'Psychedelics and MDMA': Musk's solution to the US mental health crisis
Elon Musk proposed the use of psychedelic drugs to help ease mental health spending in the US
Musk had earlier also spoken in favour of psychedelics
A large chunk of those experiencing mental health issues in the US do not have access to treatment
Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, who had earlier infamously smoked marijuana on camera, has now proposed that psychedelic drugs, including ecstasy or MDMA, could be one of the potential solutions to the mental health crisis in the US.
Musk's comment, characteristically, came during a Twitter exchange, this time, sparked by a question from user Doug Drysdale [@insidepharma].
"Have you looked at the pharmacoeconomic potential of psychedelics to massively reduce the $2.5T cost of mental health? Wall Street is missing out," Drysdale asked Musk on the micro-blogging platform, eliciting a response from the world's richest person.
"Psychedelics and MDMA can make a real difference to mental health, especially for extreme depression and PTSD," wrote Musk, adding, "We should take this seriously."
Notably, this is not the first time Musk has advocated the use of psychedelics as an alternative to prescribed anti-depressant drugs: earlier in April, the 50-year-old had written, "I’ve talked to many more people who were helped by psychedelics & ketamine than SSRIs & amphetamines."
While the billionaire's proposition may sound preposterous, Musk isn't completely wrong: indeed, according to a 2020 study by Johns Hopkins researchers, the psychedelic substance psilocybin, coupled with supportive psychotherapy, helped produce "rapid and large reductions in depressive symptoms, with most participants showing improvement and half of study participants achieving remission through the four-week follow-up."
Given scientific evidence on the benefits of psychedelic use on depression, Musk's proposed solution may indeed help some: according to Mental Health America (MHA), as many as 27 million adults in the US with mental health issues do not have access to treatment, while as many as 50 million adults experienced mental health illnesses since the COVID-19 pandemic began.