Use of Psychedelic Drug Psilocybin (Magic Mushrooms) Associated With Lower Risk of Opioid Addiction

Adults who have at some time in their life used psilocybin – a psychedelic substance produced by some types of mushrooms – are 30% less likely to have opioid use disorder, according to a nationally representative survey of US adults reported in the journal Scientific Reports.

Grant Jones and colleagues investigated the incidence of opioid use disorder and the prevalence of psychedelic use among 214,505 adults using survey data collected between 2015 and 2019. Participants reported whether they had abused or experienced dependence on heroin or prescription pain relievers in the past year and reported whether they had ever taken the psychedelic drugs psilocybin, peyote, mescaline, or LSD. 2,183 (1.0%) participants met the criteria for opioid use disorder in the past year. 22,276 (10.4%) participants reported having used psilocybin and 10,284 (46%) of those also reported using heroin or prescription pain relievers recreationally at least once in their lives.

The researchers found that opioid use disorder was 30% less likely among those had used psilocybin, compared to those who had never used it. Those who used psilocybin were also between 17% and 34% less likely to have experienced seven of the 11 symptoms of opioid dependence and abuse in the past year, compared to those who had never used it. This suggests that psilocybin use could have a protective effect against a range of opioid use disorder symptoms. The researchers did not identify significant associations between peyote, mescaline or LSD use and the likelihood of opioid use disorder.

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