Study Finds Ethnicity, Race Linked to Mental Health Outcomes and Psychedelic Use

Psychedelics have become popular in the recent times, with growing evidence showing that the substances may be beneficial in the treatment of mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. One such study found that the administration of psychedelics was linked to significant improvements in anxiety and depression symptoms as well as increased emotional well-being.

Now, a new study has discovered that ethnicity and race moderate the link between major depressive episodes and the use of psychedelic drugs. Grant M. Jones, a Harvard University clinical psychology PhD student and the author of the study, revealed that the main objective was to determine how identity may impact the link between psychedelics and mental health.

For his research, Jones obtained data gathered in the period between 2005–2019 from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The data included responses from 596,187 adults in the United States, including non-Hispanic whites, Hispanic individuals and non-Hispanic racial minorities.

During the survey, participants were required to report if they had used drugs such as psilocybin and MDMA. Jones analyzed the data then controlled for age, sex, engagement in risky behavior, educational attainment, marital status, household income and the use of other drugs. This led to the discovery that the use of psilocybin and MDMA was linked to reduced odds of past-year severe depression and lifetime depression among non-Hispanic whites.

Among Hispanic participants, the use of these drugs was linked to decreased odds of past year depression. Jones also observed that the use of psilocybin and MDMA were not linked to depression among Asian, Black and multiracial participants. In addition, he found that the use of the aforementioned drugs was linked to increased odds of past-year depression and lifetime depression among indigenous participants.

In his report, Jones stated that his observations were consistent with separate studies that looked into the association between psychological distress, suicidality and the use of psilocybin and MDMA. He highlighted that his discovery brought up questions about whether similar links could be observed in a treatment setting and argued that it was possible unaccounted for demographic factors contributed to the study’s findings.

With Matthew K. Nock, the researchers also indicated possible mechanisms that could underlie their findings, noting that a person’s environment and mindset could have a significant impact on the effects of these drugs. They explained that discrimination, racism and prejudice were ingrained features in the minority experience and negatively impacted their psychedelic experience greatly.

The study’s findings were reported in the “Journal of Psychopharmacology.”

As more entities such as Seelos Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: SEEL) conduct their psychedelics development programs, a lot more is set to emerge about how various factors influence the psychedelic experience of users and contribute to the therapeutic effects of these substances.

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