Who Should Not Try Psychedelics?
Psychedelics are powerful substances that can produce profound alterations in perception, thought, and emotion. They can have both positive and negative effects, and therefore, not everyone is suited to try them.
Here are some groups of people who should be especially careful before trying psychedelics:
- Individuals with a history of psychosis: Psychedelics can trigger or worsen psychotic episodes, leading to dangerous behavior and other serious consequences, thus people who have a history of psychosis, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, should not try psychedelics.
- Individuals with a history of heart disease or high blood pressure: Psychedelics can increase heart rate and blood pressure, which can be dangerous for people with heart disease or high blood pressure. They should avoid taking these substances.
- Pregnant women: Pregnant (and breastfeeding) women should not try psychedelics, as the effects of these substances on the developing fetus are unknown and could be harmful.
- People with a family history of mental illness: People with a family history of mental illness should be cautious about trying psychedelics, as they may be more vulnerable to the negative effects of these substances.
- Individuals with a history of substance abuse: People with a history of substance abuse should avoid psychedelics as they can trigger cravings and lead to addiction.
It's important to note that even if you do not fall into any of these categories, psychedelics can still pose risks and should be used with caution. It's always best to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before trying any new substance.1 2
Finally, the above categories are broad and exceptions are often made with a clinician’s judgment. This means that even if you fall into one of the groups mentioned, you can seek a physician’s opinion about your particular circumstances and risks versus benefits, and you may still be able to pursue therapeutic psychedelic treatment.
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- Heyl, J.C. (2023). Who Shouldn’t Take Psychedelics. Verywell Mind. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/who-shouldn-t-take-psychedelics-6742166
- West M. (2022). Are psychedelics addictive? Medical News Today. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/are-psychedelics-addictive-side-effects-and-risks