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Polling

Momentive study: psychedelics

Momentive study: psychedelics

Key findings:

  • Nearly 2 in 3 (63%) U.S. adults support the legalization of psychedelics, especially for medicinal use, with interest in and support for legalization highest among younger generations and those experiencing mental health conditions
  • Poorer mental health and dissatisfaction with healthcare are associated with higher levels of optimism for psychedelics in treating mental health conditions
  • Psychedelics are seen as equally safe or safer than prescription medicine among 56% of U.S. adults, with a similar percentage (57%) perceiving them as an effective treatment for mental health conditions
  • Mental health treatment and wellness are the leading drivers of interest in trying psychedelics, while fear of side effects, possibility of a “bad trip”, and legality are among the main barriers to adoption in

Nearly 2 in 3 (63%) of U.S. adults support legalization of psychedelics

Overall, 63% of U.S. adults think that the use of psychedelics should be made legal in the U.S., with support for legalization of only medicinal use higher than personal and medicinal use (36% vs. 28%). Familiarity is a primary driver for support for psychedelics: 

  • 42% of those ‘not too familiar or not familiar at all’ do not believe psychedelics should be legalized for any type of use, compared with only 23% of those ‘somewhat or very familiar’
  • Despite lower support for legalization, those with lower familiarity show similar levels of support for medical use of psychedelics (38% of those not familiar vs. 34% of those familiar), while those familiar are 2.5 times more likely to support both personal and medicinal use (43% vs. 17%).

Younger age cohorts are more likely to support both recreational and medicinal legalization of psychedelics:

  • 75% of Gen Zers support legalization of psychedelics, with 38% supporting both personal and medicinal use, and 37% only for medical use
  • 69% of Millenials support legalization (36% for both recreational and medicinal, and 33% for medical use only)

Support for recreational legalization is also higher among adults diagnosed with mental health conditions: 37% of those with a mental health condition support legalization of medical-only usage of psychedelics, on par with those who do not have any such conditions, while legalization of recreational use is much higher among this group (37% vs 22%).

The majority (57%) of Americans perceive psychedelics as effective in treating mental health conditions, and nearly half (46%) of users report a positive impact on their wellbeing

The usage of psychedelics as a treatment for mental health condition sees broad support among the U.S. public, especially among younger age cohorts and those diagnosed with a mental health condition:

  • 2 in 3 Gen Zers (67%) and Millennials (66%) believe psychedelics are ‘very or somewhat effective’ in treating mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD, compared with 57% of Gen Xers and 47% of Boomers. 
  • 66% of those diagnosed with a mental health condition believe psychedelics to be effective, compared with 52% of those without a mental health condition

Those less satisfied with their health care experience are more likely to view psychedelics as effective, compared with those who are satisfied (65% vs 55%)

Users of psychedelics are largely satisfied with their experience, with only 13% saying that psychedelics have had a negative impact on their health or wellbeing; nearly half (46%) report a positive impact, while 38% report no impact. 

Demand for psychedelics as a complement or substitute for current treatments is high, with an overwhelming 84% of U.S. adults who take medicine to treat mental health issues and have tried psychedelics believing that they are an effective treatment. Moreover,  1 in 4 users who take medicine to treat mental health issues reporting a decline in their usage of Rx and treatments due to psychedelics,

3 in 10 (29%) U.S. adults show interest in medicinal usage of psychedelics if legalized, with patients with mental health conditions expressing strongest interest

Gen Zers and Millennials once again show greater openness toward trying out psychedelics  than older generations, both for medicinal and recreational use

  • Gen Zers show equal interested in both medicinal and recreational usage of psychedelics if legalized (35% and 34%)
  • Millennials show greater interest in medicinal usage of psychedelics (36% vs. 31% for recreational use
  • Only 28% of Gen Xers would be interested in trying out psychedelics for medicinal use, compared with only 19% for recreational usage

More than 4 in 10 (44%) patients with mental health conditions show interest in medical usage of psychedelics, bolstering support for psychedelics as an alternative treatment method for mental health conditions. Enthusiasm is even higher among patients who are dissatisfied with their health care experience (50% vs. 27% of those who are satisfied).

Psychedelics seen as equally or more safe than prescription medicine among 56% of U.S. adults

Psychedelics continue to face challenges with their perceived safety, compared with other substances such as alcohol, cannabis, cigarettes, but are seen favorably compared with prescription medicine.

  • 50% of U.S. adults believe they are less safe than alcohol, while only 42% think they are more or equally safe
  • 45% believe they are less safe than cannabis, while a similar percentage (47%) believe they are equally or more safe
  • 49% believe they are less safe than cigarettes, compared with 43% who think psychedelics are more or equally safe
  • More believe that psychedelics are more or equally safe as prescription medicine than less safe (56% vs. 36%)
  • Those taking prescription medicine to treat a mental health condition are more likely to perceive psychedelics as more or equally safe (68% vs 62%)

Mental health treatment and wellness are the leading drivers of interest in trying psychedelics, among both users and non-users

Among adults who have ever tried psychedelics, improving their mood is the leading appeal of psychedelic’s appeal (49%), followed closely by treating their mental health, including alleviating anxiety (45%), treating depression (41%), alleviating stress (43%), improving well-being (43%), and enhancing mindfulness and self-awareness (44%). One in three (33%) are drawn to psychedelics as an alternative to conventional treatment, and a similar percentage are drawn to experiencing spiritual experiences (32%) and increasing productivity and creativity (33%)

Fear of side effects, possibility of a bad trip, and legality among the leading worries for psychedelics usage

Among U.S. adults who have never used psychedelics, 39% say the fear of side effects is the most significant detractor in trying them out. Legality, fear of a bad trip, concerns surrounding dependence, and fear of overdose are also among the chief concerns.

Those who have used psychedelics express similar levels of concern surrounding psychedelics’ legality (41%), fear of a bad trip (42%), and side effects (38%).

More than 4 in 10 (42%)  U.S. adults show some familiarity with psychedelics

Men are more likely to be familiar with psychedelics than women (47% vs 37%). Familiarity is also higher among younger generations and higher income adults. 

  • 46% and 45% of Gen Z and Millennials, respectively, are ‘very or somewhat familiar’ with psychedelics, compared with 41% of Gen Xers, 39% of Boomers, and 28% of the Silent generation
  • 48% of those making six figures annually or more are aware of psychedelics, compared with just 43% of those making between $50 and $100k, and 39% of those making less than $50k per year

Those diagnosed with a mental health condition, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD are also more likely to be aware of psychedelics than those who are not (50% vs. 37%)

Read more about our polling methodology here