Interest in receiving psychedelic-assisted therapy among marginalized women: Implications and findings from a community-based study in Canada
Psychedelic-assisted therapies are receiving mounting attention for their therapeutic potential. However, little is known about interest among women who experience elevated risk of mental health and substance use disorders. This study examined interest in receiving psychedelic-assisted therapy and socio-structural factors associated with interest among marginalized women.
Data (2016–2017) were drawn from two community-based, prospective open cohorts of >1000 marginalized women in Metro Vancouver, Canada. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression examined associations with interest in receiving psychedelic-assisted therapy. Among women who used psychedelics, additional data were collected to describe ratings of personal meaningfulness, sense of wellbeing, and spiritual significance.
Of 486 eligible participants (aged 20–67 years), 43% (n = 211) were interested in receiving psychedelic-assisted therapy. Over half identified as Indigenous (First Nations, Métis or Inuit). Factors independently associated with interest in psychedelic-assisted therapy in multivariable analysis included: daily crystal methamphetamine use in the last six months (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR] 3.02; 95%Confidence Interval (CI) 1.37–6.65), lifetime mental health conditions (depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder) (AOR 2.13; 95%CI 1.27–3.59), childhood abuse (AOR 1.99; 95%CI 1.02–3.88), lifetime psychedelic use (AOR 1.97; 95%CI 1.14–3.38), and younger age (AOR 0.97 per year older; 95%CI 0.95–0.99).
Several mental health and substance use-related variables that have been demonstrated to be amenable to psychedelic-assisted therapy were associated with interest in receiving psychedelic-assisted therapy among women in this setting. As access to psychedelic-assisted therapies continues to expand, any future approaches to extend psychedelic medicine to marginalized women should integrate trauma-informed care and broader socio-structural supports.