Interest in psychedelics has increased greatly in the last decade or so, as new studies into the treatment of various mental health conditions using these drugs are conducted. As more positive benefits are discovered, we have seen changes to laws that previously prohibited access to the use of psychedelics as well as the emergence of psychedelic NGOs and psychedelic startups.
In an effort to inform harm reduction and education programs that address illicit and legal use of psychedelics, researchers looked into information-seeking behaviors of individuals who used psychedelics. The study was led by Dr. Daniel Kruger, a researcher at the Institute for Social Research. Its findings were published in the “Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.”
The researchers were focused on examining the information sources used by individuals who used psychedelics in their natural environments and the degree to which they trusted this information. While official advice on the use of psychedelics by trained health professionals is scanty, we know that people who use psychedelics often engage in substantial gathering and sharing of information.
The researchers believe that the Schedule I classification of psychedelics has driven individuals to underground environments to seek information on harm reduction and guidance on how the drugs are to be used. For their research, the investigators carried out an anonymous online survey. They determined that users of psychedelics consulted different sources of information, all of which were not typical medical care and mainstream health systems.
Of the total study population, more than 80% had used at least two different psychedelics, with most of the participants having used the drugs at least once every six months in the last five years.
The researchers found that individual experiences and experimentation was the most common source of information on psychedelics for participants. Some also went to friends, websites, internet books and discussion forums as well as articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
In addition, the researchers found that fewer than 5% of the participants went to their primary healthcare providers, with an even smaller number admitting that they didn’t seek any information. Furthermore, the researchers observed that older individuals were more likely to seek information from psychedelic therapists, in comparison to younger participants.
In the report, Kruger noted that having trusted information sources was important as it heightened the likelihood of responsible and safe use. The researchers hope that their findings will help to better inform public health officials, policy makers and clinicians who work with psychedelic users.
Such studies showing how users of psychedelics are accessing information should give startups such as Compass Pathways PLC (NASDAQ: CMPS) plenty to think about regarding how best they can help members of the public gain access to reliable and timely information about this rapidly evolving industry.
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