Psychedelic Therapy Research Marred by Methodological Concerns

Amidst a surge in interest in psychedelic-assisted therapy, a new critique highlights serious methodological flaws, urging for a reevaluation of how these studies are conducted and interpreted.


In a new article, pro-psychedelic researchers call out the methodological concerns making psychedelic therapy studies untrustworthy. Specifically, cherry-picking participants and providing less therapy to the control group are issues that challenge the credibility of psychedelic therapy studies, according to the authors.

“The potential for imbalance in therapy quantity and quality, and concerns regarding generalizability to a general psychiatric population, are key threats to the validity of past and forthcoming research findings,” they write.

The authors are Richard J. Zeifman at the NYU Langone Centre for Psychedelic Medicine and Lucas O. Maia at the Brain Institute, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, Brazil. Zeifman’s research lab is funded by MindMed, a pharma company that promotes psychedelics. (MindMed had no involvement with this specific article.) The article was published in European Neuropsychopharmacology.

You've landed on a MIA journalism article that is funded by MIA supporters. To read the full article, sign up as a MIA Supporter. All active donors get full access to all MIA content, and free passes to all Mad in America events.

Current MIA supporters can log in below.(If you can't afford to support MIA in this way, email us at [email protected] and we will provide you with access to all donor-supported content.)



  1. yes, in Australia a doctor using MDMA for PTSD reported he charged $25 000 Aus ( about $16 000 USA) for 80-100 hours with a clinician over a 3 month period! The price tag is going to exclude quite a few people, also family Hx of bipolar and personal history of psychosis are exclusionary conditions. And who hasn’t got a family Dx of bipolar these days???

    Report comment

  2. I am sure they will find ways to fix past and future research so that psychedelics become more widely used in psych treatment. As drugs go, they could be among the more “safe and effective” drugs in use by psychiatrists.

    The question remains: Why do psychiatrists use drugs to treat the psyche? The first target of any drug is the body. Due to the close mind-body connection, many drugs also have mental effects. But you aren’t actually DOING anything with the mind by drugging it, except maybe to confuse it even more.

    Until people in this field are willing to admit that the mind is a separate entity from the body, they cannot be trusted with any form of “therapy” and should be avoided except in the most extreme of emergencies. They have no real idea of what they are doing.

    Report comment