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Nearly Half of Americans Support Legalization of Psychedelics for Mental Health Conditions

New survey shows 1 in 3 Americans currently in therapy are willing to try psychedelics to help with mental health.
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Verywell Mind has released a new survey, Psychedelics & Mental Health, examining Americans’ awareness and opinions of psychedelics used in the context of mental health treatment. The survey was conducted as research from the past year suggests options such as ketamine and psilocybin show promising results in treating various conditions including addiction, depression, and PTSD. Additionally, the growing influx of psychedelic-assisted therapy, such as online ketamine-therapy providers, has made new treatments more available than ever before.

The survey shows awareness and acceptance of psychedelic therapy overall was greater among those currently in therapy, but others are catching on. Thirty-six percent of Americans who have seen a therapist in the last 30 days feel positively about psychedelics being used as part of a treatment for mental health (compared to 24 percent overall), and 34 percent would be willing to try psychedelics as part of treatment for a mental health condition (compared to 17 percent overall). Concerning access, 45 percent of those surveyed say they’d support legalization of at least some psychedelics for treatment of a mental health condition under the supervision of a professional, and they’d be more likely to consider taking psychedelics if they were recommended by a doctor or therapist (35 percent), or if the specific drug were FDA-approved (30 percent).

“In 2019, the FDA approved ketamine for the treatment of depression, and since then, a few cities and states have enacted legislation that may allow other psychedelics to be used for mental health treatment in the near future,” says Amy Morin, LCSW, editor-in-chief of Verywell Mind. “According to our survey, consumers may welcome the opportunity to explore psychedelics as part of their treatment. One in five 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.”

Findings and analysis of the survey can be found on Verywell Mind, detailing sentiments around the use and impact of psychedelic therapy as viable mental health treatment options. Some of the most significant survey results include:

Awareness and acceptance are slowly growing:

  • Over 1 in 3 Americans (34 percent) have heard about psychedelics being used as treatment for a mental health condition.
  • 29 percent of Americans have heard of psychedelics being used to treat a specific condition.
  • The most common conditions Americans associate with psychedelics are Depression (20 percent) and PTSD (20 percent).
  • Among those who’ve seen a therapist in the last 30 days, 1 in 4 have heard about psychedelics being used for mental health from a mental health professional (24 percent) and word of mouth (23 percent), while 1 in 5 have learned about it on social media (22 percent).

Americans support legality of psychedelics for mental health treatment but have some hesitancy remains:

  • 45 percent say they’d support legalization of at least some psychedelics for treatment of a mental health condition under the supervision of a professional.
  • 23 percent of Americans would be more open to trying psychedelics for mental health if they’re legal.
  • Support for legalization for mental health purposes is greatest among those who have seen a therapist in the last 30 days (61 percent).
  • For each of the individual psychedelics, overall support is around 1 in 5 (much smaller than cannabis which is 3 in 4).

Americans more open to psychedelics if recommended by a doctor or therapist:

  • Americans would be more likely to consider taking psychedelics, as part of treatment for a mental health condition, if they were recommended by a doctor or therapist (35 percent), if the specific drug were FDA-approved (30 percent), also if they were taking them in the office of a mental health or medical professional (30 percent).
  • Among those who’ve seen a therapist in the last 30 days, 46 percent said they’d be more likely to consider upon doctor recommendation and 45 percent would be more likely to consider if FDA approved.
  • While 40 percent agree that people should only use psychedelics under the supervision of a mental health or medical professional, another 36 percent also feel not enough is known about psychedelics to use them as treatment for mental health conditions.

Verywell Mind surveyed over 1,800 Americans ages 18 and older and across a wide range of demographics including age, race, income, geographic location, and sexual orientation.

About The Author
julieKeller_author-1

Julie is the co-founder of Well Defined and a longtime influencer and advocate in the wellness world. Along with her work at Well Defined, she is an executive recruiter and marketing specialist for Hutchinson Consulting. She is also a consultant and content strategist for numerous wellness brands. She is the former editor-in-chief and publisher of American Spa and was named a 2019 Folio Top Woman in Media in the Industry Trailblazers category and a 2018 winner of ISPA’s Innovate Award. She is also a seasoned journalist, specializing in spa, travel, health, fitness, wellness, sustainability, and beauty. She has been published in Departures, ForbesTraveler.com, E! Online, Gayot.com, Insider’s Guide to Spas, Luxury Travel Advisor, Marin Magazine, Ocean Home, Smart Meetings, Spa Asia, and Travel Agent.