Use of psychedelic drugs remains prevalent in the US

April 23, 2013, Faculty of 1000

An article published in F1000Research, and approved for indexing in PubMed and other major bibliographical databases, estimates that there were approximately 32 million users of psychedelic drugs in the United States in 2010.

In their article "Over 30 million psychedelic users in the United States", Teri S Krebs and Pål-Ørjan Johansen from the Department of Neuroscience at Norwegian University of Science and Technology, use data from a randomly-selected sample of over 57,000 individuals surveyed for the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), to estimate of psychedelic use. The authors estimate that approximately 32 million people have used LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), psilocybin ("magic mushrooms"), or mescaline (peyote and other cacti) in their lifetime. This includes 17% of US adults aged 21 to 64 years. The highest rate of psychedelic use was in the 30 to 34 age group, with an overall rate of 20%, or 26% of males and 15% of females.

"Lifetime use of psychedelics doesn't seem to have changed much since the sixties - psychedelics continue to be widely used in the US and worldwide," the researchers say.

The mechanisms of action, subjective effects, and risk profile of the classical serotonergic psychedelics, distinguish them from other drugs, the authors wrote.

"Psychedelics are different from other drugs, in that they are not known to be physically harmful or cause addiction or compulsive use. Experts agree that psychedelics are less harmful than alcohol and most other , although psychedelics can elicit anxiety and confusion during the effects", the researchers say.

The authors estimated that were more likely to have used LSD and mescaline, whereas younger adults were more likely to have used "magic mushrooms". In addition, the authors note that use of "" is known to have increased since the 1970s.

"People often report mystical experiences as a major reason for using psychedelics. Archaeological evidence shows that psychedelic plants have been used in the Americas for over 5000 years, and currently around 300,000 people in the US enjoy a recognized religious freedom right to use psychedelics." Krebs and Johansen said.

Explore further: fMRI brain imaging illuminates magic mushrooms' psychedelic effects

More information: Over 30 million psychedelic users in the United States [v1; ref status: indexed, http://f1000r.es/w8] F1000Research 2013, 2:98 (doi: 10.12688/f1000research.2-98.v1)

Related Stories

fMRI brain imaging illuminates magic mushrooms' psychedelic effects

January 23, 2012
Brain scans of people under the influence of the psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, have given scientists the most detailed picture to date of how psychedelic drugs work. The findings of two studies being ...

Sobered up using LSD

March 8, 2012
Forty years ago, LSD was used in the treatment of alcoholics - with good results. Perhaps it's time to look at it again?

Study to look at the impact of legal alternatives to illegal drugs

November 14, 2012
The use of legal substances that mimic the effects of illegal drugs appears to be on the rise in Australia, yet little is known about their long-term impact on users.

Drug use in 50- to 64-year-olds has increased 10-fold in England since 1993

April 5, 2012
Until now, illicit drug use has not been common in older people. However, it is likely to become more common as generations that use drugs more frequently reach an older age.

Your brain on 'shrooms: fMRI elucidates neural correlates of psilocybin psychedelic state

February 29, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Psychedelic substances have long been used for healing, ceremonial, or mind-altering subjective experiences due to compounds that, when ingested or inhaled, generate hallucinations, perceptual distortions, ...

Recommended for you

Common use of antipsychotics shown ineffective for delirium in intensive care patients

October 22, 2018
Critically ill patients in intensive care units (ICUs) did not benefit from two antipsychotic drugs used to treat delirium, according to a large clinical trial funded by the National Institute on Aging, part of the National ...

Medicating distress: Risky sedative prescriptions for older adults vary widely

October 18, 2018
Despite years of warnings that older adults shouldn't take sedative drugs that put them at risk of injury and death, a new study reveals how many primary care doctors are still prescribing them, how often, and exactly where.

Medical management of opioid-induced constipation differs from other forms of condition

October 17, 2018
Traditional laxatives are recommended as first-line agents to treat patients with a confirmed diagnosis of opioid-induced constipation (OIC), according to a new guideline from the American Gastroenterological Association ...

Research assesses geographic distribution of new antibiotics following market introduction

October 16, 2018
There is a growing need for new antibiotics to help combat the looming threat of antimicrobial resistance. According to a new study conducted by researchers at the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) with ...

Health insurer policies may discourage use of non-opioid alternatives for lower back pain

October 5, 2018
Public and private health insurance policies in the U.S. are missing important opportunities to encourage the use of physical therapy, psychological counseling and other non-drug alternatives to opioid medication for treating ...

Opioid overdoses, depression linked

October 3, 2018
The link between mental health disorders and substance abuse is well-documented. Nearly one in 12 adults in the U.S is depressed, and opioid-related deaths are skyrocketing. As these numbers continue to climb, some mental ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.