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DOI: 10.1101/2022.12.23.22283883

LSD use in the United States: Examining user demographics and their evolution from 2015-2019

J.Weleff A. Anand E. Dewey B. Barnett
Background: Lysergic acid (LSD) use has risen in the United States (US) in recent years amid increased interest in therapeutic applications of psychedelics. Despite this, contemporary epidemiological investigations of LSD users are few. To expand the literature on this topic, we sought to characterize past-year LSD users in the US and investigate recent demographic evolution within this population. Methods: Using National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) data from 2015-2019, we investigated correlates of past-year LSD use and associated changes over the study period. Results: Past-year LSD use increased by 47% from 2015 to 2019 (0.59% to 0.87%). However, among people reporting past-year hallucinogen use disorder there was no significant proportional increase in LSD users. Notable correlates of LSD use on multivariable analysis were: increased LSD access, lower perceived risk of trying LSD, Asian race, low income, fewer children in the home, history of ever selling drugs, being approached by someone selling drugs in the past month, lack of influence of religious beliefs on decision-making, and past-year suicide attempt among people age 18 and older. We found no associations with unemployment, arrest history, past-year psychological distress, or sexually transmitted infections. From 2015 to 2019, the proportion of respondents reporting past-year LSD use who were pregnant, age 26-34, and married increased. Past-year LSD use among lifetime users of methamphetamine also rose. Conclusions: Though still uncommonly used in the US, LSDs societal acceptance may be increasing. Overall, LSD does not appear to contribute significantly to the countrys public health problems.