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50+ Surprising Facts & Statistics About Psychedelic Therapy

Important:

There’s a difference between "psychedelic psycho-therapy" and "psychedelic coaching." At Psychedelic Passage, we offer psychedelic coaching!
This impacts scope of work, level of support, and range of approaches.

Psychedelic therapy, once a fringe area of research and therapy, has been undergoing a renaissance in recent years. From its early experimentation in the mid-20th century to its modern-day resurgence, the field has been marked by groundbreaking discoveries, legal battles, and shifting public perceptions. 

This article dives into 50 surprising facts and statistics about psychedelic therapy, shedding light on its historical context, safety, efficacy, demographic insights, shifting public perceptions, research funding, economic impact, and current trends in decriminalization and legalization.

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Historical Context

1950s Research Boom

Between the 1950s and 1965, over 40,000 patients received LSD therapy in clinical settings. This period marked a significant era of exploration into the therapeutic potential of psychedelics.

Alcoholics Anonymous Founder Support

Many members of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) may not be aware that the organization’s founder, Bill Wilson, was an advocate of LSD. Wilson believed that the psychedelic experience could help achieve abstinence from alcohol, seeing it not as a contradiction but as a therapeutic tool.

Decline in Publication Rates

The 1971 prohibition of psychedelics led to a significant decline in publication rates for psychedelic research. This persisted for decades, as evidenced by a sharp drop in scientific literature featuring keywords like “LSD,” “PSILOCYBIN,” “PSYCHEDELICS,” or “HALLUCINOGENS.”

Safety and Efficacy

Low Addiction Potential

Psychedelics have a very low potential for addiction compared to substances like alcohol, nicotine, and opioids.

Minimal Toxicity

It’s virtually impossible to die from an overdose of LSD or psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms). This challenges the toxicological principle that “the dose makes the poison,” emphasizing that both the dosage and the context of use (“set and setting”) play crucial roles in the safety of psychedelics.

Lethal LSD Dose

For humans, the effective dose of LSD is extremely low (0.001-0.003 mg/kg). The estimated lethal dose could be up to 50,000-100,000 times the effective dose.

Extreme LSD Case

An extreme case involved a woman who accidentally snorted 55,000 micrograms (µg) of LSD—275 to 550 times the typical effective dose. She survived without any lasting health issues and even overcame an opiate addiction.

Lethal Psilocybin Dose

A high dose of psilocybin is around 30-40 mg. It would take consuming up to 17 kg of fresh mushrooms to reach a lethal dose for a 60 kg person.

Recommended Reading: Hofmann vs. Paracelsus: Do Psychedelics Defy the Basics of Toxicology?

Demographic Insights & Shifting Public Perceptions

Overall Increase in Hallucinogen Use

From 2015 to 2019, there was a notable rise in hallucinogen use in the U.S., with an increase of about 0.44%.  This means that if you had 1,000 people in 2015, about 4 more people out of those 1,000 started using hallucinogens by 2019.

Adult Hallucinogen Use

The use of hallucinogens among adults aged 26 and older grew significantly from 2002 to 2019. By 2019, over 3 million adults aged 26 and older were estimated to be using hallucinogens in the U.S. In simple terms, if you had 1,000 adults in 2015, about 4 or 5 more of them started using hallucinogens by 2019.

Adolescent Hallucinogen Use

Hallucinogen use among teenagers aged 12-17 years decreased substantially. Between 2002 and 2014, it dropped by 1.6%, and then by another 0.73% from 2015 to 2019. This means that in a group of 1,000 teenagers, about 16 fewer of them were using hallucinogens by 2014, and then about 7 fewer by 2019.

Psychedelics Through Aging

For each year older a person is, the likelihood of using psychedelic mushrooms decreases by about 8%.

Gender Use Comparisons

Males are 1.53 times more likely to use psychedelic mushrooms (PMs) than females.

Changing Attitudes

Public perception is shifting, with over 60% of Americans supporting the use of psychedelics for therapeutic purposes in 2023.

Recommended Reading: Adolescent and adult time trends in US hallucinogen use, 2002–19: any use, and use of ecstasy, LSD and PCP

Health Insurance as a Predictor

Those with health insurance are 50% less likely to use PMs.

Popularity in The West

Compared to those in the west, individuals living in the northeast, midwest, and south are significantly less likely to use PMs.

Weight and Health Conditions

Weight and Health Conditions

PM users are significantly less likely to be overweight compared to non-users.

Mental Health

PM users report higher levels of anxiety (average Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 score of 9.6 vs. 5.9) and depression (average PHQ-9 score of 11.2 vs. 6.8) compared to non-users.

Favorable Views

PM users are more likely to hold favorable views on the positive potential of PM use for treating various conditions. For example, 65.8% of PM users believe in its benefits for general mental health and well-being compared to 15.8% of non-users.

Treating Diagnosed Psychiatric Conditions

50.9% of PM users see PMs as beneficial for managing diagnosed psychiatric conditions, compared to 16.6% of non-users. PM use for diagnosed psychiatric conditions is reported by 31.8% of users.

Treating Self-Diagnosed Psychiatric Conditions

4.7% of PM users believe in the benefits for self-diagnosed psychiatric conditions, compared to 7.6% of non-users. PM use for self-diagnosed conditions is reported by 19.0% of users.

Reasons for Psychedelic Mushroom Use

The most common reason for PM use is for general mental health and well-being (63.6%).

Comorbidity Likelihood

People with more than one health condition are 1.42 times more likely to use psychedelic medicines.

Recommended Reading: Psychedelic Mushrooms in the USA: Knowledge, Patterns of Use, and Association With Health Outcomes

Research, Funding, and Economic Impact

Public Psychedelics Companies

By the end of 2022, there were around 50 publicly traded psychedelics companies.

Comparison with Big Pharma

The aggregate market cap of the entire public psychedelics sector was just over $2 billion at the end of 2022, compared to Pfizer’s market cap of approximately $266 billion.

Increased Funding

Venture capital investments in 2020 and 2021 totaled $31.2 million, compared to $49.5 million over the previous five years. Research funding has reached over $200 million in recent years.

High Burn Rates

Most public psychedelics companies exceeded the threshold for a concerning burn rate, with only three companies having market caps over $100 million by the end of 2022.

Market Growth

Despite the challenges, the U.S. market for psychedelics is projected to reach $6.85 billion by 2027, attracting significant interest from for-profit companies and investors.

Emerging Market

The global psychedelic drugs market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 16% from 2021 to 2028.

Ketamine Clinic Prevalence

Today, there are over 400 ketamine clinics in the U.S.

Projected Demand for Psychedelic Therapists

According to an estimate by the Boston Consulting Group, between 22,000 and 40,000 therapists certified in MDMA treatment will be necessary to care for 400,000 PTSD patients by 2031. 

Expanding this to the broader field of psychedelic medicine, treating one million patients annually by 2031 would demand the training of 55,000 to 100,000 new therapists within the next decade, representing about 10-17% of the current U.S. mental health workforce.

Decriminalization

Decriminalization in Progress

Today, there are approved or in-progress bills across 100 cities in the U.S. to decriminalize psychedelics.

Oakland, California

The City Council passed a resolution making the personal use and possession of certain psychedelics the lowest law enforcement priority.

Santa Cruz, California

The City Council adopted a resolution declaring the investigation and arrest of individuals involved with the personal use and possession of entheogenic plants and fungi to be among the lowest priorities for law enforcement.

Washington, DC

Initiative Measure No. 81 made non-commercial planting, cultivating, purchasing, transporting, distributing, and possessing entheogenic plants and fungi among the lowest enforcement priorities for the Metropolitan Police Department.

Denver, Colorado

The first city in the U.S. to deprioritize law enforcement for possession of psilocybin mushrooms.

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Passed a resolution making the investigation and arrest of individuals for the use and possession of entheogenic plants the lowest law enforcement priority.

Portland, Maine

The City Council passed a resolution decriminalizing the personal use and possession of natural psychedelics.

Somerville, Massachusetts

Approved a resolution making the use and possession of entheogenic plants the lowest law enforcement priority.

Seattle, Washington

Passed a resolution declaring that the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of anyone engaging in entheogen-related activities should be among the city’s lowest enforcement priorities.

Eureka, California

Voted unanimously to decriminalize psilocybin and other natural entheogens.

Washtenaw County, Michigan

Resolved that prosecutors must no longer file criminal charges for the use, possession, and cultivation of entheogenic plants.

Legalization

Oregon

Became the first state to legalize psilocybin-assisted therapy through Measure 109.

Colorado

Passed Proposition 122, legalizing the supervised use of specific psychedelics in treatment centers.

California

Senate Bill 58 aimed to legalize the possession, transportation, and use of certain natural psychedelics for personal or facilitated use by adults 21 years and older.

Connecticut

Earmarked funds for psychedelic-assisted therapy programs administering psilocybin and MDMA treatments.

New Jersey

Passed Senate Bill S3256, reducing the penalty for possession of psilocybin for personal use to a disorderly persons offense.

New York

Bill A8569 was introduced to create psilocybin service centers to provide treatment options for PTSD, depression, and other ailments.

Utah

Passed House Bill 167, creating a task force to investigate the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics.

Texas

Passed House Bill 1802, calling for a study on the therapeutic efficacy of psychedelics for treating mental health conditions.

Washington

SB 5660 aimed to legalize the supported adult use of psilocybin by people 21 years of age and older, similar to Oregon’s Measure 109.

Arizona

House Bill 2486 proposed appropriating $30 million for psilocybin research grants and establishing a psilocybin research advisory council.

Recommended Reading: Psychedelic Legalization & Decriminalization Tracker

The resurgence of interest in psychedelic therapy marks a significant shift in both the scientific community and public opinion. 

As research continues to unveil the potential benefits of psychedelics, and as legal frameworks adapt to accommodate these findings, we may be on the cusp of a new era in mental health treatment. 

Whether for therapeutic, spiritual, or personal growth purposes, psychedelics are steadily gaining recognition and acceptance.

Explore More About Psychedelic Therapy

For readers who are intrigued by the fascinating insights into psychedelic therapy, there is a wealth of related content to explore that delves deeper into various aspects of this transformative field.

These articles provide in-depth knowledge and practical advice, ensuring that you are well-informed and prepared for your journey into psychedelic therapy.

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Hi there! We sincerely hope that you’ve found valuable takeaways that resonate with your current intentions. To explore research-based education, stay updated with psychedelic news, and benefit from practical how-to articles, we encourage you to head over to our resources page.

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Psychedelic Passage offers confidence and peace of mind by alleviating the burden of having to guess who’s right for you. If you want to discover how Psychedelic Passage can help you, we empower you to learn more about our services and check out client testimonials from those who’ve gone before you.

Your healing path is uniquely yours, and our commitment is to serve you at every juncture. Psychedelic Passage: Your Psychedelic Concierge — The easy, legal way to find trustworthy psilocybin guides, facilitators and psychedelic experiences near you in the United States.

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At Psychedelic Passage, we offer professional 1-on-1 guidance and companionship on your journey of healing. We simply can't sit back and let Americans continue to sit in silent suffering trying to battle mental health issues within a broken health care system, all while knowing that effective alternatives exist. We stand for the sacred, at-home, ceremonial use of psychedelics for consciousness exploration, which we believe to be a fundamental human right.

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