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A new study published in the journal ACS Pharmacology & Translational Science discovered that taking mescaline, a psychedelic drug derived from the peyote cactus, is connected to improvements in anxiety and depression.
The study reveals evidence that the benefits of mescaline were related to certain facets of the psychedelic.
A growing body of research shows that psychedelics have long-lasting positive effects. Although, despite its centuries-old ceremonial use by Native American tribes, mescaline has almost no attention compared to other psychedelics, like LSD and psilocybin.
For this study, the scientists used ads to recruit 452 adults from around the globe who have tried mescaline at least once. The volunteers did a wide-ranging questionnaire about their mescaline experience.
They also did a mental illness assessment, which reported anxiety, depression, PTSD, alcohol use disorder or alcohol misuse, and drug use disorder or drug misuse.
About a third of this sample described that the mescaline experience was in the top five most spiritually or meaningful significant experiences of their entire lives. Many people also reported enhancements in their psychiatric conditions.
About 50% of participants said they had anxiety or depression during mescaline use. But, among those who’ve experienced depression, 86% had improvements in their depression after using mescaline.
Likewise, among the participants who had anxiety, 80% revealed improvements in anxiety or depression after mescaline use. Although, most volunteers didn’t take mescaline to alter these conditions.
The scientists discovered that psychiatric improvements were linked to features of the psychedelic experience itself. For example, some volunteers reported improvement in understanding a more mystical-type phenomenon, ego dissolution effects, and a more significant psychological insight while under mescaline’s effects.
The results coincide with previous research that has found evidence that people who gain more psychological insights from psychedelics are linked to increased psychological flexibility.
The increase in psychological flexibility, in turn, is associated with a decrease in anxiety and depression. In addition, other studies revealed that psychedelics might improve mental health by making people more accepting of stressful experiences.