June 23, 2020 – In a new poll conducted for TheraPsil, Pollara Strategic Insights has discovered that 64% of Canadians express top-of-mind acceptance (41% approve, 23% are ambivalent) of “the federal government legalizing psilocybin mushrooms for medicinal use by people who are suffering from a terminal illness, such as terminal cancer”. Moreover, after provided information about psilocybin clinical trials amongst patients with depression or a terminally ill condition, acceptance rises to 78% (59% approve, 19% are ambivalent).
These are the results of an online survey conducted amongst a randomly-selected, reliable sample of N=1,509 adult Canadians on June 12th and 13th, 2020. Online surveys cannot have a margin of error assigned. A probability sample of this size is considered accurate to within ±2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Results have been weighted based on the latest Census to ensure the data is representative of the gender, age, and regional distribution of the adult Canadian population.
On a top-of-mind basis, 41% of Canadians approve (23% strongly, 17% somewhat) of the legalization of psilocybin mushrooms – “also known as magic mushrooms, psychedelic mushrooms, or shrooms” – for medicinal use by terminally ill patients. An additional 23% express ambivalence, effectively providing tacit approval. Together, the approving and ambivalent segments represent an almost two-thirds (64%) majority who express acceptance of this legalization proposal. Only 23% disapprove (18% strongly, 5% somewhat), and 14% are unsure.
Once respondents are provided information on the results of clinical psilocybin studies, approval rises to a clear majority (59% – 34% strongly, 25% somewhat). Two-in-ten (19%) remain ambivalent. Together, these segments represent an almost eight-in-ten (78%) majority who express acceptance of this legalization proposal when exposed to this information:
Recent clinical studies have shown that psilocybin – the psychedelic compound found in magic mushrooms – has helped treat end-of-life distress for terminally ill patients. The results of the studies showed that psilocybin produced large and significant decreases in depression and anxiety, and increases in measures of quality of life, life meaning, death acceptance, and optimism.
Some terminally ill Canadians are asking the federal government for access to psilocybin. They argue that since Canadian law gives terminally ill patients the right to die with medical assistance, they should also give them the right to try psilocybin in an effort to improve their quality of life.
These survey results align with findings from the March 2020 wave of Pollara’s Cannabis in Canada subscription-based syndicated study, which found that six-in-ten (60%) Canadians accepted (38% approve, 22% ambivalent) the legalization of psilocybin mushrooms for general medicinal use, only with a prescription from a medical professional. Notably, only 42% felt the same (21% approve, 21% ambivalent) about legalizing magic mushrooms for recreational use. However, that acceptance level is only 9 points lower than we found for recreational cannabis about 19 months prior to legalization (March 2017: 51% – 41% approve, 10% ambivalent). Now, acceptance of legal recreational cannabis is 70% (March 2020: 49% approve, 21% ambivalent).