Have you ever pondered if consuming psychedelics could help offset the negative consequences of long-duration space flight, which some hope could be possible in the not-too-distant future?
The authors’ theory proposes that psychedelics, specifically psychedelic mushrooms, may play a role in aiding extended space journeys.
“Ensuring astronauts’ physical and emotional well-being will unavoidably trump the need for technological innovation as the major obstacle in long-duration space travel,” write Dr. Leonard Lerer, founder of Back of the Yards Algae Sciences, and Jeet Varia, chief innovation officer. The company is dedicated to discovering new applications for algae and mycelia, which “exemplifies how the minute pieces of fungi may join to build a bigger whole.”
A 2021 evaluation of the impact of space travel on astronauts’ mental health discovered that “the dangers that astronauts may confront are not minimal, and the impacts on physical and mental health may be severe.”
Crew members “live in cramped environments with minimal social interactions and are separated from their families.” Meanwhile, their work is high-stakes and heavily scrutinized by the public.”
“Symptoms of emotional dysregulation, cognitive dysfunction, disturbance of sleep-wake rhythms, visual abnormalities, and major changes in body weight, together with morphological brain changes, are some of the most often reported occurrences during space missions,” the scientists said.
Another study, also published in 2021, looked for any links between lifetime classic psychedelic consumption and physical health markers. LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin are examples of classic psychedelics.
Respondents who reported “using a classic psychedelic at least once in their lifetime had much higher odds of greater self-assessed overall health and significantly lower odds of being overweight or obese versus having a normal weight,” according to user feedback.
According to the Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate, those who spend a lengthy time in space will have their muscles and bones atrophy, “particularly in the legs and lower back.” “In space, where gravity is extremely weak, posture may be maintained without standing on your legs, and there is no need to move around with your legs.” “If you spend a long time in space, your muscles weaken and your bone mass declines,” it says. According to the Canadian government, “studies have revealed that astronauts undergo up to a 20% loss of muscle mass on spaceflights lasting five to eleven days.” Loss of muscle mass equates to a loss of strength, which might be dangerous if an astronaut is forced to undertake a strenuous emergency procedure upon re-entry into the Earth’s gravitational field.”
“Psychedelics research is in the midst of a renaissance,” the authors write, “and psychedelics are being examined not just for their therapeutic potential in psychiatry, but also for their ability to promote neuroplasticity, modify the immune system, and reduce inflammation.” While the authors acknowledge that “there is no clear experimental evidence to support the function of hallucinogenic mushroom ingestion during space missions,” the paper claims that mycologist Paul Stamets agrees with them, as published in Scientific American.
Stamets is quoted as saying, “NASA and anyone else working and looking at the settlement of space, you should consider that psilocybin (psychedelic) mushrooms should be an essential part of your psychological tool kit for astronauts to be able to endure the solitude and challenges of space and isolation.” According to the authors of the new paper, “psychedelics may be to long-duration space flight in the twenty-first century what citrus fruits were to long-distance sea voyage in the eighteenth century – groundbreaking and facilitatory.”
- Space travel alters an astronaut’s body, which some say can benefit from psychedelics
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