The acceptability of psychedelics as treatment options in psychiatry. Data from GDS2019

Wednesday, 23 October, 2019 - 15:55 to 16:10
Networking zone 1 (N1)



The tools psychiatrists have at present are limited in their effectiveness and acceptability. Psychiatry has long needed some new tools in its armoury. Drugs (‘medicines’) historically demonised by the press and psychiatry and the focus of law enforcement are now being investigated for their potential to heal minds and help people stop using drugs.

Through the work of psychedelic pioneering groups like MAPS and Heffter Research Institute, and respected universities like Johns Hopkins and Imperial Collage, research is supporting the potential efficacy of psilocybin, LSD, MDMA and ketamine among others in the treatment of common psychiatric disorders such as depression and PTSD.


GDS runs the world’s largest drug survey. Over 1650,000 people took part in GDS2019. To date over 700,000 people have participated in our survey. GDS 2019 collaborated with psychedelic researchers to explore how acceptable different types of psychedelic therapies might be compared to traditional interventions. To this end we created a hypothetical scenario that requires participants to indicate how likely it would be that they would accept a range of different psychedelic interventions (each of which is briefly described) and the reasons for such a choice. The options include ceremonial versus medical ayahuasca, high and lower dose interventions with ketamine, LSD and psilocybin as well as MDMA.

Results / Discussion

Over 20,000 people completed this specialist section of GDS2019. To our knowledge this is the largest study of the acceptability of these new therapies among a large international non-treatment seeking sample. In this presentation we will discuss the findings, including comparative acceptability to traditional treatment modalities, what types of treatments are attractive to different groups and explore how a person’s past mental health and drug use history impacts on their choices.


Presentation files

23 105 1555 Adam Winstock .pdf5.02 MBDownload



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