A study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that race and ethnicity moderate the associations between the use of psychedelic drugs and major depressive episodes in a large, nationally representative sample of U.S. adults.

Grant M. Jones, a clinical psychology PhD student at Harvard University, analyzed data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and found that MDMA and psilocybin use were associated with lowered odds of lifetime depression, past-year depression, and past-year severe depression among non-Hispanic Whites.

“It doesn’t mean that psychedelics have weaker effects for treating mental health disorders for racial and ethnic minorities,” said Jones. He believes that other, unaccounted factors could affect these outcomes.

However, the use of MDMA and psilocybin was only associated with lowered odds of past-year depression among Hispanic participants and was unrelated to depression among Black, Asian, and multiracial participants.

Among Indigenous participants, the use of MDMA and psilocybin was associated with increased odds of lifetime depression and past-year depression. These findings suggest that race and ethnicity may play a role in the effects of psychedelic drugs on mental health.

Photo by Dnessa Franklin on Unsplash

By John Biggs

John Biggs is an entrepreneur, consultant, writer, and maker. He spent fifteen years as an editor for Gizmodo, CrunchGear, and TechCrunch and has a deep background in hardware startups, 3D printing, and blockchain. His work has appeared in Men’s Health, Wired, and the New York Times.

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