Penn Bioethics Seminar | Dominic A. Sisti, PhD
12:00pm - 1:00pm • 1402 Blockley Hall (423 Guardian Drive)
Ethics in psychedelic psychiatry
Long gone are the days of Ken Kesey’s Acid Tests– big parties where people tripped on acid and danced in strobing black lights to the Grateful Dead. Today, Silicon Valley executives take ‘microdoses’ of LSD, psilocybin (mushrooms), or mescaline (from Peyote) as a way to enhance their focus, creativity, and empathy. Michael Pollen’s recent book, How to Change Your Mind, has stimulated new ways of thinking and talking about psychedelic drugs. Research organizations, like the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), have advanced MDMA (ecstasy) treatment for PTSD, navigating the FDA review process with approval expected in 2022. In this work-in-progress seminar, I will discuss my work with MAPS in developing a set of ethical principles to guide their research and eventual clinical use of MDMA. I will also talk about the challenge of benefit sharing between for-profit pharmaceutical companies moving into this space and groups within the psychedelic underground, who through auto-experimentation and DIY science developed some of the early clinical protocols. Finally, we will discuss ethical and policy issues related to the use of ketamine in the treatment of severe depression. I look forward to hearing your feedback and gathering new ideas as I build this line of my bioethics research program.
Dominic A. Sisti, PhD
Medical Ethics and Health Policy
University of Pennsylvania