Updated on April 1, 2024
4 min read

Hallucinogens Statistics and Usage Trends

How people in the US use hallucinogens is a shifting landscape. It looks different depending on where you are, your age, and other factors.

Let's dive into the latest numbers on hallucinogens. This isn't just about curiosity⁠—it's about figuring out how to help people safely navigate these substances and stepping in when things get risky.

Noteworthy Hallucinogen Statistics

  • Prevalence: The lifetime prevalence of hallucinogen use in the U.S. was reported at 9.32%, with a 12-month prevalence of 0.62%. An estimated 5.5+ million people in the U.S. used hallucinogens in the past year as of 2019, showing an increase from 1.7% of the population in 2002 to 2.2% in 2019.
  • The increase among adults: Hallucinogen use among adults aged 35 to 50 reached 4% in 2022, marking a historic high. This is a substantial increase from previous years, where use in this age group was reported at 1% or less in 2012 and 2017.
  • Emergency department visits: Rates of hallucinogen-associated emergency department visits increased by 69% between 2016 and 2021.

Prevalence of Hallucinogen Use

There have been significant changes in hallucinogen use in recent years. Here are the most notable changes in the U.S.:

  • LSD use in the U.S. increased by 47% from 2015 to 2019. However, this increase in LSD use did not correspond with a proportional increase in reported hallucinogen use disorder.
  • In 2021, 8% of young adults reported past-year hallucinogen use, an all-time high since the category was first surveyed in 1988.
  • Between 2015 and 2018, an estimated 9.68% of US adults ages 18 and older reported lifetime use of psilocybin.
  • Consumption of "magic" mushrooms and other hallucinogens by young adults nearly doubled over the past three years, with 6.6 percent of adults from ages 19 to 30 using hallucinogens other than LSD in 2021, up from 3.4 percent in 2018.
jump rate of LSD use for 18 to 25 year old

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Variations in Hallucinogen Use by Region

Hallucinogen use in the U.S. can vary depending on the region. Factors like drug availability, cultural attitudes, and legal status may influence these differences.

  • Larger campuses and institutions in urban areas report the widest range of drug use, including hallucinogens. This coincides with the growth of “raves.”
  • Epidemiologists reporting to the Community Epidemiology Work Group (CEWG) from New York, Atlanta, San Francisco, Seattle, Miami, and cities in Texas noted increased hallucinogen use. 
  • Other areas, such as New Orleans and Denver, report that LSD is widely available for purchase, but indicator data do not reflect any changes in use
  • The movement to decriminalize psilocybin in the US began in 2019, with several cities and states taking steps to decriminalize or legalize its use, indicating a regional variation in legal attitudes towards psilocybin.
  • A study found a significant positive correlation between mean state altitude and methamphetamine use rate, suggesting that altitude might contribute to regional variation in methamphetamine use in the US.
past year hallucinogen use among young adults2011 2021

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Age Distribution of Hallucinogen Users

Age GroupKey Statistics
15-19 yearsThe onset of hallucinogen use is most likely to occur between ages 15-19 years.
18-25 yearsThe prevalence of tryptamine use among young adults ages 18-25 increased from 0.2% in 2007/08 to 0.7% in 2013/14.
30-34 yearsIn 2010, the rate of lifetime psychedelic use was greatest among people aged 30 to 34.
35-50 yearsPast-year hallucinogen use among adults aged 35 to 50 reached 4% in 2022, marking a historic high.

Variations by Racial and Ethnic Groups

Hallucinogen use in the United States also varies significantly among racial and ethnic groups.

  • A study using data from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found significant differences in hallucinogen use among ethnoracial groups by substance and age cohorts.
  • Lifetime hallucinogen use was most prevalent among non-Hispanic White and multi-racial individuals, while Black/African Americans reported the lowest rates of use.
  • The highest prevalence of past-year hallucinogen use was among Asian females (35.06%), significantly higher than other racial/ethnic and gender groups.

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Long-term Effects of Hallucinogen Use

Although the risk of adverse effects from hallucinogen use is relatively rare, they can be unpredictable. It’s best to understand these side effects to prepare for potential complications.

Some side effects of long-term hallucinogen use include:

  • Mood changes
  • Memory loss
  • Weight loss
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Disorganized thinking
  • Visual disturbances
  • Persistent psychosis

Although more research is needed to understand the long-term side effects of hallucinogen use, it can happen to anyone, even after a single use.

There’s been a notable increase in hallucinogen use in the United States. This varies among certain age groups, regions, racial groups, and ethnic groups. 

The rise in hallucinogen-associated emergency department visits shows the importance of continued research and public health efforts to minimize risks. This is especially important for handling the potential adverse effects of hallucinogens.

By understanding these complex factors and trends, healthcare professionals can develop effective strategies for harm reduction and treatment. Understanding these statistics can also shape evidence-based practices for healthcare.

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Updated on April 1, 2024
13 sources cited
Updated on April 1, 2024
  1. Shalit et al. “Epidemiology of hallucinogen use in the U.S. results from the National epidemiologic survey on alcohol and related conditions III.” Addict Behav, 2019.
  2. NIH. “Marijuana and hallucinogen use, binge drinking reached historic highs among adults 35 to 50.” National Institutes on Health, 2023.
  3. Lowe et al. “The Therapeutic Potential of Psilocybin.” Molecules, 2021. 
  4. New Study Estimates Over 5.5 Million U.S. Adults Use Hallucinogens.” Columbia University Irving Medical Center, 2022.
  5. Garel et al. “Trends in hallucinogen-associated emergency department visits and hospitalizations in California, USA, from 2016 to 2022.” Addiction, 2024. 
  6. Palamar JJ, & Le A. “Trends in DMT and other tryptamine use among young adults in the United States.” Am J Addict, 2018.
  7. NIDA. "Marijuana and hallucinogen use among young adults reached all time-high in 2021." National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2022.
  8. Davis et al. “Race, Ethnic, and Sex Differences in Prevalence of and Trends in Hallucinogen Consumption Among Lifetime Users in the United States Between 2015 and 2019.” Front. Epidemiol, 2022.
  9. Hallucinogen use hits record-high in adults, survey reveals.” Live Science, 2023.
  10. Weleff et al. “LSD use in the United States: Examining user demographics and their evolution from 2015-2019.” medRxiv, 2022.
  11. Krebs TS &Johansen PØ. “Over 30 million psychedelic users in the United States.” F1000Res, 2013.
  12. De Vise, D. “‘Magic’ mushroom use by young adults has nearly doubled in three years.” The Hill, 2023.
  13. Jahn et al. “Racial/ethnic differences in prevalence of hallucinogen use by age cohort: Findings from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.” Journal of Psychedelic Studies, 2021.

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