Novel use of psychedelics for heart disease and mental health
There is an increasing interest from the medical and psychiatric fields in the properties of psychedelic drugs to treat mental and physical illness. Most recently, Simonsson et al (2021) explored the associations between lifetime classic psychedelic use and cardiometabolic diseases, with both heart disease and diabetes being leading contributors to the global burden of disease—and a leading cause of death in the Western world.
Simonsson et al (2021) acknowledged that pharmacological treatment, intensive lifestyle modification or both can delay or reverse the development of cardiometabolic diseases, but they noted that no study thus far has investigated the long-term cardiometabolic effects of classic psychedelics. They suggest that, if found to be beneficial, psychedelics could be used as a possible pharmacological treatment and as part of a programme to facilitate healthy lifestyle changes.
The researchers described the evidence to date, suggesting that ‘classic psychedelics’ (psychoactive substances known to act as agonists primarily at serotonin 2A receptors) have a good risk profile and can be effective in the treatment of various mental health conditions. Yet, recent research indicates that classic psychedelics could show a beneficial effect for a range of physical conditions as well, such as heart disease and diabetes (Simonsson et al, 2021).
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