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Post: Ketamine bros are giving psychedelics a bad rap. That’s a problem for those who need them.

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Ketamine bros are giving psychedelics a bad rap. That's a problem for those who need them.

In my work as a shaman, I once had the opportunity to help a woman who, barely into her 50s, was facing a painful death from bone cancer. Emaciated, her body wracked with pain, she told me she could not lie down in bed for fear of never getting back up. I accompanied her as she took a dose of psilocybin , a psychedelic compound found in magic mushrooms .

Over the next five hours, she went on a profound journey, one that allowed her to accept the fact of her imminent death and locate meaning in her experience. Afterward, she found that all the physical pain she had been experiencing had left her. “Now I believe in magic,” her husband told me. She lived her final few days in peace.

Years later, at a Miami dinner party hosted by a friend, I sat next to a woman who, after a short trip to the bathroom, returned and began laughing for no reason. She couldn’t string two sentences together. When I asked if anything was wrong, she said, “I’m so high on K (ketamine) right now, I can’t even think straight.”

Such is the confused state of psychedelics today.

I’ve seen firsthand both the transformative effects of psychedelics in treating mental health disorders as well as their casual abuse by people who think of them as a party drug.

I’ve become unnerved by this ketamine bro culture, which threatens to halt the exciting progress in psychedelic research over the past few decades. Psychedelics are […]

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