Reality Check

Robert Strayhan, M.D., on strategies for coping with the adverse effects

No transcript...

Dear Listener,

"If you're on the train tracks, you hear the horn, and you see the lights, then why wait to get run over?"

This powerful statement from my recent interview with Dr. Robert Strayhan speaks to the importance of being proactive in understanding and managing the adverse effects of psychedelics. Can a bad trip be detected, and averted, before it does lasting damage to a patient?

In our enlightening interview, Dr. Strayhan, an accomplished psychiatrist with a diverse background (including a black belt in matial arts), shares his insights on the often-overlooked topic of adverse effects in psychedelic medicine. Drawing from his extensive experience, he emphasizes the need for honesty and transparency in discussing these effects, which can impact an individual's entire physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. As we all know, side effects do not just happen on the side.

Dr. Strayhan's impressive credentials span multiple domains. He currently serves as the Psychiatry Residency Training Director at Unity Health System and holds leadership positions at CIIS and the UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics. With a strong background in forensic psychiatry, Dr. Strayhan has provided expert testimony in high-profile cases and served on various committees related to mental health and offenders. His commitment to integrative medicine is evident through his diverse training in martial arts, yoga, and shamanic studies.

We explore everything from the context of clinical trials (compared with a real-world psychiatric practice), the screening process for potential psychedelic users, and the significance of adequate preparation before the psychedelic experience. Dr. Strayhan provides valuable recommendations for managing adverse effects, including the use of “rescue medications” and the potential benefits of certain drugs like Lamotrigine. He also emphasizes the value of incorporating practices like diaphragmatic breathing and yoga to help individuals become more familiar with their bodies and better navigate the psychedelic space.

But Dr. Strayhan's insights extend beyond the realm of psychedelics. We also delve into his personal health practices, discussing his keto diet, exercise routine, and the importance of maintaining muscle mass as we age. His dedication to living a healthy and fulfilling life is inspiring.

Lastly, Dr. Strayhan also recommends valuable resources for further exploration, including a mixed-methods study on extended difficulties following psychedelic use and an insightful video by Abigail Calder at the ALPS conference in Geneva Switzerland.

Golden light,

Dr. Richard Louis Miller


Listen to Learn

  • What is the importance of understanding the potential risks and adverse effects of psychedelics?

  • How can diaphragmatic breathing and yoga help prepare individuals for a psychedelic experience?

  • What are the key considerations when screening patients for psychedelic use?

  • How can rescue medications be used to manage acute adverse effects during a psychedelic experience?

  • What are the potential long-term adverse effects of psychedelics and how can they be managed?

  • How can psychedelic experiences lead to existential and ontological crises?

  • What are the potential risks and benefits of using psychedelics outside of medically supervised settings?

  • How can informed consent and harm reduction practices ensure safe and responsible psychedelic use?

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Dr. Richard Louis Miller is an American Clinical Psychologist, Founder of Wilbur Hot Springs Health Sanctuary, and broadcaster who hosts the Mind Body Health & Politics talk radio program from Mendocino County, California. Dr. Miller was also Founder and chief clinician of the nationally acclaimed, pioneering, Cokenders Alcohol and Drug Program. Dr. Miller’s new book, Psychedelic Medicine, is based on his interviews with the most acclaimed experts on the topic. Mind Body Health & Politics radio broadcast is known for its wide ranging discussions on political issues and health. The program’s format includes guest interviews with prominent national authorities, scientists, best-selling authors, and listener call-ins. The programs offer a forum and soundboard for listeners to interact with the show and its guests. We invite you to listen to the latest broadcasts below or visit our many archived programs. We’d love to hear from you on political and health issues!