are needed to better understand the physiological safety of psychedelics as well as learn more about less well-known psychedelics like ayahuasca. The study was published in the “Journal of Psychopharmacology.” Other researchers involved in the study include Andrew D. Carlo, Rick Doblin and Kathleen Ziegler.

As more research is made available by psychedelics startups such as Mind Medicine Inc. (NASDAQ: MNMD) (NEO: MMED) (DE: MMQ), the world will gain a clearer picture about the potential benefits as well as the possible risks inherent in using these substances.

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