Updated on April 1, 2024
4 min read

LSD Facts and Statistics

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a potent hallucinogenic drug that has experienced fluctuations in popularity and usage patterns over the years. This article examines the latest statistics on LSD use.

We’ll also talk about changes in popularity, use among different subcultures, mental health correlations, and the economic impact of LSD.

Most Noteworthy LSD Statistics

Here’s an overview of some noteworthy statistics about LSD:

  • LSD use has seen a resurgence in recent years, with past-year use among US adults increasing by 56.4% from 2015 to 2018.
  • The global psychedelic drugs market, which includes LSD, was valued at USD 2.9 billion in 2023 and is expected to grow to USD 8.7 billion by 2033, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.61%.
  • Young adults with past-year LSD use have an elevated prevalence of mental health conditions and are less likely to receive mental health care.
rate of LSD use for users aged 18 to 25 2002 2019

Changes in LSD Popularity Over the Years

LSD popularity has experienced significant shifts over time. Here are some notable changes in usage patterns among different demographics in the United States:

  • From 2015 to 2018, the proportion of LSD users aged 26-34 increased from 19.6% to 31.1%, those aged 35-49 from 2.73% to 8.82%, and those 50 years or older from 1.83% to 2.66%.
  • LSD use among individuals with a college degree or more increased from 18.2% to 31.1% during the same period.
  • Non-LSD hallucinogen use among young adults nearly doubled from 3.4% in 2018 to 6.6% in 2021, while LSD use remained stable at around 4%
rate of LSD use for 2015 to 2019
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LSD Use Amongst Different Subcultures

LSD use varies across different subcultures, reflecting the influence of cultural, social, and individual factors.

For example, LSD and other psychedelics have played a significant role in various subcultures. It has contributed to forming distinct identities and communities centered around drug use, music, art, and other cultural expressions.

Hallucinogen use, including LSD, typically occurs more frequently among people who identify as White. However, recent trends indicate increasing prevalence among non-White groups, with Asian-identified males and females reporting the highest prevalence of past-year hallucinogen use between 2015 to 2019.

Belongingness to a drug subculture can significantly influence drug use behaviors and treatment outcomes. People who strongly identify with a drug subculture often feel alienated from mainstream society and develop strong social ties with other drug users.

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LSD and Mental Health Correlations

Research has explored the relationship between LSD use and mental health, yielding mixed results.

  • Some studies suggest that LSD use may be associated with a lower rate of mental health problems, with a systematic review finding a clear link between lifetime use of classical hallucinogens and a lower probability of mental health issues.
  • However, young adults with past-year LSD use have been found to have an elevated prevalence of mental health conditions and are less likely to receive mental health care.
  • LSD-assisted therapy has shown promise in producing long-lasting reductions in anxiety and comorbid depression symptoms up to 16 weeks after treatment in patients with anxiety.

Economic Impact of LSD

The economic impact of LSD encompasses market size, cost of abuse, and the impact on healthcare and criminal justice systems.

  • The global psychedelic drugs market, which includes LSD, was valued at USD 2.9 billion in 2023 and is expected to grow to USD 8.7 billion by 2033, with a CAGR of 11.61%.
  • The cost of LSD use extends beyond financial aspects, including physical, emotional, and societal costs, such as unwanted side effects, erratic behavior, property damage, and increased risk of accidents.
  • In the United States, the economic cost of drug abuse, including LSD, was estimated at $193 billion in 2007, encompassing lost productivity, healthcare costs, and criminal justice costs.

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LSD Facts

  1. Here are some quick facts about the drug:
  2. LSD stands for lysergic acid diethylamide, a potent hallucinogen derived from ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains.
  3. Swiss chemist Dr. Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD in 1938 and accidentally discovered its hallucinogenic effects in 1943 when he absorbed some through his skin.
  4. LSD is known for altering perception, thoughts, and feelings, often causing visual hallucinations and a distorted sense of time.
  5. In the 1950s and 1960s, LSD was widely used in psychiatric research, exploring its potential for treating various mental health conditions.
  6. The CIA investigated LSD as part of the MK-Ultra program, studying its potential use in psychological warfare.
  7. LSD played a significant role in the counterculture movement of the 1960s, influencing music, art, and social attitudes.
  8. The drug is typically consumed in small squares of paper known as "blotters," which are often decorated with colorful designs.
  9. LSD's effects can last up to 12 hours, although the drug itself is metabolized and excreted relatively quickly.
  10. Non-fatal overdoses on LSD can lead to long-lasting positive changes in some individuals, as reported in case studies.
  11. LSD has been researched for its potential therapeutic benefits in treating conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
lsd facts

These statistics paint a complicated picture of how LSD is used today. Its popularity changes over time. Who uses it varies wildly. It can affect both mental health and the economy.

Some researchers think LSD could be a powerful tool to treat mental health issues, but it's a hot-button topic. LSD can be dangerous and addictive if misused.

The way people think about psychedelics is changing, and there's more research than ever about how they might help people. We need to keep a close eye on how LSD use changes, including its effect on our communities and if it affects people's overall well-being. Understanding all of this will help us create smart policies⁠—keeping people safe while still exploring if LSD has any real medical benefits.

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Updated on April 1, 2024
16 sources cited
Updated on April 1, 2024
  1. Yockey et al. “Trends in LSD use among US adults: 2015-2018.” Drug Alcohol Depend, 2020.
  2. “Global Psychedelic Drugs Market Size To Worth USD 8.7 Billion By 2033 | CAGR of 11.61%.” GlobalNewswire. 
  3. Han et al. “Mental health conditions and receipt of mental health care by illicit lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) use status among young adults in the United States.” Society for the Study of Addiction, 2022. 
  4. Golub et al. “Subcultural evolution and illicit drug use.” Addict Res Theory, 2005.
  5. 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. 
  6. Moshier et al. “The role of perceived belongingness to a drug subculture among opioid-dependent patients.” Psychol Addict Behav, 2012. .
  7. "New Study Estimates Over 5.5 Million U.S. Adults Use Hallucinogens." Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, 2022.
  8. Krebs TS, Johansen PØ. “Psychedelics and mental health: a population study.” PLoS One, 2013.
  9. Holze et al. “Lysergic Acid Diethylamide–Assisted Therapy in Patients With Anxiety With and Without a Life-Threatening Illness: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Phase II Study.” Biological Psychiatry Journal, 2022.
  10. "How Illicit Drug Use Affects Business and the Economy." Obama White House.
  11. "Hallucinogen use other than LSD on the rise among young adults." University of Michigan.
  12. "LSD Use: Yesterday And Today." Encyclopedia.com.
  13. “LSD Fast Facts.” National Drug Intelligence Center. 
  14. “LSD.” CAMH.
  15. Hunt K. "A woman took 550 times the usual dose of LSD, with surprisingly positive consequences." CNN, 2020.
  16. "Psychedelic and Dissociative Drugs." National Institute on Drug Abuse.

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