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Abstract

We sought to estimate the prevalence of lifetime psilocybin use among a national sample of US adults ages 18 and older and associated demographic/substance use correlates. Pooled data from the 2015–2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health were utilized among 168,650 individuals 18 years or older. An estimated 9.68% of individuals reported lifetime use of psilocybin. Differences were found among demographics, drug use, and sexual identity, with bisexual identification being associated with greater lifetime use. Nearly two-thirds of individuals who have ever used Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), methamphetamine, and/or heroin also reportedly used psilocybin. Findings from the present study can inform harm reduction efforts and behavioral health messaging.

Open access

Introduction

Once thought a rarely used drug, LSD use is steadily increasing among US adults. A greater understanding of social factors and psychological determinants leading to lifetime LSD use can assist health educators and professionals in treating this growing problem. This study analyzed psychosocial factors related to LSD use among a national sample of adults.

Methods

A secondary data analysis of the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health was performed.

Results

Results from the final multivariate logistic regression revealed that those who were male, African American or Hispanic, used alcohol, ecstasy, marijuana, inhalants, cocaine, and cigarettes before the age of 21 years, thought about suicide, got a kick out of doing things risky, and tested oneself to do risky things were more likely to use LSD.

Conclusions

This suggests that psychodynamic processes, for example, possible activation of emotional conflicts – can take place spontaneously – during ayahuasca intake in this particular setting. Some participants attributed symbolic meaning to the visionary content, which was more likely to take place in psychotherapeutically motivated clients. The specific setting influence as well as corresponding expectations of the participants in native wisdom could have considerable influence on experiences and interpretations, such as communication with entities as well as receiving personal teachings.

Open access