Psychedelic drugs like LSD and psilocybin — also known as "magic mushrooms" — can elevate mood and make you feel closer to others, and those feelings may persist even after the high is gone, new research shows.
The findings of more than 1200 festival visitors in the arts and music, as well as lab research, showed that psychedelics reinforce feelings of social connectedness and well-being, say researchers at Yale University.
“Our results show that people using psychedelics“ in the wild ”(outside of laboratories) report positive experiences very similar to those seen in controlled laboratory studies,” said lead author Matthias Forstmann, a postdoctoral fellow.
Research into drug use during festivals
For the study, the researchers asked people at six art and music festivals in the United States and the United Kingdom about their experiences with psychedelics.
The researchers found that those who had recently taken psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin were more likely to report having "transformative experiences" that brought about significant changes in their lives, including changes in their moral values.
These experiences were linked to feelings of social solidarity and a positive mood. The most pronounced effects occurred in the 24 hours after taking psychedelics, the study authors said.
Transforming experiences with psychedelics
People who did not take the psychedelic drugs, or who instead drank alcohol or used opioids, did not have the same level of transformative experiences, increased connectedness, or positive mood - the study found.
Although the researchers did not take into account poor responses to psychedelics, they said the findings suggest that psychedelic drugs may be useful in treating mood disorders.
Experienced study author Molly Crockett, an assistant professor of psychology, said further research is needed to learn which environmental factors are associated with positive and negative responses.
"We are encouraged that our study is consistent with previous laboratory findings showing the mood benefits of psychedelics in healthy people and in patients suffering from anxiety and depression," she said in a Yale press release.
The report was recently published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”.