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Apart from brief research that was carried out in the 1960s, scientists don’t know a lot about the underlying mechanisms that allow psychedelics to deliver their mental health benefits. To help bridge this crucial knowledge gap, several institutions have teamed up to survey the Canadian public on psychedelics.
Called the Canadian Psychedelic Survey (CPS), the poll was cosponsored by Psygen Industries, SABI Mind and MAPS PBC, and designed with the aid of academic researchers from top universities and clinicians. The 655-question survey was mainly concerned with collecting data on the characteristics of psychedelics, their patterns of use and public access to hallucinogens.
It specifically focused on DMT, LSD, MDMA, Salvia divinorum, mescaline, psilocybin, ibogaine and ayahuasca. These are among the many psychedelic drugs that have exhibited medical potential against mental health disorders in initial studies and based on anecdotal evidence.
The researchers wanted to collect real-world data on the way Canadians use psychedelics, something clinicians and scientists across the world are sorely missing. They collected data on patterns of therapeutic and recreational use and the connection between hallucinogens such as LSD to mental health, headaches, mindfulness and the use of other drugs.
Aside from helping to alleviate the symptoms of mental conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and treatment-resistant depression, psychedelics have also shown that they can help patients to address substance use disorders.
After tabulating their results, the researchers found that LSD, MDMA and psilocybin were the most popular psychedelics. Survey results show that 92.3% of participants had used psilocybin at least once and 59.1% had consumed the psychedelic within the past year. On the other hand, MDMA and LSD trailed the most popular psychedelics with slightly more than 60% using them once and 25 percent using them in the past year.
Ibogaine, which can act as a mild stimulant in small doses and help to reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms in larger doses, was the least-used psychedelic with only 2.3% using it at least once and 1% consuming it in the past 23 months. In addition, 76.5% of the participants reported using psychedelics for fun, 73.3% used them for self-exploration, 60.5% for personal growth, and 62.4% to improve their mental well-being.
The survey also showed that 82% of the participant pool said that their psychedelic experience resulted in “lifetime intense positive experiences.” Only 15.2% said they accessed psychedelics through the black market or a street dealer while 62.8% gained access via a friend or acquaintance, and 48.1% reported getting psychedelics through the internet sometimes. More than 56% reported that they preferred to get psychedelics in a physical brick-and-mortar shop, 50.6% would rather gain access through medical professionals or clinics, and 64% of the participant pool preferred purchasing psychedelics online if the option was available.
The findings of this survey may give psychedelics startups such as Seelos Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: SEEL) a few things to think about as they adapt their long-term strategies to the changing realities of the rapidly growing market for psychedelics-based treatments.
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