Usually, when Gwyneth Paltrow says something wildly inaccurate about health or wellness on goop, a chorus of "actually's" reverberates throughout the internet. But in a new interview with The New York Times, the actress and CEO addressed the dangerous pseudoscientific advice that occasionally appears on goop, explaining that it's never meant to be prescriptive. "Somehow gets translated into, 'Gwyneth says you should do this,'" she told The New York Times.
When asked what she sees as the "next big thing" in wellness, Paltrow gave a surprising answer: "I think how psychedelics affect health and mental health and addiction will come more into the mainstream," she said. After clarifying that she had never personally used psychedelics before, she said, "I mean there’s undeniably some link between being in that state and being connected to some other universal cosmic something." As it turns out, she might be onto something.
Just like Paltrow didn't invent yoga, she also didn't invent psychedelic drugs. Since the 1960s, people have contested their use for treating depression and anxiety. But promising new research suggests that using psychedelic drugs such as LSD, MDMA, psilocybin (aka "mushrooms"), and ayahuasca, in conjunction with psychotherapy can improve symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). This is still an emerging field, but is gaining mainstream attention from people looking for an alternative to antidepressants. Just yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration in the US approved a nasal spray that contains ketamine.
So, yeah, psychedelics might be the "big new thing" that Paltrow described. In The New York Times interview, she named "ibogaine, that shrub from Gabon" as one she had heard of. Ibogaine is a powerful psychedelic drug that occurs naturally in West Africa, and is used in rituals and healing ceremonies. However, ibogaine may significantly reduce withdrawal from opiates and even eliminate substance-related cravings, according to MAPS. For this reason, there's a lot of interest in researching how ibogaine can be used treat the opioid epidemic.
Paltrow's summation about psychedelics connecting people to a larger "cosmic something" isn't that off, either. Using hallucinogens, experts believe, helps people develop greater "levels of spirituality," which researchers believe improves emotional stability, and reduces symptoms of anxiety, depression, and disordered eating. There's also a more physiological change that takes place: Hallucinogenic drugs re-structure the function of neurons in the brain, which essentially "repairs" circuits that may malfunction in a person with anxiety or mood disorders, according to a 2018 study.
Whether or not this is exactly what Paltrow was referring to in the interview remains to be seen (on goop, likely). So, while this might seem like one more far-out thing she's promoting, it's worth knowing that it's kind of legit.