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Almost half of Americans support legalizing psychedelic treatments for mental health

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:


  • There is an increasing push for more research on psychedelic treatments for mental health and their possible legalization.
  • Most psychedelics are still listed as Schedule I, which indicates a high abuse risk with no medical use.
  • But psychiatrists noted that some substances can be a useful accompaniment to talk therapy sessions.

About 45 percent of Americans support the legalization of some psychedelic treatments for mental health, provided that they are administered under medical supervision, according to a recent survey from VeryWellMind.

Many of the substances are still classified as Schedule I in the United States, meaning that they are listed as having a high abuse risk with no medical use. But there has been an increasing push for more research on the substances and their potential use for treatment.

In August 2022, a survey of 181 U.S. psychiatrists found that many disagreed with the federal classification of some psychoactive substances and hoped for an update.

A more recent survey of over 1,800 American adults showed that only 15 percent viewed psychedelics positively, 34 percent had a negative view, while the remaining half had a neutral view or had never heard of psychedelics.

The authors noted that there are “knowledge and accessibility gaps,” but that “under the right circumstances, nearly half of Americans are open to the idea of using psychedelics for mental health conditions.”

According to survey data, half of Americans who were recently in therapy have heard of psychedelic treatments. About 34 percent of Americans know of psychedelic treatments for mental health, while 20 percent know of psychedelic treatments for specific conditions such as PTSD and depression.

About 28 percent favored legalizing some or all psychedelics for religious or spiritual purposes, while 26 percent favored legalization for recreational purposes.

The authors found that “One in three Americans say they’d be more open to considering psychedelic-assisted treatment upon professional recommendation/administration or FDA approval.”

Some promising psychedelic treatments include ketamine, MDMA, and psilocybin, which is the active ingredient found in “magic mushrooms.”

Most trials that look into psychedelics employ psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, which includes talk therapy sessions with professionals.

The use of some psychedelics has already been decriminalized in several U.S. cities. Oregon is set to be the first state to legalize the clinical use of psilocybin in January.

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Ketamine is currently the only psychedelic treatment that received approval from the Food and Drug Administration, with the specific indication that it will be used for treatment-resistant depression.

“When it comes to psychedelics, Americans are cautious but curious,” the authors noted. They stressed the importance of a “better scientific and psychological understanding of these drugs, their effects, risks, and potential benefits,” to help foster “wider acceptance, continued decriminalization, and, ultimately, normalization as a mental health treatment option when appropriate.”

The authors expressed hope that more psychedelic treatments for mental health conditions can be approved, but noted that there will still be hurdles regarding accessibility and cost.

Source: The Hill

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