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Enhancing Cognitive Function and Mental Well-being in Older Adults: The Impact of Psychedelics

Recent research, highlighted in Gerontology & Geriatric Medicine by PsyPost, suggests that older adults who use psychedelics experience improved cognitive function and reduced depressive symptoms. This study aimed to explore how classic psychedelics and hallucinogens affect cognitive abilities and mental well-being in middle-aged and older individuals.

The study, utilizing data from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study, involved 2,503 participants across 48 U.S. states, with an average age of 64 years, of whom 55% were female. Through a combination of phone surveys and self-administered questionnaires, participants disclosed their use of substances like cannabis, LSD, peyote, ecstasy/MDMA, and mescaline. Researchers assessed executive functioning, episodic memory, and depressive symptoms.

The results revealed a significant link between psychedelic use and enhanced executive function, supporting the initial hypothesis. However, this connection was not as clear regarding episodic memory. Additionally, individuals who reported psychedelic use showed a reduction in depressive symptoms, aligning with previous research findings in this relatively unexplored domain.

Notably, recent studies have underscored the therapeutic potential of psychedelics like psilocybin and MDMA in addressing treatment-resistant depression and PTSD. These findings illuminate the promising role of hallucinogens in managing mental health in older adults.

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