Harm Reduction & Safety Information
The only way to be completely safe when it comes to psychedelics is to not use them. Though some will of their own accord still decide to do so, hence these harm reduction resources are presented here for people to make better choices and to protect themselves.
While we do not condone or encourage people to use psychedelics, again the reality is that many will be considering doing psychedelics themselves or in unregulated settings. For them, some words of caution:
If doing psychedelics for healing, it is not recommended to do this without a guide who knows the territory.
See our posts on selecting a retreat centre
For those who may decide to do psychedelics their own way,
these below resources may be helpful:
Reagent testing is an excellent way to reduce the risks of using drugs. With the ability to instantly see if what you have bought is fake or even unusually dangerous it’s much easier to make better decisions about drug use.
Alongside a highly recommended podcast, the guys at Psychedelics Today run an online course called Navigating Psychedelics: Lessons on Self-Care & Integration.
Check out Tripsit’s excellent drug combination chart which sets out the relative risk of mixing two drugs. There is also an app version here.
Who should, under no circumstances, use psychedelics?
Psychedelics are in no way a panacea and in fact can be really dangerous if taken mislabeled as something else, in the wrong set and setting, or if taken in combinations with other drugs.
Though for those who might get all the set, setting and dose right there are still personal considerations to take into account, such as:
Examples of psychological contraindications for psychedelic therapy include:
Personal history of schizophrenia, drug induced Psychosis, bipolar disorder, personality disorders or ongoing severe depression.
Family medical history of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or severe depression.
Active suicidal ideation or previous attempts.
Major emotional dysregulation.
High level of Anxiety, fear of losing control or panic attacks.
Previous history of very bad experiences with psychedelics.
Examples of physiological contraindications for psychedelic therapy include:
Actively taking certain medications like SSRI, SNRIs, MAOIs, ADHD Medications, Anti Migraine Medications, Any medications that work on the Serotonin system.
Very high or very low blood pressure.
Heart arrhythmia or irregular heart beat.
Personal or family history of epilepsy/seizures.
If you are going on a retreat it is essential that you be honest with your facilitators about any and all previous and current medical conditions you may have and any medications you have been on. If they decide you should not one on retreat, this is for a reason and should be respected as a decision designed to keep you safe.
If you are going on an Ayahuasca retreat it is essential that you check if there are any dietary restrictions and to respect these restrictions.
Always taper and come off any medications under medical supervision. Many doctors and G.P.s are becoming aware of the benefits of Psychedelic Therapy. Therefore, honesty is the best policy with your physicians and your facilitators. We strongly encourage people who are doing psychedelics for healing not to do them solo and to always consult with your medical professional.
Reading List of recommended readings:
● How to Change your mind: Michael Pollan (2018
● The Psychedelic Explorers Guide: James Fadiman
● LSD My Problem Child: Albert Hoffman.
Jung's Map of the Soul: An Introduction, Murray Stein (1998)
● After The Ecstasy, The Laundry, Jack Kornfield
● Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu
● A New Earth, Eckhard Tolle (2005)
● Raise your Vibration, Sabrina Raber (2009)
● Eastern Body Western Mind, Anodea Judith (1996)
● The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz (1997)
● Being and Vibration, Joseph Rael (1993)
● You are here, Thich Nhat Hanh (2001)
● Awareness, Anthony De Mello (1990)
● DMT the Spirit Molecule, Rick Strassmann (2000)
● The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley (1954)
● The Psychedelic Experience, Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner and Richard Alpert (1964)
● Manifesting Minds: A Review of Psychedelics in Science, Medicine, Sex, and Spirituality,
Rick Doblin (2014)
● The Hero With a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell (1972)
● Decomposing The Shadow, James W. Jesso (2013)
Additional Websites & Online Resources:
MAPS – Rites of Passage project :
A Model for Working with Difficult Psychedelic Experiences at events:
Psychedelic Crisis FAQ
Helping someone through a bad trip, psychic crisis, or spiritual crisis
The Psychedelic Experience FAQ
Crisis Intervention in Situations Related to Unsupervised Use of Psychedelics
Ethical Caring in Psychedelic Work
Guidelines for the Sacramental Use of Empathogenic Substances
Suggestions for Sitters or Guides
Using Psychedelics Wisely
Code of Ethics for Spiritual Guides – Council on Spiritual Practices
Drugs and the Meaning of Life, by Sam Harris
Dr. Holland presenting lessons learned in a psychiatric emergency room
Ground Control, A Sitter's Primer, by The Teafærie