[Please note that this page contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase after clicking a link, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.]
Opioid use disorder is dangerous and very prevalent throughout all North America. Psychedelic therapy is being recommended to treat various substance use disorders, leading researchers to question if it would be an effective therapy for opioid abuse. A recent study published in Nature: Scientific Reports shows that psilocybin, and no other psychedelics, were connected to lower opioid abuse.
Opioid use disorder is a deadly and severe public health emergency. It has a disturbingly high death rate, making up about 70% of overdose deaths in the United States since the pandemic. Unfortunately, this issue has been getting increasingly worse. Despite the frequency of opioid addiction, there are very few effective therapies for it. Psychedelics have been used to treat other substance use disorders, although the research is minimal.
Grant Jones and his team used statistics from The National Survey on Health and Drug Use from 2015 to 2019. This survey uses a nationally representative sample of the United States that did not include incarcerated individuals, military members, or homeless people. The lifetime use of four common entheogens was the independent variable used in the study. The study also used self-reported risk behaviours, demographic information, and the use of other substances. The dependent variable was meeting the criteria for opioid use disorder.
The study results revealed that the only psychedelics connected with a lower chance of opioid use disorder was psilocybin. Psilocybin showed lowered odds for 7 of the 11 DMS-IV criteria that meet opioid use disorder. LSD, peyote, and mescaline didn’t have the same relationship, displaying either no meaningful relationship or increased dependence on opioids. Psilocybin users who have or haven’t taken opioids differed on all traits demographically measured in this study, including race, sex, income, age, marital status, education, and age.
This study revealed that psychedelics could be a suitable treatment for opioid use disorder. Though this study utilized a representative and extensive sample, The National Survey on Health and Drug Use excludes certain groups of the population that could have high drug abuse rates, that include homeless people.
The study was authored by Grant Jones, Jocelyn A. Ricard, Joshua Lipson, and Matthew K. Nock, “Associations between classic psychedelics and opioid use disorder in a nationally-representative US adult sample.”