August 29, 2022

How Many People Use Psychedelics? Examining the Psychedelic Landscape in North America 

Psychedelics are illegal in many parts of the world, and there is still stigma around drug use. Because of this, many might not want to openly state they use psychedelics or are hesitant to use them, leaving us with questions regarding their actual popularity versus our perception.  

Another challenge is how to create a therapeutic framework around psychedelic use. Without clearly defined statistics on who is using psychedelics and how many people are, practitioners may be unaware of the urgent need for education, harm reduction, and integration with their clients as the psychedelic movement gains momentum.  

To help clear some of the unknowns surrounding the psychedelic landscape, how many people are using them, and the demographics of people who use psychedelics, Numinus partnered with YouGov to survey a nationally representative sample in Canada and the United States on psychedelic use. Here’s what we found. 

 

Psychedelic Awareness: How Many People Have Used, Are Using, Or Are Open to Using Psychedelics?  

Data from YouGov shows that 5% of Canadian adults and 4% of American adults use psychedelics to support their mental health.  

In the United States, 21 million people regularly or occasionally use psychedelics, 43 million have used them in the past, and 44 million are open to using them.  

In Canada, this looks like 2.9 million regular or occasional users, 5.4 million who have used them in the past, and 5.2 who are open to using them.  

These numbers show us that not only are psychedelics widely used by millions of people but there is also a large subset of people who are curious about their use and potential. Lack of access, education, and laws could contribute to why people in this group are open to psychedelics yet have not actively participated in using them. 

 

YouGov Survey Results: What The Data Shows Us 

Canadian Demographic Breakdown 

Here are the results of the 2020 adults surveyed in Canada.  

 

Key Findings 
  • Close to half (46%) of the participants in Canada either used psychedelics regularly or occasionally, have used them in the past, or are open to using them.  
  • 13% of men use psychedelics regularly or occasionally compared to 6% of women, and 18% of men and 18% of women have never used psychedelics but are interested in using them.  
  • 15% of those aged 35 to 44 use psychedelics regularly or occasionally compared to 12% of those aged 18 to 24.  
  • 18% of those aged 45 to 54 have never used psychedelics but are interested in using them.    

US Demographic Breakdown 

  Key Findings 
  • As with the Canadian demographic results, American psychedelic use between men and women varies greatly, with men more likely to use them (12% of men versus 5% of women). 
  • The percentage of those who have never used psychedelics, but are interested in using them, is approximately the same (16% of men versus 18% of women). 
  • 19% of those aged 35 to 54 and 14% of those over 55 years old have never used psychedelics but are interested in using them.  

Major Takeaways 

These numbers show that more people are using psychedelics than we may have realized. We also have more clarity on the user demographics, broadening our idea of who the ‘average’ psychedelic user is.  

This information could help practitioners recognize the need for more training on psychedelics that will prioritize education, safety, and harm reduction, especially as we see a growing interest in younger generations. 

 

Learn More About Psychedelics with Numinus 

Numinus is here to answer your questions about psychedelics and offer psychedelic services for you or your loved ones.  

Speak to a Care Coordinator  

Reach out to us via the above form, and one of our Care Coordinators will be in touch to field your questions.  

 

Join One of Our Integration Circles 

Gather in a facilitated safe space with like-minded individuals to discuss your psychedelic experiences or book a one-on-one call with one of our practitioners.  

 

Learn About Our Upcoming Psychedelic Training Offerings for Practitioners 

Get the most up-to-date training to develop your skills and expertise in offering psychedelic-assisted therapy to your clients. 

 

Disclaimer

This article in no way promotes, condones, or facilitates illegal activity, and is strictly for educational and harm reduction purposes only. Please be aware that certain psychedelic substances remain illegal in many jurisdictions, including Canada. This program and the contents of this website do not constitute medical advice and are not a substitute for professional medical advice and treatment.

All information is per the time of this article’s publication. The regulatory landscape is quickly evolving, and some information may change as a result.

 

For Canada:  

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2020 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 19th – 27th April 2022.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Canada adults (aged 18+).  

 

For US:  

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 3731 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 13th – 18th April 2022.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+).