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.

A psychedelic therapist allegedly took millions from a Holocaust survivor, highlighting worries about elders taking hallucinogens

He made a new life for himself in California. After surviving the Holocaust and growing up under Hungarian fascism and Russia’s communist regime, George Sarlo arrived in the United States as an 18-year-old refugee. Over the decades, he became a wealthy venture capitalist and philanthropist, and from the outside, looked like someone who’d overcome the horrors of history to achieve success.

Ecstatic Integration

The Challenging Psychedelic Experiences Project is the leading research and public communication project on psychedelic and ecstatic ethics, integration and harm reduction. By subscribing, you’re supporting our research, and you’re also getting access to the best archive of information there is on psychedelic harm reduction – articles, interviews, discussions and wisdom.

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.

The Open Hyperspace Traveler: A course handbook for the safe and responsible management of psychoactives

Welcome to the Open Hyperspace Traveler Course. If you are reading this, you presumably have an interest in entheogenic drugs – psychoactive compounds found in plants and fungi – often referred to as psychedelics or simply entheogens. In this manual we have tried to collect and provide unbiased information, backed by both experience and scientific evidence, on the various entheogens out there; on how they can be used safely, responsibly, and beneficially, what risks they present, and potential strategies to handle any problems that may surface when using them.

This manual is not meant to encourage the reader to use entheogens, which sadly are still illegal around the world and considered by many as far more dangerous than scientifice evidence indicates. Rather, it is meant to fill a void; a need for education and systematic approaches to these substances, in order to reduce the harm that can be caused by improper use and/or ignorance. In this respect (and many others), prohibition has failed. Entheogens are, and most likely always will remain, available and by making entheogens and other so-called drugs unavailable from reliable sources, prohibition has encouraged the distribution of unreliable products of questionable content and purity, potentially presenting severe health risks to the end user. Additionally, by legislating away reliable information concerning these substances, prohibition has propagated a great deal of misinformation, ranging from hearsay and myths to outright propaganda and lies. This has resulted in harm and trauma to people interested in exploring entheogens due to their ignorance of, generally speaking, avoidable issues.

The current situation clearly shows that prohibition is not effective at keeping people safe, and is even less effective at preventing them from exploring entheogens. The experiences of many explorers of these compounds as well as scientific studies indicate that much of the harm that we see resulting from the use of entheogens can be reduced, or even entirely avoided, by following a few basic steps concerning safety and planning. At the same time, more and more scientific studies indicate that people can actually benefit from using entheogens in certain situations – something that explorers of these compounds have been claiming for a long time. In order to prevent more harm and to help people benefit from using entheogens, this manual provides information that is easy to read and utilize, so that future explorers – also called travelers – can use these compounds safely and responsibly

TripSafe: Education for psychedelics like LSD and Shrooms

Psychedelics are not risk-free. Read TripSafe’s psychedelic education resources.

TripSafe is an educational website about psychedelics – including LSD, Shrooms (Psilocybin/Magic Mushrooms), and others.

We do not endorse the acquisition and use of psychedelics outside of legally-sanctioned clinical trials. If you’re going to use psychedelics anyway, please do your research.

Drug Policy Alliance – Harm Reduction

Harm reduction is a set of ideas and interventions that seek to reduce the harms associated with both drug use and ineffective, racialized drug policies.

Harm reduction stands in stark contrast to a punitive approach to problematic drug use—it is based on acknowledging the dignity and humanity of people who use drugs and bringing them into a community of care in order to minimize negative consequences and promote optimal health and social inclusion.