Are psychedelic drugs addictive?
Psychedelics are a class of psychoactive substances that can alter an individual’s perception, mood, and thought process. They are often associated with mind-expanding experiences and spiritual revelations, and are being investigated for their potential therapeutic benefits. However, one of the concerns raised about psychedelic use is the potential for addiction.
Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite negative consequences. While some people may use psychedelics recreationally, the evidence suggests that psychedelics are not inherently addictive.
The first thing to note is that psychedelics, unlike drugs such as opioids or stimulants, do not produce the same type of physical dependence that leads to withdrawal symptoms. There is no evidence of physical dependence or withdrawal symptoms with classic psychedelics like LSD, psilocybin, and DMT, and these substances do not produce a typical drug-seeking behavior associated with addiction.
Moreover, studies have suggested that psychedelics may have anti-addictive properties. Research has shown that psilocybin, the psychoactive compound found in magic mushrooms, can be effective in treating substance use disorders such as nicotine and alcohol addiction. A study conducted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that smoking cessation rates were twice as high among individuals who received psilocybin-assisted therapy compared to a control group.
Furthermore, psychedelic experiences can be intense and profound, leading to significant personal growth and insights, and may actually decrease the desire to use drugs. As Albert Hofmann, the inventor of LSD, once said, “LSD is a drug that makes people insensitive to other drugs.”
That being said, there is still a risk of psychological dependence on psychedelics, particularly among those who use them in a non-therapeutic context. Some individuals may develop a desire to use psychedelics as a way to escape reality or cope with difficult emotions. However, this is not a physical dependence, and the addiction potential is much lower than that of drugs like opioids or methamphetamine.
Psychedelic drugs such as LSD, psilocybin, and ayahuasca are not considered addictive in the typical sense of addiction. Addiction only occurs when the chemical that triggers the good feelings manifests itself negatively.
It is vital to remember that psychedelics definitely cause an immediate tolerance, and when this occurs, the brain begins to demand more of the substance, while it also becomes more difficult to reach the point at which intoxication can be satisfied. For this reason, psychedelics are self-regulatory. They simply stop working after a few days of regular use. You require exponentially higher doses to reach the same level of intoxication.
Psychedelics are extremely effective in dealing with addiction because they allow people to recognize faults in their reality tunnel and regain control of their minds.
The famous research at Rat Park shows that addiction does not arise because people are addicted, but because there is an ideology that dominates bad treatment attempts. The destruction of our culture has to do with a lack of understanding of the nature of addiction and its effects on the human body.
The reason we dislike drugs in culture and society is that drugs cause a self-destructive pattern of behavior. Psychedelics break patterns of behavior and are thus the antithesis to drugs and addiction.
In short, psychedelics are non-addictive. However, the funny thing is that I could be considered addicted to hallucinations. I love visions.
Grob, C. S., Danforth, A. L., Chopra, G. S., Hagerty, M., McKay, C. R., Halberstadt, A. L., & Greer, G. R. (2011). Pilot study of psilocybin treatment for anxiety in patients with advanced-stage cancer. Archives of general psychiatry, 68(1), 71-78.
Johnson, M. W., Garcia-Romeu, A., Cosimano, M. P., & Griffiths, R. R. (2014). Pilot study of the 5-HT2AR agonist psilocybin in the treatment of tobacco addiction. Journal of psychopharmacology, 28(11), 983-992.
Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2014, September 11). Psilocybin can help smokers quit the habit. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 22, 2023, from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140911142115.htm
Hofmann, A. (1980). LSD, My Problem Child. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Gable, R. S. (2004). Comparison of acute lethal toxicity of commonly abused psychoactive substances.