Study: Psychedelics Use Linked to Better Cognitive Function in Older Adults

Researchers analyzing data from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study recently found that older adults who have used psychedelics tend to exhibit better cognitive function and fewer depressive symptoms.

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Older adults who have used psychedelics tend to exhibit better cognitive function and fewer depressive symptoms than those who have not, according to new research in the journal Gerontology & Geriatric Medicine outlined by PsyPost.

Researchers hypothesized that “the use of classic psychedelics and other hallucinogens would improve cognitive functions and reduce depressive symptoms in middle-aged and older adults.”

For the study, researchers analyzed data from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study, which investigates the midlife development of Americans in the areas of physical health, psychological well-being, and social responsibility. Researchers analyzed data from 2,503 study participants in 48 U.S. states with an average age of 64 years, and 55% were women. The data was collected via phone surveys and self-administered questionnaires submitted by mail, and participants reported their use of cannabis, LSD, and other hallucinogens such as peyote, ecstasy/MDMA, and mescaline. Participants were also assessed on their executive functioning and episodic memory, and tested for extended depressive symptoms.

“The current findings revealed that psychedelic use was associated with improved cognitive function, assessed by executive function, partially supporting our hypothesis; however, the same association was not evident with episodic memory. Further, psychedelic use was associated with a reduction in depressive symptoms. Although our participants were limited, the results corroborated earlier findings in a lesser-explored area of research.” — Excerpt from the study

Recent research into psychedelics has found that hallucinogens like psilocybin and MDMA show promise against treatment-resistant cases of depression and PTSD.

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