Poll Says Nearly Half of Americans Already Support Psychedelic Legalization For Mental Health Conditions
Psychedelics, such as MDMA, LSD, and magic mushrooms, have unjustly been stigmatized for the last few decades.
But in the last few years, their importance in treating stubborn mental health conditions has been on the spotlight. This is incredibly significant, given how debilitating mental health disorders are for the people that struggle with them: conditions such as depression, PTSD, anxiety, and more make it difficult to live a normal life. In addition, mental illness is one of the most expensive medical conditions to treat in the United States – as well as all around the globe.
Furthermore, millions of people don’t find any relief from conventional mental health medications. Treatment-resistant conditions make it even harder for people to heal from it. This is why legalizing psychedelics is so important – not today, but yesterday.
Thankfully, more and more people are discovering just how beneficial these drugs are. They are no longer seen as the recreational drugs our grandparents tripped out to during the sixties and seventies. Psychedelic drugs are medicine – and Americans who know about their benefits do agree. There’s clearly more work to be done in increasing awareness and accessibility, but we’re getting there.
A recent survey was conducted by VeryWellMind in August 2022, polling around 1,800 American adults on their opinions regarding psychedelics. While only 15% responded favorably, 34% veered towards the negative side, and the remaining respondents either never heard of psychedelics or was neutral, around half of the respondents represented half of the population who supported using it for treating mental health disorders.
“Despite these knowledge and accessibility gaps, nearly half of Americans are open to the idea of using psychedelics for mental health conditions,” the study’s authors write.
“One in three Americans say they’d be more open to considering psychedelic-assisted treatment upon professional recommendation/administration or FDA approval,” they added.
The respondents were also asked if they would back the legalization of some or all drugs. Twenty-eight percent said they would support legalization to use psychedelics for spiritual purposes while 26% said they would back its use for recreation. Additionally, 45% of participants said they would back legalization of psychedelics for treating mental health disorders when used under the guidance of a professional, while 61% of those who have worked with a therapist within the last 30 days support legalization of psychedelics for mental health reasons.
“According to our survey, consumers may welcome the opportunity to explore psychedelics as part of their treatment,” explains Amy Morin, LCSW, VeryWellMind’s Editor In Chief during a press release. “One in 5 people who are in therapy said they would try psychedelics specifically because other treatment options have left them feeling discouraged, signaling that people are interested in alternative treatment options,” she added.
“When it comes to psychedelics, Americans are cautious, but curious. Better scientific and psychological understanding of these drugs, their effects, risks, and potential benefits will be the first step toward wider acceptance, continued decriminalization and, ultimately, normalization as a mental health treatment option when appropriate,” the authors concluded.
Current Status of Psychedelics: Still Many Hurdles To Jump Through
A handful of states and counties around the United States have either decriminalized or legalized some psychedelics, such as magic mushrooms, ketamine, and LSD. They are also widely available in some cities, making it easy for adults to access these drugs and microdose as they need or even seek out professional therapeutic help to use it under medical supervision.
There’s no doubt about it: psychedelics are everywhere these days, even if it isn’t completely legal. One can even order shroom chocolates online or ketamine, and have it delivered straight to your doorstep. Big companies are acknowledging its benefits – and lucrativeness – such that they are pouring millions and billions of dollars into research and development of psychedelic-based drugs.
But the benefits of psychedelic drugs are not new, by any means: psychedelics have been used by ancient civilizations, and much more than we know. Indigenous tribes and cultures around the world have had use for plant-based psychedelics, also known as entheogens, for many centuries. Then Albert Hoffman developed LSD, which also has potent therapeutic benefits.
However, the federal government still does not see the medical benefit of psychedelics, similar to how they see cannabis despite the fact that most states have already legalized marijuana in one form or another. Some of the world’s top universities are pouring serious funds into more research, especially to study psilocybin, LSD, MDMA, and ketamine. Not surprisingly, most of these studies have found that these psychedelic drugs are indeed promising for mental health disorders – as well as some physical ones too.
For now, all major psychedelics, with the exception of ketamine, are listed as a Schedule 1 substance, just like cannabis. Hopefully, the clinical trials being conducted to prove their benefits and efficacy will help pave the way for legalization. Decriminalization is equally important as it’s typically the first step forward toward full legalization.
As more people change their minds about psychedelics thanks to growing research, the stigma that these drugs have suffered for several decades will eventually fade. If all goes well, the psychedelic market alone could be worth some $6.85 billion by 2027.
Psychedelics are well on their way to becoming mainstream: there is no doubt about it. Individuals, scientists, and even Big Pharma are already seeing how powerful they can be in changing people’s lives as a whole. Perhaps one day, we may even see psychedelics on the same legal status as alcohol – this would be significantly beneficial and much better than alcohol ever was.
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