The “Acid Casualty” Myth

Findings of large-scale studies suggest that at the population level, the harms of classical psychedelics have been largely overstated:

We have all heard about the “acid casualty” myth: the popular idea that an otherwise healthy person might develop harmful uncontrolled or even permanent psychotic symptoms as a direct consequence of psychedelics use.

This is a prime example of why we should pay careful consideration to the difference between anecdotal evidence and scientific study. It is a reminder that a critical and unbiased scientific approach, despite the flaws and limitations intrinsic in any human enterprise, is still the best tool we have to distinguish fact from fiction.

Does this result mean we can claim psychedelics are 100% risk-free, perfectly safe, and surely beneficial for every single person on the planet? Probably not. Other studies have suggested that specific conditions or genetic predispositions (e.g. for schizophrenia) might put individuals at higher risk of developing adverse effects from psychedelics use. Let’s allow research to find out the whys and whats of health benefits, and possible risks, of these remarkable substances.

More on this topic: Protecting the human rights of people who use psychedelics

(Image from Getty Images/MattLyon)

This post courtesy of:

Marco Aqil
Founder, Amsterdam Psychedelic Research Association.
Biomedical Mathematics Master’s student, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
Theoretical Physics BScHons, University of Edinburgh ’16.


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