Vice: Psychedelic Use on the Rise As Gen Z Seeks To ‘Enhance Connectedness’

Vice write…

The recreational use of psychedelics is on the rise in the US in the wake of COVID-19 and amid increasing acceptance of the drug as a medicine.

In the last three years the use of hallucinogens such as LSD and magic mushrooms among young people in the US has jumped, according to the latest data from the annual Monitoring the Future survey, carried out by the University of Michigan.

Last year, when the US went through COVID-related lockdowns, 8.6 percent of US college students and 7.6 percent of young adults said they had used psychedelics in the last 12 months, compared to 4.1 percent and 4.3 percent in 2017.

The use of hallucinogens, predominantly LSD, is at the highest level since 1982 and more than five times the lowest rates in the mid 2000s.

“There’s been a huge rise in LSD among younger populations. I think it’s getting more popular due to the macrodosing [taking trip-sized doses] phenomenon and the recent rise in knowledge about the benefits of these medicines, such as cognitive enhancement and personality development,” said Andrew Yockey, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of North Texas.

“The pandemic has definitely taken a toll on everyone’s mental health, and traditional modes of therapy are ineffective for some. You see studies showing that psilocybin, for example, is a great alternative to reducing anxiety, compared to pharmacological drugs. People report using psychedelics at home, but more and more are using these in social circles to enhance connectedness.”

Results from a survey that questions the general public on drug use, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, has tracked a similar trend, with 1.2 million 18 to 25-year-olds admitted taking LSD in 2019 compared with 317,000 in 2004 — almost a fourfold increase.

This uptick comes during an era where LSD, psilocybin (magic mushrooms), ketamine and MDMA are being trialed and prescribed to treat a range of medical issues such as depression and PTSD, while the legal barriers to these drugs being used in therapy are falling away.

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