Psychedelic medicine: safety and ethical concerns

With the current surge of interest in the field of psychedelic research, a psychedelic renaissance in psychiatry depends primarily on the ability to establish safe and ethical settings for the use of these experimental medicines. However, few opportunities exist for learning the safe and effective administration of psychedelic therapies. When psychedelics were embraced by modern medicine in the 1950s and 1960s, enthusiasm and fervent portentousness overtook pragmatism before psychedelic science could develop safe and consistent structures. A similar collective enthusiasm is palpable in psychedelic psychiatry—a field that does not yet have in place the means to manage the consequences of its much-anticipated success. We wish to draw attention to several issues that need to be thoroughly addressed to allow the field of psychedelic research to grow in a safe and sustainable manner.

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