Campus Reform | Want to deal with racism? According to these researchers, maybe LSD will work

Want to deal with racism? According to these researchers, maybe LSD will work

An Ohio State University social work professor studied whether psychedelic drugs like LSD and MDMA help minorities deal with stress resulting from encounters with racism.

According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, LSD and MDMA have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

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An Ohio State University social work professor studied whether psychedelic drugs help minorities deal with stress resulting from encounters with racism.

Ohio State professor Alan Davis and other researchers used an online survey to determine whether Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) who had past experience with psychedelic drugs — including LSD and MDMA — witnessed a “reduction in traumatic stress symptoms from before-to-after the psychedelic experience.”

The study said that “one form of trauma that has been underrepresented in the empirical literature is racial trauma,” which may include “symptoms of traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression.”

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The researchers wanted to determine whether “novel pharmacologically assisted therapies” could play a role in fighting the psychological effects of racism.

“Once enrolled in the study, participants were asked to report on past experiences with racial trauma, psychedelic use, and mental health symptoms,” explained the study. “Furthermore, participants were asked to recall a memorable psychedelic experience and provided details about this psychedelic experience, including the acute and enduring effects.”

Tracking the experiences of 313 participants, the study found that psychedelics caused a statistically significant decrease in traumatic stress.

The study reported several limitations, which included “outcomes were based on participant recall, which may be limiting for obtaining the most accurate data, especially for those whose memorable psychedelic experience was several years ago.” The fact that “only people who reported benefits related to their psychedelic experience were included” means researchers cannot assume that “psychedelics will be helpful for every BIPOC with racial trauma.” 

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The study noted that “those who opted to participate in the study may have a positive bias in terms of their beliefs about the benefits of psychedelics" and that “self-report measures were utilized for this study, which poses both limitations and benefits.”

According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, LSD and MDMA — also referred to as ecstasy — are Schedule I drugs, meaning that they have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

A grant from the National Institute of Health supported the project.

Davis told Campus Reform that though LSD and MDMA are currently Schedule I drugs, they are conducting “clinical trials with psychedelic-assisted therapies.” He hopes to start a trial specifically for BIPOC, though he is still trying to secure funding for the project. 

Davis does not believe that the illegality of the drugs would affect the reliability of self-reported data.


Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft