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Psychedelics and Racial Justice

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Psychedelics are being studied for the treatment of numerous mental health disorders, as well as a means of bringing people together. Nonetheless, people of color and those with other marginalized identities have not been fully included. Studies and research on psychedelic-assisted therapies have largely excluded people of color, leaving out fundamental clinical issues for these populations. This paper provides a narrative review of relevant research on this topic, racial trauma, ethnic minority mental health, and how psychedelic therapies can advance recovery for people of color. It also discusses potential harms and steps needed to promote culturally inclusive access to care. Many psychedelic therapy trials are in their final stages and access is being expanded, making it important to consider equitable practices in research that can foster inclusion, such as community-based participatory research and culturally informed research design.

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The authors would like to acknowledge Jade Gallo for transcription of the presentation and Annwesha Dasgupta for her assistance with early drafts of this manuscript.


This research was undertaken, in part, thanks to funding from the Canada Research Chairs Program, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) grant number 950-232127 (PI M. Williams).

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Correspondence to Monnica T. Williams.

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Monnica T. Williams and Victor Cabral report no conflicts of interest. Sonya Faber is employed by the pharmaceutical company Angelini Pharmaceuticals.

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This paper was originally presented as plenary talk for the Research 2 Reality (R2R) Global Summit on Psychedelic Assisted Therapies and Medicine, Toronto, ON, May 27-29, 2022.

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Williams, M.T., Cabral, V. & Faber, S. Psychedelics and Racial Justice. Int J Ment Health Addiction 22, 880–896 (2024).

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