New Study Links Psychedelic Use With 55% Decrease In Daily Opioid Use

Psychedelic use may provide a window of opportunity to kick drug addiction, according to a recent study.

Following bleak mortality data published this week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control that saw national overdose deaths exceeding 100,000 for the first time over a 12 month period, a new study linking psychedelic use and decreased opioid misuse is providing some hope.

While there’s certainly no magic pill to cure addiction and emotional ills, psychedelics can at times position people in the right frame of mind to reach for that lofty goal. And now scientific data is supporting the notion that psychedelics may decrease opioid dependence.

A new study by The International Journal of Drug Policy -an organization dedicated to research, debate and critical analysis on drug use and drug policy - is showing that individuals who use psychedelic substances may have considerably reduced odds of subsequent daily opioid use.

Drawing from data ranging between 2006 and 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, researchers polled a total of 3,813 individuals who reported substance misuse disorders. Of the group, 1,093 described illicit opioid consumption and 229 said they’d used psychedelics in the past six months.

Researchers discovered from the cohort that “recent psychedelic use was associated with 55% reduced odds of daily opioid use.”

The authors noted that while the study was conducted in a naturalistic setting, as opposed to clinically where data is viewed as more rigorous, there is a growing body of evidence worldwide indicating that psychedelic use may be associated with detectable reductions in addiction disorders. For instance, studies being conducted at Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research are showing that in clinical settings psilocybin is helping patients to facilitate smoking and alcohol cessation.

Anecdotally, there are many examples of people caught in addiction cycles, riding an endless, revolving door of addiction to rehab and back to addiction, who eventually find solace from drug cravings using psychedelic therapies.  

Such was the case of Adrianne from Vancouver, British Columbia, who is the subject of the documentary “DOSED.” The film follows the 34-year-old through a living nightmare as she attempts to kick a 10-year opiate habit. She shares how her drug use began at the age of 15 with alcohol acting as her gateway drug, which ultimately led to harder substances like cocaine and heroin.

Through the use of psilocybin, Adrianne begins to discover the usefulness of psychedelics to get at the core of her issues. After continually backsliding into addiction, she seeks help with the powerful psychoactive ibogaine, a drug derived from the African root iboga. Through a harrowing experience, she eventually finds solace.

Several years after kicking her drug addiction, Adrianne credits psychedelics with offering her a window of opportunity to approach her issues.

“I feel like psychedelics have connected me more with myself and I have a better connection with what's going on inside me,” she says. “Whereas before, when I was using harder drugs and not doing any kind of personal development, I would just feel in our turmoil. I would feel not right. And I would reach for something to numb it out. Now I feel like I'm more connected.”


Posted In: dosed filmDrug PolicyIbogaineOpioidCannabisNewsHealth CareTopicsMarketsInterviewGeneral

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