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J Psychopharmacol. 2019 May 14:269881119845793. doi: 10.1177/0269881119845793. [Epub ahead of print]

Cessation and reduction in alcohol consumption and misuse after psychedelic use.

Author information

1
1 Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.
2
2 Erowid Center, Grass Valley, CA, USA.
3
3 Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Meta-analysis of randomized studies using lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) for alcohol use disorder (AUD) showed large, significant effects for LSD efficacy compared to control conditions. Clinical studies suggest potential anti-addiction effects of LSD and mechanistically-related classic psychedelics for alcohol and other substance use disorders.

AIMS:

To supplement clinical studies, reports of psychedelic use in naturalistic settings can provide further data regarding potential effects of psychedelics on alcohol use.

METHODS:

An anonymous online survey of individuals with prior AUD reporting cessation or reduction in alcohol use following psychedelic use in non-clinical settings.

RESULTS:

343 respondents, mostly White (89%), males (78%), in the USA (60%) completed the survey. Participants reported seven years of problematic alcohol use on average before the psychedelic experience to which they attributed reduced alcohol consumption, with 72% meeting retrospective criteria for severe AUD. Most reported taking a moderate or high dose of LSD (38%) or psilocybin (36%), followed by significant reduction in alcohol consumption. After the psychedelic experience 83% no longer met AUD criteria. Participants rated their psychedelic experience as highly meaningful and insightful, with 28% endorsing psychedelic-associated changes in life priorities or values as facilitating reduced alcohol misuse. Greater psychedelic dose, insight, mystical-type effects, and personal meaning of experiences were associated with a greater reduction in alcohol consumption, controlling for prior alcohol consumption and related distress.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although results cannot demonstrate causality, they suggest that naturalistic psychedelic use may lead to cessation or reduction in problematic alcohol use, supporting further investigation of psychedelic-assisted treatment for AUD.

KEYWORDS:

Psychedelics; alcohol; hallucinogens; lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD); psilocybin

PMID:
31084460
DOI:
10.1177/0269881119845793

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