By Charles Kim
June 5, 2021
Americans seem to be warming up to the idea of using psychedelic drugs to treat a variety of medical conditions, according to a recent poll conducted by USA Rx.
Thirty-nine percent of both Republicans and Democrats now favor the use of some drugs that alter perception, mood, and affect cognitive function to treat a variety of medical conditions including major depression.
Known as psychedelics, drugs like marijuana, Psilocybin (mushrooms), Ayahuasca, Peyote, DMT, LSD, and Ketamine have been used throughout history in various rituals and are generally considered safe by experts, according to a 2016 paper by David Nichols for the National Institute of Health.
According to the paper, these types of drugs are “generally considered physiologically safe and do not lead to dependence or addiction.”
More than 70 percent of respondents approved marijuana for “any use,” followed by mushrooms at 63 percent, Ayahuasca, Peyote, Salvia divinorum and DMT, between 53-59 percent, DXM, and LSD, at 46 and 45 percent respectively, and Ketamine and PCP rounding out the bottom at 29 and 24 percent, according to the poll.
Sixty-nine percent of respondents said medical research changed their minds, compared to 61 percent who cited clinical trials as the reason for the shift in their opinion. Additionally, 27 percent said legalization of the substances was the reason for their shift in perspective, while 19 percent said family and friends influenced their choice.
Only 10 percent of respondents said that cultural pressure or changes would change their minds on using the drugs.
A California bill to decriminalize these types of drugs passed the state Senate on June 3, according to Los Angeles television station KTLA-5 news.
The bill allows for possession of certain “hallucinogenic” drugs such as magic mushrooms, MDMA, LSD, ketamine, and ibogaine, for people over the age of 21, but doesn’t make the sale of them legal, according to the report.
The bill must now go to the State Assembly for consideration.
Ketamine was used as an anesthetic on the battlefield and in operating rooms for years but is now being prescribed in much smaller doses to treat depression, according to a report posted on Harvard University’s blog in 2019.
The “drug can rapidly reduce suicidality (life-threatening thoughts and acts) and relieve other serious symptoms of depression,” said the report.
At the time the article was written, some 16 million adults in the United States had an episode of depression, and suicide rates in 25 states had increased by 30 percent.