Psychoactive drug therapies used under professional supervision to treat mental health conditions have garnered increasing attention both from researchers and the general public alike in recent years. Psychedelic therapy stands out as an area of growing interest both for experts within academia as well as general audiences. As this emerging field continues to develop, public perceptions, attitudes and understanding play an integral part in its acceptance and development.
To accurately capture this perspective, we conducted an in-depth survey with 100 respondents from within the US population. We conducted this survey to gain public awareness, initial feelings, perceived benefits, concerns, potential uses, beliefs in its future use and beliefs about psychedelic therapy services offered by companies as well as respondents’ willingness to invest in such companies offering these services as well as opinions about further research needed in this area. The report provides an in-depth analysis and summary of survey results.
Summary of Findings
Our survey findings provide a snapshot of attitudes and perceptions towards psychedelic therapy among US-based respondents. A majority (64%) have heard about psychedelic therapy, yet their initial feelings toward it vary; some hold positive (27%) or neutral (28%) sentiments while another significant portion (29%), who lack sufficient information, remain uncertain or have an unclear impression about its effects.
Regarding willingness to try psychedelic therapy if it were available, 52 percent of respondents indicated they might consider it; however, only 16 percent confirmed their willingness. This indicates there is some openness towards this form of treatment but there may also be reservations and need for more convincing proof of its safety and effectiveness.
Asked why they considered psychedelic therapy, respondents identified three main drivers as reasons to do so: its potential effectiveness (29%), preferring innovative treatment options (25%), and recommendations from healthcare providers (17%). This underscores the significance of effectiveness and innovation when making healthcare choices as well as influence of healthcare providers.
Respondents also expressed a range of reservations about psychedelic therapy, with novelty/unfamiliarity (33%) and potential side effects (33%) being the top two concerns. This highlights the need for additional information and evidence-based data in order to address such fears, and build confidence in this form of treatment.
Respondents were most likely to purchase safe and effective psychedelic therapy products; 44% or 19% said they were somewhat or very likely. When asked the amount they would spend for one psychedelic therapy session, most indicated less than $100 as their budget, suggesting demand for affordable access to this therapy.
As for the future, respondents were divided over whether psychedelic therapy would become a mainstream mental health treatment option, with 42% uncertain but 39% believing so (39%). Uncertainty also extended to the idea of investing in a psychedelic therapy company: 37% were either uncertain about this matter (37% were unwilling or 31% willing).
Notably, 71% of participants believed more research and development should be invested in the area of psychedelic therapy, signaling its immense value and need for further exploration and study.
In summation, although respondents in the US demonstrate an adequate awareness and interest in psychedelic therapy, their attitudes regarding it remain uncertain. As such, more research, information dissemination, and evidence-based reassurances about its safety and efficacy must be carried out to increase public confidence and acceptance of it.
Detailed Survey Results:
In this survey, 58% of respondents had heard of psychedelic therapy, suggesting it has gained some acceptance within society. Yet 42% still do not know about it and could benefit from additional education on its benefits and risks.
As such, more public outreach efforts must take place to raise awareness regarding potential benefits and risks of this form of treatment.
Respondents had mixed initial perceptions of psychedelic therapy; 23% expressed positive feelings, while 31% held neutral views; while 17% held negative opinions and 29% had no opinion at all.
These results demonstrate that while some people are open and optimistic about psychedelic therapy, many remain uncertain or harbor negative opinions that require further education to address any misconceptions and/or concerns that arise from its practice.
When asked whether they would consider using psychedelic therapy for mental health treatment, 17% responded that they definitely considered it, 50% indicated possible consideration and 16% and 17% were unlikely or definitely disinterested in doing so.
These results show significant potential interest in this field while at the same time showing substantial reservations about it among some individuals.
Of those willing to consider psychedelic therapy, the top reasons were its potential effectiveness (29%) and trying out innovative treatment options (25%). Fewer respondents were likely to consider it due to being recommended by healthcare providers (17%) or knowing someone with positive results (13%).
This suggests individuals are motivated by its potential advantages over competing approaches as well as curiosity over novel options.
When considering trying psychedelic therapy, respondents most frequently voiced four main worries. They included novelty/unknownness (33%), potential side effects (33%), legal issues (18%) and using psychoactive substances (17%)
These issues require further education and transparency regarding these aspects of therapy in order to alleviate these worries.
18% of respondents were very likely or somewhat likely to purchase a safe and effective product related to psychedelic therapy; 42% were somewhat likely; while 21-19% weren’t very likely or weren’t likely at all.
This indicates potential market interest while still harboring reservations regarding such products.
Most respondents (45%) would be willing to spend less than $100 for a psychedelic therapy session, with 18% willing to spend between $100-$500, 16% willing to go from $500-1K and only 9% considering this form of therapy as cost becomes an important consideration for many when making their decisions.
Cost is an integral consideration when weighing options like psychedelic therapy.
39% of respondents believed psychedelic therapy could become mainstream treatment for mental health in the future, while 17% did not believe so, and 44% were uncertain.
Thus there exists a moderate level of optimism while also acknowledging uncertainty – suggesting more conclusive research and public education on this subject are necessary to create greater certainty around its future development.
When asked whether they would consider investing in a company offering psychedelic therapy services, 33% said yes; 30% declined and 37% were uncertain; this indicates some interest but also indicates some level of uncertainty within this field of investment.
This indicates a considerable portion of respondents may remain uncertain due to perceived risks and perceived uncertainties surrounding this industry.
Respondents were clear on whether more research and development should be invested into psychedelic therapy; 77% agreed with this statement while only 9% disagreed with it and 24% weren’t sure.
This suggests not only an appreciation of its potential value, but also an appetite for scientific study to verify its safety and efficacy.
Insights and Recommendations
Based on our survey findings, we suggest the following strategies for the psychedelic industry:
1. Increase Public Education and Awareness: Given that more than one-third (36%) of respondents had not heard about psychedelic therapy and many (29%) are uncertain of their initial feelings, increasing public education is necessary. This could include informative campaigns, webinars, workshops or collaboration with mental health organizations in disseminating reliable evidence-based information regarding this practice.
2. Strengthen Research and Development: According to our survey respondents (71%), more research should be invested into psychedelic therapy, emphasizing the need for scientific investigation of its safety, effectiveness, potential side effects, and long-term impacts. Industry should prioritize investing in this kind of research in conjunction with academic institutions, healthcare organizations and research agencies where possible.
3. Engage Healthcare Providers: Given that 17% of respondents indicated they would consider psychedelic therapy if recommended by healthcare professionals, it would be advantageous for the industry to establish more meaningful partnerships with healthcare professionals. This could involve providing them with up-to-date, evidence-based information about psychedelic therapy; offering professional training opportunities on this treatment option and encouraging them to discuss it with suitable patients.
4. Address Concerns Regarding Novelty and Side Effects: As novelty and potential side effects were two of the top concerns (both 33%), industry should proactively address them by communicating openly about therapy sessions – what can patients expect, managing side effects appropriately and any safety precautions taken during therapy sessions.
5. Create Affordable Treatment Options: As 45% of respondents indicated a willingness to spend less than $100 on psychedelic therapy sessions, it’s vital for the industry to develop affordable options – this may involve sliding scale fees, insurance partnerships or fundraising for treatment subsidies.
6. Increase Confidence in Psychedelic Therapy’s Future: With respondents still uncertain if psychedelic therapy could become mainstream mental health treatments, industry should strive to build confidence in its future by regularly sharing positive outcomes and success stories, showcasing research advancements, and noting endorsements from key figures within healthcare and mental health advocacy.
7. Attract Potential Investors: With 30% of respondents open to investing in companies offering psychedelic therapy services, the industry must devise plans to engage potential investors. This may involve sharing promising research findings or business growth plans or showing how the industry is taking steps toward creating a sustainable, impactful future.
These recommendations aim to increase awareness and understanding of psychedelic therapy, address key concerns associated with it, make the therapy more accessible and affordable, and build trust in its future. By adhering to them, the psychedelic industry can work toward greater public acceptance of this innovative treatment option.
The respondents ranged in age from 18-24 years old, providing insights into younger adults’ thoughts on psychedelic therapy; those aged 25-34 were considered early career stage adults and made up 18%.
Middle-aged respondents (those between 35-44 and 45-54 years of age), comprised 19% and 21% of respondents, respectively. These groups could be considered more established adults who may be experiencing different life pressures compared with young adults, which may affect their views regarding mental health treatments.
At 27% of total respondents, those over 54 years old made up the largest category. It’s possible their perspectives may have been formed by long-term experiences as well as different attitudes toward traditional and alternative therapies.
All survey respondents resided within the US. As such, their findings represent perceptions, attitudes and awareness levels related to psychedelic therapy in that particular setting – this should be taken into consideration when applying insights gained here in other cultural or legal environments outside the US.