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Franklin King, MD

The Promise Of Psychedelics: A Critical Look At The Therapeutic Potential Of Psychedelic-Assisted Treatments

July 24th - July 28th, 2023

This course is also available Live-Online!


This course is no longer available.





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15 Hour In-Person & Live-Online Course

Monday - Friday: 9:00a.m. - 12:30p.m. EDT / 30-Minute Break Daily

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Course Description

The meteoric rise in interest in psychedelics over the last several years has led to an avalanche of media attention, academic publications, and capital investment.  Within this current era of psychedelic research, there are numerous distortions related to both positive and negative biases for and against psychedelics by various groups.

Used by Indigenous cultures for thousands of years for diverse medicinal and ritual purposes, psychedelics were also briefly an area of intense research interest in midcentury western medicine before falling victim to a moral panic and the political machinations of America’s so-called War on Drugs.  Over the last twenty years, renewed research has shown potential for psychedelics to treat symptoms of numerous psychiatric disorders, as well as to shed new light on consciousness, philosophy of mind, and spirituality.  Challenges to realizing these potentials are myriad and include issues of cost, justice, a limited understanding of potential harms, questions on role and form of therapy, and a dominant paradigm in medical culture of biomedical reductionism.

The purpose of this course is to review the history, pharmacology, clinical studies, and potential future applications of psychedelics and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, with an orientation toward critical thinking in understanding why some of the current biases and issues within psychedelic research and the public narrative exist, and the challenges that psychedelics will likely face as they become “mainstreamed”.  The format will consist of didactic sessions and small group discussions.  Specific readings will be assigned and participants will be asked to share and reflect.  Following this course, participants should have a comprehensive understanding of psychedelics and psychedelic medicine.


  • Introduction and History of Psychedelics

  • Review history of indigenous use: prehistoric into modern times

  • Cultural history in the USA

  • ‘First wave of psychedelic research’

  • Neurobiology and Mechanisms of Action

  • Pharmacology, different classes of psychedelics

  • Imaging and other neuroscience research, psychological mechanisms


  • Clinical Trials in Psychedelics I

  • Key studies in psychedelics (PTSD, MDD)

  • Barriers to conducting research and trial design issues

  • Clinical Trials II and Harm Reduction

  • Addictions, Microdosing

  • Medication Interactions, Contraindications, Harm Reduction


  • Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy

  • History of therapies used in past

  • Contemporary models

  • Potential future hybridizations


  • Psychedelics and Meditation, other Non-ordinary States

  • Overlaps in mechanisms

  • Psychedelics as a practice?

  • Somatic/Psychosomatic Disorders

  • Functional medical conditions

  • Psychedelics and immune modulation


  • Psychedelics, Serious Illness, and Death and Dying

  • Socio-psychedelic Imaginaries: Psychedelics, Reification, and Capitalism

  • Systemic economic and justice issues in psychedelic research

  • Psychedelic Epistemology and Critical Psychiatry

  • Final Reflections and Wrap-Up

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Franklin King, MD

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