Psychedelics can be used safely…
- The Global Drug Survey has consistently found psilocybin and LSD to be the least addictive of all drugs.
- The UK Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs deemed classical psychedelics to be among the least damaging to the self and to society, compared to all other drugs.
- In over 2000 carefully controlled clinical trials, where participants were properly screened for predisposition to psychosis and other contraindications, no serious adverse events were recorded, and cases of Hallucinogen Persisting Perceptual Disorder (HPPD) are rare.
- Psilocybin used in the clinical setting is considered safe, well tolerated, showing no signs of neurotoxicity.
- Psychedelic use does not appear to be associated to negative mental health. In fact data suggest the opposite may be true.
- A deluge of research demonstrates that these experiences are often rated in 7/10 cases as the single or among the top five most meaningful experiences in the lives of participants, and a single experience in a controlled setting can provide profound and sustained relief to those suffering from addictions, depression, and anxiety.
but they do carry risks.
In uncontrolled sets and settings, and in those predisposed to psychotic disorders, psychedelics can lead to significant problems. Psychedelics
- may induce Hallucinogen Persisting Perceptual Disorder (HPPD) under circumstances involving intense fear or panic that goes unsoothed during the psychedelic experience. See A Very Brief Summary of HPPD, based on Halpern, Lerner & Passie (2016).
- should not be used by those with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, or history of these in immediate family.
- can interact with antidepressant and other medication, (such as SSRIs, MAOIs and UDG enzyme modulators)
- decrease the threshold for seizures
- may affect a quarter of the population more dramatically due to a known serotonin 2A genetic polymorphism that disrupts sensory gating.
- may lead to anxiety, dysphoria, hypertension, exhaustion and general incapacitation, and disrupt vigilance, working memory, cognitive flexibility, and communication, and may lead to paranoid ideation or ideas of reference; at the highest doses, may lead to sense of disconnection from body and environment, and the loss of ability to distinguish fantasy from reality.
- may produce experiences beyond the user’s ability to conceptualize using existing world-models and language, and require a period of integration that may be understood as extending off into the following days, weeks or years, and may require specialized social support.
Benzodiazepines, antipsychotics and hypertension medication are typically kept on hand in case of emergencies. Interruptions and uncertain environments & people should be completely eliminated, and the user should not operate heavy machinery or engage in activities that require sustained attention and carry a hazard.