“There’s incredible potential here,” Johns Hopkins University researcher Matthew Johnson told Inverse. “So far, it’s a good bet that these tools will be broadly applicable to a number of disorders.”
For the study, which was published Tuesday in The Journal of Psychopharmacology, the researchers used social media and drug discussion websites to track down 343 people who reported a minimum of seven years of problematic drinking prior to having a psychedelic experience.
They then asked the participants — 72 percent of whom met the criteria for alcohol use disorder — to complete anonymous online surveys.
From the surveys, the researchers learned many participants had dramatically decreased the number of drinks they consumed a year after their psychedelic experience. In fact, 83 percent of participants no longer met alcohol use disorder criteria, and 28 percent credited their psychedelic experience for the change in lifestyle.
It’s hard to demonstrate a direct link between the psychedelic experience and the decrease in alcohol consumption. However, Johnson thinks it makes sense that mind-opening drugs could have a positive impact on the lives of people battling alcohol dependence.
“When you talk to someone who has managed to overcome addiction, they often talk about [how] they had to answer big picture questions that connect to what’s important in life,” he told Inverse. “Psychedelics prompt those kinds of questions.”
READ MORE: Psychedelics’ Role in Beating Alcoholism Illustrated in LSD, Psilocybin Study [Inverse]
More on psychedelics: World’s First Center for Psychedelics Research Opens in UK