This online survey (n=1221) examines people’s information-seeking behaviour using psychedelics naturally, revealing that most participants rely on their own experimentation and experiences, Internet websites, friends, discussion forums, books, and scientific journals. The study also found that articles in scientific journals, psychedelic nonprofits, and university researchers were the most trusted sources, while government agencies and pharmaceutical companies were the least trusted.
Abstract of How Do I Learn More About this?
“There is a surge of interest in psychedelics, including new stakeholders and greater media attention. There is a need to examine the information-seeking behavior of people using psychedelics naturalistically, given the importance of preparation and harm-reduction. We examined sources of information for people using psychedelics naturalistically, and the degree to which they are trusted in a large, anonymous, online survey (N = 1221). The most common source of participants’ information on psychedelics was their own experimentation and experiences (79.52%). Most also sought information from Internet websites (61.67%), friends (61.02%), Internet discussion forums (57.08%), books (57%), and articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals (54.55%). Few sought information from their primary health care provider (4.83%). Articles published in scientific journals, psychedelic nonprofits, and researchers based in colleges or universities were the most trusted sources of psychedelic information. Government agencies and pharmaceutical companies were the least trusted. Few participants thought that the popular media accurately stated the benefits and risks of psychedelics and most thought that the popular media failed to distinguish between different types of psychedelics. Our results indicate a high level of information seeking among psychedelic users, with a diverse array of information sources typically outside of mainstream health and medical care systems.”
Authors: Daniel J. Kruger, Oskar Enghoff, Moss Herberholz, Julie Barron & Kevin F. Boehnke
Summary of How Do I Learn More About this?
North American and European countries are experiencing a surge of new interest and activity surrounding psychedelics, including clinical research, legislative changes, rising prevalence of naturalistic consumption, the emergence and growth of psychedelic NGOs and ballot initiatives, and a significant increase in media attention to psychedelics.
The psychedelic renaissance has created a dialogue between naturalistic and institutional actors, with private individuals engaging in non-institutional therapeutical practices inspired by clinical trials. This dialogue is important for both new and existing stakeholders to understand the context of psychedelic use.
In this study, Kruger and colleagues examine the information-seeking behaviour of people using psychedelics naturalistically. They found that they are generally knowledgeable about psychedelics, and engage in considerable information gathering, creation and sharing, including in online discussions, faced with the knowledge gap often associated with illicit substances.
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Kruger, D. J., Enghoff, O., Herberholz, M., Barron, J., & Boehnke, K. F. (2023). “How Do I Learn More About this?”: Utilization and Trust of Psychedelic Information Sources Among People Naturalistically Using Psychedelics. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 1-9.