Studying Harms Is Key to Improving Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy—Participants Call for Changes to Research Landscape

Although psychedelic drugs generally have good safety profiles, a recent systematic review concluded that adverse events in psychedelic trials are poorly defined, not systematically assessed, and likely underreported. In the past year there have been multiple reports of serious adverse events (SAEs), and long-lasting harms to participants in clinical trials of psychedelic-assisted therapy (PAT) have emerged. We draw attention to a unique and overlooked category of risk in PAT stemming from the interactions between therapists and patients receiving high doses of psychedelics. In our view, the understudied therapeutic component of PAT presents the most serious risks. Addressing it requires interdisciplinary approaches by researchers free from conflicts of interests.

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