In recent years, the use of psychedelic substances has gained increased attention for their potential benefits in treating mental health issues, such as depression and PTSD. However, it is crucial to consider the potential risks and side effects that may come along with their use. The use of psychedelics is not without its dangers, and it’s essential to be informed before engaging in any form of psychedelic use.
One of the primary risks associated with the use of psychedelics is the possibility of a “bad trip.” These experiences can be terrifying and lead to long-lasting emotional distress. There have been cases of individuals developing anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues following a difficult psychedelic experience. Another risk of psychedelic use is the possibility of developing hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD), a condition where an individual experiences hallucinations and other sensory distortions long after the drug has worn off. While rare, HPPD can be a lifelong condition for some affected individuals.
In addition to emotional and psychological risks, there are also physical risks associated with the use of psychedelics. While the risk of overdose is often considered low, it is still possible, particularly when individuals take large doses. Moreover, increased body temperature, seizures, and heart problems can arise from the use of certain psychedelics, especially when used in combination with other substances or pre-existing medical issues (source).
Another potential risk of using psychedelics is their potential for addiction. Although substances such as LSD and psilocybin are generally considered to have a low risk of addiction, this does not mean that they are entirely risk-free. There have been cases of individuals developing psychological dependencies on these substances, particularly when used frequently or as a means of escape from personal issues (source). Additionally, some synthetic psychedelics, like NBOMe compounds, pose a higher risk of addiction and overdose (source).
One of the most concerning risks associated with psychedelic use is the potential for triggering or exacerbating psychosis in susceptible individuals. Although research into this area remains limited, there is evidence to suggest that psychedelic use can precipitate psychotic episodes in individuals with a predisposition to schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders. Similarly, individuals who have a family history of psychosis or have previously experienced psychosis may be at an increased risk of psychotic episodes when using psychedelics (source). For this reason, it is essential for individuals with a history of mental illness or a family history of mental illness to exercise caution when considering the use of psychedelic substances.
In conclusion, while psychedelic substances have shown promise as potential therapeutic tools for various mental health issues, it is essential to be mindful of the potential risks and side effects associated with their use. It is always advisable to consult a medical professional before considering psychedelic use, particularly for individuals with pre-existing medical or mental health conditions.
Individuals considering the use of psychedelics should be educated about the possible risks and encouraged to use harm reduction strategies, such as starting with a low dose, using psychedelics in a safe and comfortable environment, and having a trusted “trip sitter” present to provide support and assistance if needed. By being informed about the potential risks and side effects of using psychedelics, one can make a more educated decision about whether or not to engage in their use.