Top Ten Tips Palliative Care Clinicians Should Know About Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy in the Context of Serious Illness

J Palliat Med. 2022 Aug;25(8):1273-1281. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2022.0036. Epub 2022 Mar 14.


Psychedelic-assisted therapy (PAT) is a burgeoning treatment with growing interest across a variety of settings and disciplines. Empirical evidence supports PAT as a novel therapeutic approach that provides safe and effective treatment for people suffering from a variety of diagnoses, including treatment-resistant depression, substance use disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Within the palliative care (PC) field, one-time PAT dosing may lead to sustained reductions in anxiety, depression, and demoralization-symptoms that diminish the quality of life in both seriously ill patients and those at end of life. Despite a well-noted psychedelic renaissance in scholarship and a renewed public interest in the utilization of these medicines, serious illness-specific content to guide PAT applications in hospice and PC clinical settings has been limited. This article offers 10 evidence-informed tips for PC clinicians synthesized through consultation with interdisciplinary and international leading experts in the field with aims to: (1) familiarize PC clinicians and teams with PAT; (2) identify the unique challenges pertaining to this intervention given the current legalities and logistical barriers; (3) discuss therapeutic competencies and considerations for current and future PAT use in PC; and (4) highlight critical approaches to optimize the safety and potential benefits of PAT among patients with serious illness and their caregivers.

Keywords: LSD; MDMA; anxiety treatment; demoralization; depression; palliative care; psilocybin; psychedelic-assisted therapy; psychedelics; serious illness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinogens*
  • Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing*
  • Humans
  • Palliative Care
  • Quality of Life


  • Hallucinogens