Subjectively perceived risks of using psychedelics
Keywords:set and setting, sitter, bad trip, psychedelics, hallucinogens
Introduction. With growing interest in hallucinogens, majority of psychedelic research focus mostly on the therapeutic potential and benefits. The objective of this paper is to explore how users of psychedelics verbalize their experience and perceived risks of using such substances.
Methods. The authors used a questionnaire with open-ended and multiple-choice items. The sample included persons with at least one phenomenological experience with psychedelics (N = 422, age M=27.78; SD=7.84; SE=0.38; 35.1% women). Qualitative data were analyzed using concepts of The Grounded Theory using the Atlas.ti suite.
Results. The target group uses terms taken from the English language (“bad trip”, “set and setting”, “sitter”, or the grammatically localized version of the word „psychedelic“), with shared and well-understood semantic meaning within the community. The central domain “inappropriate set and setting” and its inadequate preparation is linked to the negative experience of “bad trip” which can lead to difficult “integration of experience” or even “psychotic disorders”. Users of psychedelics report various harm reduction strategies which are consistent with relevant literature.
Conclusion. This study illustrates that Slovak users of psychedelics seem to understand and use the established terminology of international discourse related to these substances. At the same time, the authors suggest that users seem to use various relevant strategies to lower risks associated with the use of psychedelics.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Marek Lukačovič, Radomír Masaryk
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