Study finds profound psychedelic trips can offer long-term healing

A new study out of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has found that profound psychedelic trips and spontaneous drug-free instances of experiencing 'ultimate reality' can have long-term healing and otherwise beneficial effects on people. Such experiences are often reported by individuals who have taken LSD and psilocybin mushrooms.

During the study, researchers surveyed people who reported having had experiences with 'god' or 'ultimate reality.' Of those people, the study reveals, two-thirds reported no longer identifying as atheist. As well, most respondents report lasting positive changes that they associated with the experiences.

The majority claim the experiences, which in some cases happened in the absence of psychedelic drugs, had resulted in improved senses of satisfaction, meaning, and purpose in life, changes that, in some cases, persisted for decades.

The researchers claim their study is the first to 'systematically and rigorously' contrast instances of psychedelic-related experiences with ones reported as having happened spontaneously. The study involved data from more than 4200 participants globally who completed a pair of 50-minute online surveys.

Of the participants who had positive experiences related to psychedelics, the study found that the majority had taken psilocybin at 1,184 respondents, followed by 1,251 who took LSD, 606 who took DMT, and 435 who took ayahuasca. Joining them were 809 people who reported having had profound 'ultimate reality' and 'god' experiences without drugs.

Talking about the results is Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine professor Roland Griffiths, PhD, who said:

Experiences that people describe as encounters with God or a representative of God have been reported for thousands of years, and they likely form the basis of many of the world's religions. And although modern Western medicine doesn't typically consider 'spiritual' or 'religious' experiences as one of the tools in the arsenal against sickness, our findings suggest that these encounters often lead to improvements in mental health.