A massive national survey shows that the use of psychedelics isn't linked with the development of lifetime cancer

A massive national survey shows that the use of psychedelics isn't linked with the development of li ...

In the 1960s, research suggested that psychedelic consumption increased risk of cancer. However, a recent paper published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology did not demonstrate a causality.

When a 1967 experiment revealed chromosomal damage in human white blood cells after exposure, LSD was first linked to cancer danger, and case reports of LSD users raising this concern.

Laboratory tests showed that LSD and other stimulants might damage chromosomes and potentially cause hematological illnesses such as leukemia and lymphoma, beginning in the late 1960s.

"It became an essential component of psychedelics becoming Schedule 1 drugs as well as research into their therapeutic applications, once a media mention of a potential connection between psychedelics and cancer."

Despite these shortcomings, many early studies tested LSD concentrations and durations of exposure that far exceeded acceptable dosages of LSD. Additionally, many studies did not investigate the use of other medications alongside LSD.

The majority of evidence available today suggests that psychedelics do not pose a cancer risk, but Barnett and his colleagues disagree. Now that much more epidemiological data is available, the researchers want to revisit and clarify the connection between psychedelics and cancer risk, according to the authors.

"I thought it might be interesting to investigate whether or not psychedelic use has any correlation to cancer since psychedelics are now being approved by the FDA as medications."

Simonsson and associates' 2021 population-level study investigated the correlation between lifetime psychedelic use and lifetime cancer diagnosis in the past 12 months. They differentiated between hematologic cancers (e.g., leukemia and lymphoma).

Barnett and his colleagues analyzed data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a nationally representative survey of Americans from 2015 to 2019. The final sample included 210,021 people, including information on a large number of confounding variables, including age, gender, educational attainment, and other drug use.

When considering confounding factors, the findings revealed that lifetime psychedelic use was not associated with a lifetime cancer diagnosis nor a hematologic cancer diagnosis. This was true for all of the three types of psychedelics: tryptamine, mescaline, MDMA, peyote, and San Pedro.

The authors argue that the age of participants who reported lifetime psychedelic use contributed to a reduced likelihood of lifetime cancer diagnosis.

The authors claim that the results support Simonsson and his colleagues' (2021) conclusions, which stated that there had been no significant relationship between psychedelic use and cancer diagnosis in the past twelve months. The present study extended these findings to include a lifetime diagnosis of cancer and hematologic cancer.

Nevertheless, Barnett cautioned that "every scientific investigation has limitations." "While it is unlikely that the limitations of this investigation would have any bearing on the outcome, the dataset used for the study provides information on whether participants used psychedelics during their lifetime, dosages of psychedelics used, or vice versa."

Additional research is required to evaluate the physiological safety of psychedelics, according to the authors, "including age of first use for each psychedelic, number of lifetime uses of each psychedelic, age of each type of cancer diagnosis, and information on lesser known psychedelics such as ibogaine and ayahuasca."

Brian S Barnett, Kathleen Ziegler, Rick Doblin, and Andrew D Carlo co-authored the research, "Is psychedelic use associated with cancer?"

You may also like: