John Hopkins Guidelines for Safety in Human Hallucinogenic Research

This presentation will review the unique safety profile and recommended guidelines for clinical hallucinogen administration. Although hallucinogens are relatively safe physically and are not associated with addiction, administering them involves unique psychological risks. Overwhelming distress during drug action, which could lead to volunteer departure from the study site or other potentially dangerous consequences, is the most likely risk. Prolonged psychoses triggered by hallucinogens are far less common. Safeguards to protect against these risks are the exclusion of volunteers with personal or family history of psychotic disorders, establishing trust and rap- port between session guides and volunteer, thorough volunteer preparation, a safe physical session environment, and interpersonal support from at least two study guides during the session. Research without safeguards against the unique risks of hallucinogens may jeopardize participant safety in addition to future research. However, carefully conducted research may inform the etiology and treatment of a variety of psychiatric disorders, and may lead to advances in several domains of psychology and neuroscience.

This video is from Psychedelic Science in the 21st Century, a conference taking in place in San Jose, California on April 15-18, 2010. The conference was organized by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in collaboration with the Heffter Research Institute, the Council on Spiritual Practices, and the Beckley Foundation.

Medical doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and other health professionals can earn Continuing Medical Education/Continuing Education (CME/CE) credits by viewing these videos through the Spiritual Competency Resource Center (SCRC) at

This video was produced by Teal Sievers of Living Dream Films (

To learn more about MAPS or to support our work, visit

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