Why are more people using Psychedelics now more than ever?
On several publications I saw the headlines repeating the findings of a NIH study that suggests that young adults are using cannabis and hallucinogens at a higher rate than ever before.
The Age group of 19-30 saw a massive increase in use, despite drug use tapering off in 2021. It seems that people are once again turning to psychedelic experiences at a higher rate than before.
According to a CNN article,
"As the drug landscape shifts over time, this data provides a window into the substances and patterns of use favored by young adults," said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Young adults are in a critical life stage and honing their ability to make informed choices. Understanding how substance use can impact the formative choices in young adulthood is critical to help position the new generations for success."
According to the findings, 1 in 10 young adults have reported using cannabis on a daily basis and more than 2 in 5 reported having used it in the past year. This means that over the past decade the rates of use, according to the data, have doubled.
It’s important to make the distinction that these are “Young Adults”, meaning this is all legal consumption. Of course, some states restrict people under the age of 21 to buy legally, however, the medical workarounds allow many younger adults access to cannabis.
Some might take offense over the previous statement, however, whether this demographic (18-21) buy their cannabis via legal sources under the guise of medical marijuana, or on the black market simply means that by restricting this age group, you’re only making them work harder. We know for a fact that prohibition is not a deterrent and the “rules” around drug use are rarely respected by users.
In other words, if someone wants to get high – they will do it irrespective of whether it’s legal or not.
Now, let’s turn to the stats on psychedelics.
Psychedelic use starting to become more accepted…
Perhaps in some future world we’ll be able to walk to a store, buy some LSD and go home and trip, or go to “Psychedelic Retreats”, or some variation of those two. According to the findings of the NIH study, there has been a dramatic increase in psychedelic use among young adults.
When polled, about 8% of the respondents said that they had tried LSD, PCP, or Psychedelic Mushrooms in the past year. Comparing this to 2011, that is a 5% uptick. However, the uptick isn’t as dramatic as it seems on paper. We’re talking about a period of 10 years.
Nonetheless, this is significant when we’re talking about a population of 330,000,000. We’re talking about millions of new psychedelic users that now walk among us – changed by an experience that was greater than their views of the world. Or perhaps, people who came face to face with their inner demons.
Irrespective of their subjective experiences, the fact remains that more people are using psychedelics than before. This is probably driven mostly by the positive mental health findings surrounding psychedelic treatment.
Additionally, the fact that cannabis legalization is massively popular, many people are also wondering if “they got it so wrong with cannabis”, then what are the odds that they got it wrong with all the other drugs. Especially when researchers are saying that it is massively successful against depression and dealing with trauma.
I recently wrote an article about the “Net Effect” of cannabis legalization where I compared alcohol to cannabis and mentioned that if Cannabis legalization can take a portion of the market share of recreational consumers from alcohol – you’d have a net benefit on society. Reduction of death and violence.
However, would the same be true for psychedelics?
Will more Psychedelics be good for society?
Personally, as someone who has taken hundreds, if not thousands of psychedelic journeys, I think there would be a Net Benefit if we see an increase in psychedelic use. Especially, if it’s used wisely.
By “wisely” I’m not saying it should be exclusively remain regulated under the medical community. These substances, like all substances, should be freely available to any adult of sound mind. By wisely, I mean we should mature as a society.
Thrill seeking is not the most effective way to use psychedelics. Sure, the geometric patterns, the insane visuals, bodily sensations, insight, etc – it’s all fun! But if you’re always “chasing the experience” then you’re missing the point of psychedelics.
It can be a powerful tool for internal reflection, identity shifting, creative thinking, energy, focus, mental health, and probably much more we don’t even know about yet.
The fact of the matter is that Entheogens is a natural part of the “human experience” and is readily available on this planet. While you need to extract LSD and synthesize it in a lab, psilocybin grows in cow shit!
Hell, you’re carrying DMT inside you right now. You are an illegal drug (currently).
Now, I’m not saying that everyone should do psychedelics. I actually think that the vast majority of people aren’t psychologically “ready” for good psychedelic use. Yet this is not a reason to keep it illegal. In fact, those that aren’t ready would probably avoid it anyhow.
However, there’s a good portion 10%-15% of people in the world that do have an affinity towards psychedelia and can utilize it in a significant way. We already can see what it did to Silicon Valley, with the insane amount of progress we have achieved within the field of coding, software development, etc.
Can you imagine what psychedelics would do when it comes in contact with mainstream mathematics, physics, engineering, medicine?
It happened prior to the global prohibition of these drugs and as a result, it gave us people like Terrence McKenna, Dennis Leary, Allan Watts, Ram Das, Robert Anton Wilson, and a myriad of other highly impactful individuals.
Why are Young Adults turning to Psychedelics?
Let’s face it, the world seems pretty bleak. Jobs are shit, inflation is choking everyone, politics is a joke, the people trying to “save us” and “the planet” are obviously lining their pockets at every corner – and everyone is trying to make sense of it all.
Then, there’s this magick substance that you can take that can immediately transport you into an alternate reality where you think differently, feel differently, and observe everything around you differently.
Why wouldn’t you want to drop some acid and forget the shitfuckery for a bit?
The problem is when the tool becomes a crutch and a means of escaping the pressure of your reality. However, when it comes to psychedelics, while it’s possible to abuse it, it rarely becomes a daily practice for the vast majority of people.
Most people try it a few times, maybe a “season of their lives”, and then revert back to the daily grind of life.
The reason why young adults are using psychedelics at a higher rate is because they are searching for meaning in the madness. They want to know who they are in this moment of history, a moment nobody alive had ever experienced before.
People seeking out meaning is a good thing. It will be in one of these minds that a solution may arise that balances all the opposing forces and brings calm to our world again.
But then again…maybe it creates a mass awakening and people suddenly realize – “We don’t need to be ruled by anyone…”
And then things will get interesting…