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psychsafetyalliance179 karma

First thing: it's very reasonable (and arguably, healthy!) to feel apprehension around a psychedelic experience! They can be life changing experiences, and if not approached with the proper gravitas and preparation, can absolutely cause harm instead of help you learn and grow.

In terms of steps you can take, I would first really examine the root of the apprehension. What is it that you are concerned by? Happy to dig into some more detail on this, if we can hear a little more.

We made a checklist for folks to follow that gives a brief walkthrough some of the physical safety questions you might want to ask yourself, to ensure that as a minimum baseline for your experience: https://www.psychedelicsafetyalliance.org/f/safer-psychonaut-dosing-protocol

psychsafetyalliance158 karma

Based on anecdotal evidence, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder can both be exacerbated in some ways by psychedelics, so those folks should steer clear. Ditto if you have a family history of either

We've also had several friends that experienced psychotic episodes triggered by psychedelic use who had no prior diagnosis of significant mental illness and were diagnosed after the fact.

In addition to being scary to watch and life-altering for them, this experience also made us aware of one of the major bummers when it comes to the risks of taking psychedelics: Though it is rare for people with no prior history of mental illness to experience psychotic episodes triggered by psychedelic use, it does happen consistently enough to be a Thing, and there's some degree to which you can't predict whether this will happen to you until you take psychedelics and find out.

People with heart issues should also probably avoid stimulant drugs like MDMA and MDA.

There are also a wide variety of other drugs and medications which can have weird or occasionally harmful interactions with different psychedelics, so it's important to check those as well. The TripSit Combinations Chart is a good place to look for combinations of different recreational drugs, and the Drugs.com Interactions Checker covers interactions between ketamine and many pharmaceutical and over-the-counter medications, but for interactions between most psychedelics and most common prescription meds, there's a lot less information out there.

Do your own research, and if you're not sure, don't do it.

psychsafetyalliance142 karma

So many! That's why we started an organization and just created a 12-hour long psychedelic safety course.

A few common ones we see are:

- I trust my dealer, so his product should be safe
- I don't need to test my drugs on my own
- I don't need to worry too much about drug combinations
- The amount my friend took should be good for me too
- Calling 911 in an emergency is going to get me busted

psychsafetyalliance88 karma

Nope, and very few people are. That doesn't stop people from taking psychedelics on their own with even less information or awareness than we've amasssed over 35 combined years of studying this topic. We exist to vet publicly available tools and resources, teach people how to find this information on their own, and how to synthesize all of it into usable safety planning steps.

That's why, for purposes of this AMA, we will not provide specific medical advice to individuals advising as to specific dosages. We are not a substitute for your doctor or psychiatrist when it comes to you and your body.

HOWEVER, we know regular, unlicensed people are dosing themselves all the time anyways, and are happy to provide general harm reduction information on considerations around safer dosing practices and potentially harmful drug interactions.

An important note on medical advice with psychedelics is that there is not much by way of licensing - yet - specific to psychedelics. There are some clinical handbooks being developed as the science on the medical use of psychedelics advances, such as the MAPS MDMA Investigator's Brochure.

That said, one of us (Ally) has worked extensively in clinical environments developing hands-on experience navigating these questions for harm reduction purposes.

psychsafetyalliance87 karma

This is part of why psilocybin is so interesting from a clinical perspective: they have a uniquely "anti-addictive" property and doesn't form a physiological dependence like many other drugs.