This study examined how psychedelics reduced symptoms of racial trauma among black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) subsequent to an experience of racism. A cross-sectional internet-based survey included questions about experiences with racism, mental health symptoms, and acute and enduring psychedelic effects.
Changes in mental health were assessed by retrospective report of symptoms in the 30 days before and 30 days after an experience with psilocybin, Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), or 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). We recruited 313 diverse BIPOC in the US and Canada.
Results revealed a significant (p < .001) and moderate (d = −.45) reduction in traumatic stress symptoms from before-to-after the psychedelic experience. Similarly, participants reported decreases in depression (p < .001; d = −.52), anxiety (p < .001; d = −.53), and stress (p < .001; d = −.32). There was also a significant relationship (Rc = 0.52, p < .001) between the dimension of acute psychedelic effects (mystical-type, insight, and challenging experiences) and decreases in a cluster of subsequent psychopathology (traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and stress), while controlling for the frequency of prior discrimination and the time since the psychedelic experience.