People Who’ve Tried Psychedelics Have Lower Risk of Heart Disease and Diabetes
A study has confirmed that the rates of heart disease and diabetes found in users of classic psychedelic substances, like psilocybin or MDMA, are lower compared to the general public.
Parsed from data of a survey of 375,000 Americans—with the results controlled for age, gender, marital status, income bracket, education level, race, and use of other types of drugs—it found non-users were twice as likely (2.3% to 4.5%) to develop heart disease and almost twice as likely (3.95% to 7.7%) to develop diabetes.
While there’s no evidence of a chemical association for this reduction, as psilocybin or other psychedelic substances really don’t act much on our metabolic or cardiovascular systems, the results could be of a behavioral nature, since the usage of these substances are typically associated with large changes in lifestyle, even when taken only once.
These could involve the decisions to exercise more, give up smoking, drink less, or other impactful decisions that could be hard without the aid of what many see as the wisdom of psychedelics.
It’s predicted that by 2030, half of Americans will be diabetic or pre-diabetic, and considering that many of such cases are entirely preventable, behavioral alternations could be far more important and impactful than pharmaceutical aids.
The data, which came from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, asked if the participants had even once used the classic psychedelic substances DMT, ayahuasca, LSD, MDMA, mescaline, peyote, or psilocybin, and if they had been diagnosed with heart disease or diabetes in the last year.
One potential explanation is that medicine like DMT and psilocybin activate serotonin receptors which can potentially act as an appetite suppressant, reducing cravings. However there would have to be enough frequent use of these compounds to make a lasting impact on body weight, blood lipids, or other cardiometabolic measurements.
“The findings are novel and build on previous findings on the associations between lifetime classic psychedelic use and various markers of physical health,” the authors wrote in their paper, noting the drawbacks of the study, specifically that the cross-sectional nature makes determining causality impossible.
“The direction of causality remains unknown,” lead author Otto Simonsson told Psypost. “Future trials with double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled designs are needed to establish whether classic psychedelic use may reduce the risk of cardiometabolic diseases and, if so, through which mechanisms.”