The Psychedelic Heart

Scott McGreal
5 min readApr 30, 2022

Psychedelic users are less prone to diabetes and heart disease

Recent studies have found that people who have used classic psychedelic drugs, such as LSD, psilocybin, and ayahuasca, often experience beneficial outcomes, including improvements in mental and physical health. Simonsson, Sexton, et al. (2021) reported that lifetime psychedelic use is associated with better self-rated health as well as reduced rates of overweight and obesity. Further studies have found that lifetime psychedelic drug use is associated with other health benefits.

Source: OpenClipArt, Public Domain image

One study found that people who had ever used a psychedelic drug, even once, had lower rates of hypertension (high blood pressure) in the past year (Simonsson, Hendricks, et al., 2021). The study used data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an annual survey that aims to assess the prevalence of substance use and mental health issues in the United States, with data collected from 2005 to 2014.

As well being asked whether they had ever used, even once, a classic psychedelic (specifically, DMT, ayahuasca, LSD, mescaline, peyote or San Pedro, or psilocybin), respondents provided information about many other factors that might be relevant to their health, such as age, sex, race, education, use of other substances, including alcohol and tobacco, income, and so on. Additionally, the authors classified each kind of psychedelic drug into three types based on their chemical structure: tryptamines (including DMT, ayahuasca, and psilocybin), lysergamides (LSD), and phenethylamines (mescaline, peyote and San Pedro). Interestingly, only tryptamine use was significantly associated with reduced hypertension in the past year, with 20% lower odds of having this condition.

In a similar vein, another recent study (Simonsson, Osika, et al., 2021) found that people who had ever used a classic psychedelic reported lower rates of having been diagnosed with heart disease or diabetes in the previous year. This study also used data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, from surveys conducted in the years 2005 to 2014, and controlled for the same factors as in the previous study.

When these other factors were accounted for in the statistical analyses, the results showed that people who had ever used any classic psychedelic had 23% lower odds of heart…

Scott McGreal

Blogging about psychology research, especially in personality and individual differences, as well as psychedelic drug research, and whatever else takes my fancy