Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

ObjectiveTo capture UK medical students’ self-reported knowledge and harm assessment of psychedelics and to explore the factors associated with support for changing the legal status of psychedelics to facilitate further clinical research.DesignCross-sectional, anonymous online survey of UK medical students using a non-random sampling method.SettingUK medical schools recognised by the General Medical Council.Participants132 medical students who had spent an average of 3.8 years (SD=1.4; range: 1–6) in medical school.ResultsMost students (83%) reported that they were aware of psychedelic research and only four participants (3%) said that they were not interested in learning more about this type of research. Although medical students’ harm assessment of psychedelics closely aligned with that of experts, only 17% of students felt well-educated on psychedelic research. Teachings on psychedelics were only rarely encountered in their curriculum (psilocybin: 14.1 (SD=19.9), scale: 0 (never) to 100 (very often)). Time spent at medical schools was not associated with more knowledge about psychedelics (r=0.12, p=0.129). On average, this sample of medical students showed strong support for changing the legal status of psychedelics to facilitate further research into their potential clinical applications (psilocybin: 80.2 (SD=24.8), scale: 0 (strongly oppose) to 100 (strongly support)). Regression modelling indicated that greater knowledge of psychedelics (p<0.001), lower estimated harm scores (p<0.001), more time spent in medical school (p=0.024) and lower perceived effectiveness of non-pharmacological mental health treatments (p=0.044) were associated with greater support for legal status change.ConclusionsOur findings reveal a significant interest among UK medical students to learn more about psychedelic research and a strong support for further psychedelic research. Future studies are needed to examine how medical education could be refined to adequately prepare medical students for a changing healthcare landscape in which psychedelic-assisted therapy could soon be implemented in clinical practice.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Open



Publication Date





e083595 - e083595