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Majority of U.S. Adults Report Positive Cannabis, Psychedelic Drug Experiences

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As cannabis and psychedelics continue to experience a modern-day renaissance, with increased education and access to information surrounding their use and benefits, we’re collectively crafting new narratives after decades of inflammatory propaganda surrounding these substances.

Tired messaging of the past has suggested that cannabis and psychedelic use were one-way tickets to unpleasant and traumatic experiences, though we’re gradually moving away from these assertions, as research is finding these drugs can work to ease physical and mental trauma and stress, alongside many other potential benefits.

A new YouGov poll sheds even more light on the experiences of individuals with cannabis, psilocybin and other psychedelics like LSD and MDMA, finding that the majority of those who have tried the substances described their experiences as positive. 

As the government works to reschedule cannabis to the less restrictive Schedule III category and psychedelic research and reform continues to escalate across the country, the results offer further insight on today’s shifting attitudes surrounding plant medicine and psychedelic drugs.

U.S. Adults Report Positive Cannabis, Psychedelic Experiences Most

YouGov conducted the online poll April 25-28, 2024, comprised of 1,134 U.S. adult citizens. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification and current voter registration status.

Most participants had used cannabis (57%, including 42% who used it more than once). Psilocybin was the next most popular substance, with 20% reporting previous use, while 16% had tried LSD and 11% had tried MDMA. About half of people who had used each of those drugs said they had tried it more than once.

For each of the drugs, the majority of users said their experiences were “mostly positive” — specifically 57% of cannabis users, 65% of psilocybin users, 55% of LSD users and 56% of MDMA users. 

The next most popular response for all drugs was “equally positive and negative,” while those reporting “mostly negative” experiences for all drugs was lowest (20% for cannabis, LSD and MDMA and 8% for psilocybin).

Support for Cannabis, Psychedelic Legalization

The survey also asked respondents about their attitudes surrounding the legislative reform measures surrounding the drugs and whether they believed that they should be legalized.

The majority of respondents showed their support for cannabis legalization, with 60% in favor and 30% opposed, though far fewer said the same for the other drugs in the survey. Just 27% said they support legalizing psilocybin, 16% MDMA and 15% LSD.

Still, those who had tried each drug were more likely to support legalization than those who had not. 

Specifically, 78% of cannabis users support its legalization, 63% of psilocybin users support legal psilocybin and 55% of MDMA users support legal MDMA. LSD stood out in this respect, as 38% of LSD users said they supported legalization while 43% would oppose it.

The survey echoes the sentiments of other recent polls investigating the shifting modern-day attitudes surrounding cannabis and psychedelic drugs.

Monitoring Evolving Perceptions on Cannabis and Psychedelics

A number of recent polls reveal the progression surrounding consumer attitudes around cannabis and harm perception, with many revealing that Americans view cannabis as safer than using alcohol or tobacco.

Myriad polls have also shown strong support for cannabis legalization among American adults, with one recent Pew survey finding that 88% believe cannabis should be legal for medical or recreational use — 57% said it should be legal for both medical and recreational use. Most respondents also said that recreational cannabis reform was positive for the economy and makes criminal justice more fair.

Similarly, another recent poll found that 28% of Americans have used at least one of seven psychedelic drugs included in the questionnaire, with LSD, psilocybin and MDMA as the most popular (at 14%, 13% and 9% reporting use, respectively). The poll, also conducted by YouGov, nods to the changing trends surrounding psychedelic acceptance, saying that “recent shifts, both in policy and public opinion, suggest the tide in the United States may be turning toward increasingly favoring psychedelic drugs.”



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