A Look Into Mental Health and Psychedelic Drug Use

With an increased push to decriminalize drugs such as LSD (Acid), psilocybin mushrooms and other psychedelics and hallucinogens, many may be curious as to how that may impact mental and physical health.


Izana Nordhaus

Many people use psychedelic drugs to hallucinate and have fun, but might not realize all the potential effects they could have on their mental and physical health.

With the majority of states having decriminalized marijuana, the conversation of decriminalizing certain drugs has shifted from marijuana to hallucinogens, such as methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA/ecstasy), lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD/acid) and psilocybin mushrooms. As research in support of clinical uses of psychedelics in mental health situations has become more apparent throughout the past few years, more lawmakers have run their platforms on the decriminalization of said drugs. Lawmakers are claiming that their uses in controlled environments have positive impacts on human mental health. 


Particularly, MDMA and psilocybin mushroom research has proven to be a large factor in the push for psychedelic legalization. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, MDMA research provided substantial evidence that in PTSD patients, the medicinal use of MDMA decreased the severity of their symptoms and psychologically, they improved. 


“Ecstacy–or MDMA– has been absolutely amazing for people with PTSD,” Antioch Community High School AP Psychology teacher Anton Borchert said. “People who have tried absolutely everything to try to cure their PTSD have found the only thing that helped them was taking ecstacy in a clinical setting.”


In regards to LSD and psilocybin mushrooms, many reports have cited the two as an effective mode of therapy in microdosages, or between 5-10 percent of the dose. According to BrainFacts.org, this method is so the patient does not experience the hallucinations, or what is commonly known as, “trips,” while taking these drugs. Additionally, in a 2019 study it was found that microdosing benefits included mainly mood improvements, followed by improved focus and creativity. 


“[Hallucinogens] are a perspective shifter,” Borchert said. “In some cases, the way they interpret their own thinking can change. It’s very easy to see, when you look at the positive aspects, how that could lead to a possible therapeutic aid.” 


Though many psychological experts have shifted their viewpoints into a more positive light in regards to psychedelics, the general public will still need to shift their viewpoint as well before much progress is done. 


“My overall opinion on psychedelic drug use is that it is unproblematic as long as it is in a safe and protected environment,” ACHS junior Jasmine Ametovski said. “It seems mostly safe, especially as it does not have addictive qualities.”


In another interview, ACHS senior Gloria Lobodzinski had explained her opinion on why the public seems generally split on the issue of decriminalizing psychedelics.


“People view psychedelics as dangerous and harmful,” Lobodzinski said. “It has been engraved in our minds from a young age that drugs are harmful through programs such as D.A.R.E. and are not to be touched.” 


From a legal standpoint, it seems as though the decriminalization of psychedelics for medicinal use has been on the rise for Americans.


In November of 2020, Oregon became the first U.S. state to legalize the use of psychedelics for mental health use after passing with 55.8 percent support. As outlined in Measure 110 of Oregon’s Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act, those in possession of recreational psychedelics would face a $100 fine, rather than jail time. 


Shortly after, in February of 2021, a proposed law in California that would make drugs such as psilocybin mushrooms, LSD and MDMA decriminalized has gained recent traction. Though, decriminalization of these drugs would not necessarily mean they are legal for recreational use, but instead, possession of recreational psychedelics would not result in criminal prosecution as they currently do in many states.