This week, the New York Times published a how-to guide for those interested in trying psychedelic therapy. By using drugs like psilocybin (what's in hallucinogenic mushrooms) and MDMA (ecstasy), more and more people are tripping as therapy to treat PTSD, depression and other forms of mental health issues. The article discusses how to prepare for these types of therapy sessions, how to find a clinical trial, facilitator or clinic to do them legally and what to expect from the experiences.
Even though these treatments are becoming more mainstream, with increased legalization in some states and the potential for FDA approval on the federal level, there's still a lot to look out for if you want to try it. Choosing the right provider to help you enter the psychedelic world safely and making sure that you're pairing the right therapy for what you're looking for are critical to getting a positive outcome, the article suggests.
One thing the Times doesn't dig into, but which lots has been written about elsewhere, is that despite decades of whitewashing of psychedelics, from the heyday of LSD in the '60s, Black men in particular could benefit from these types of treatments and some are already leading the way to helping others discover them.
A few years ago, okayplayer spotlighted Monnica T. Williams, one of the few Black researchers studying psychedelic therapy. The University of Connecticut therapist focused her research on traumatic experiences within groups of people of color. The article suggests that a lack of diversity among researchers, the history of exploitative practice in the medical industry against Black people and the government-funded war on drugs have been factors in keeping minorities from seeking out these treatments despite a legacy of using psychedelics such as Iboga among African cultures.
Dig deeper and you might come across a research paper last year advocating for just this called, "The Need for Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy in the Black Community and the Burdens of Its Provision," published in Frontiers in Psychiatry. The paper says that Black people could benefit from psychedelics in treating trauma, stress and anxiety. But the research also warns that practitioners have an ethical responsibility to create a culturally competent framework for these types of therapies and, of course, there needs to be better recruitment from BIPOC populations to get more researchers and clinicians in the field.
Lastly, a panel discussion from 2021 talks about "Black Male Joy in the World of Psychedelics." You can hear some experts discuss the potential breakthrough benefits at length for a $5 registration fee.