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Changed Substance Use After Psychedelic Experiences Among Individuals in Canada

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We conducted a cross-sectional online survey of adults (n = 1639; 56.3% women) self-reporting past or current psychedelic use. We investigated whether psychedelic use was associated with self-reported changes in the use of other substances. Participants reported substantial changes, with 43.8% (n = 651/1488) decreasing or ceasing alcohol use, 42.5% (n = 272/640) ceasing or decreasing antidepressant use, and 42.4% (n = 200/471) decreasing or ceasing cocaine use. The highest rates of increased use were for cannabis (10.9%; n = 151/1383) and tobacco products (9.3%; n = 60/646). The most common reasons for substance use reductions were feeling more connected with self (73%; n = 632), nature (55%; n = 476), and others (54.6%; n = 473), as well as feeling less anxious or depressed (59.4%; n = 514). Factors associated with reduction in any substance use included motivation to treat a medical condition, number of psychedelics used, younger age, and using both microdoses and macrodoses. This real-world evidence should be rigorously investigated in future studies.

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The authors would like to thank all the participants in this study for taking the time to fill up our survey, and MAPS PBC, SABI Mind, and Psygen for co-sponsoring the Canadian Psychedelic Survey.

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Correspondence to Kevin F. Boehnke.

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Ethical Approval

The study was co-sponsored by SABI Mind, the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies Public Benefits Corp. (MAPS PBC), and Psygen.

Ethics and Consent

The survey was ethics reviewed by Advarra (protocol # Pro00059863).

Consent to Participate

Online informed consent was obtained from all the study participants.

Competing Interests

Dr. Boehnke has received grant funding from Tryp Therapeutics and Algae Sciences. He sits on a Data Safety and Monitoring Committee (unpaid) for Vireo Health. Dr. Boehnke’s effort on this publication was partially supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number K01DA049219 (KFB). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. Philippe Lucas PhD is President of SABI Mind, one of the co-sponsors of this study.

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Boehnke, K.F., Kruger, D.J. & Lucas, P. Changed Substance Use After Psychedelic Experiences Among Individuals in Canada. Int J Ment Health Addiction 22, 842–853 (2024).

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