The Science of Psychedelics: Training for Medical Professionals

The Science of Psychedelics is an accredited, definitive guide to the clinical applications of entheogenic medicines, and offers a solid introduction to psychedelic-assisted therapy and “trip sitting” skills to physicians, psychologists, social workers, mental health counselors, pharmacists, and other empowered individuals.

Whether or not you're a fan of psychedelics, this course was designed to help you engage in intelligent, nuanced conversations on the topic of psychedelic healing with your patients, clients, friends, and colleagues. (Individuals who do not work in healthcare are welcome to join us as well!)


Accreditation and Continuing Education

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of CME Consultants and MD Media, Inc. CME Consultants is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Continuing Education credits for this program are provided by our co-sponsor, the Spiritual Competency Academy, which is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The California Board of Behavioral Sciences, as well as other US states, accepts CE credits for many mental health professionals by approved sponsors of CE by the APA.

Continuing Education credits for Registered Nurses in California are also provided by The Spiritual Competency Academy, which is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing to offer Continuing Education credit.

Continuing Education credits for Naturopathic Doctors are provided by the Oregon Board of Naturopathic Medicine (OBNM).

What This Course Covers:

65 minutes
In this module we examine the pharmacology of the “classic psychedelics,” namely psilocybin (the active constituent in “magic mushrooms”) and LSD-25 (also known as “acid”). The effects of these medicines on brain function, chemistry, and neuronal firing will be reviewed, and the concepts of the default mode network (DMN), brain entropy, and child consciousness will be introduced. We will also take a closer look at the role of mystical experiences, and what spirituality has to do with psychological and physiological healing.

75 minutes
What happens when we take extremely diluted doses of LSD and/or psilocybin? Everything – or nothing, depending on who you ask. Peppered with real cases of people who have tried microdosing, this module outlines the dosage protocols, critiques the studies currently available on this new way of taking psychedelics, and summarizes their findings. The proposed mechanisms of action of microdosing will be explained, along with safety considerations and drug-drug interactions.

90 minutes
MDMA was used in the 1980’s as a psychotherapeutic lubricant, but was outlawed in the United States in 1985. Why? After reviewing the history of this unique molecule, we will dissect its pharmacology to understand just why it pairs so well with counseling. The results of recent studies of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will be presented, along with a video clip from an actual session recorded during one of the studies. (Get your tissues ready, it’s a tear jerker.) We will then take a look at MDMA-assisted psychotherapy’s potential in the context of couples therapy, in helping those on the Autism spectrum overcome social anxiety, and in supporting those with anxiety or depression associated with a life-threatening illness. MDMA’s side effect profile will be reviewed, along with its drug-drug interactions and other notes on safety.

90 minutes
While conventional medicine seeks to treat addiction by interrupting the chemistry of drug tolerance and dependency, psychedelics work largely by addressing the traumas and wounds at the core of an individual’s substance use. After reviewing a new framework for understanding addiction as a type of maladaptive physiology, we will examine the use of psychedelic medicines in the treatment of alcohol use disorder (alcoholism), smoking, and other substance use disorders (including crack, methamphetamine, cocaine, and opiates). More detail will be offered on ayahuasca and ibogaine. The safety, risks, and contraindications for these medicines will also be reviewed, and basic psychedelic “troubleshooting” tips will be offered.

80 minutes
How on earth did ketamine, an anesthesia drug, come to be used for psychiatric purposes? We will review the history of this unique molecule, examine its known mechanisms of action, and explore the theories of how and why it treats depression. After juxtaposing SSRIs with ketamine, we will learn about the several different paradigms for administering the drug, from small microdoses to large psychedelic doses and everything in between. Whether taken as an IV infusion, intramuscular or subcutaneous injection, lozenge, capsule, nasal spray, or rectal suppository, ketamine is the old-but-new drug that may help with several mood disorders. This module will also include some cases from real patients, along with pointers on ketamine safety and suggestions on why the drug may not work in certain types of cases.

75 minutes
Supporting somebody on psychedelics is quite different than facilitating a regular therapy session. In this module, we will learn about “trip sitting” basics, from flight instructions to set-and-setting. Tips for handling common situations during psychedelic sessions will be offered, along with suggestions on how to maximize the potential for healing and minimize the risk of a “bad trip”. Guidelines for designing a healing space, using directive and non-directive interventions, and supporting clients in difficult moments will be explained. The Internal Family Systems (IFS) model of psychotherapy will also be introduced. We will then look closely at the importance of integration work and consider recommendations for how often clients should take psychedelics to achieve their health goals.

30 minutes+
A psychedelic substance is but one part of the healing experience, and you will get to experience some of the other important elements of a session in this optional module. After setting an intention, we will listen to a curated music playlist and feel just how beautiful music can be the wind in our sails. Prompts for reflecting upon and integrating the experience will also be offered. You will need a journal, pen, quiet setting, eye mask, and headphones for this 30-minute module.

65 minutes
In this module we examine the pharmacology of the “classic psychedelics,” namely psilocybin (the active constituent in “magic mushrooms”) and LSD-25 (also known as “acid”). The effects of these medicines on brain function, chemistry, and neuronal firing will be reviewed, and the concepts of the default mode network (DMN), brain entropy, and child consciousness will be introduced. We will also take a closer look at the role of mystical experiences, and what spirituality has to do with psychological and physiological healing.

75 minutes
What happens when we take extremely diluted doses of LSD and/or psilocybin? Everything – or nothing, depending on who you ask. Peppered with real cases of people who have tried microdosing, this module outlines the dosage protocols, critiques the studies currently available on this new way of taking psychedelics, and summarizes their findings. The proposed mechanisms of action of microdosing will be explained, along with safety considerations and drug-drug interactions.

90 minutes
MDMA was used in the 1980’s as a psychotherapeutic lubricant, but was outlawed in the United States in 1985. Why? After reviewing the history of this unique molecule, we will dissect its pharmacology to understand just why it pairs so well with counseling. The results of recent studies of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will be presented, along with a video clip from an actual session recorded during one of the studies. (Get your tissues ready, it’s a tear jerker.) We will then take a look at MDMA-assisted psychotherapy’s potential in the context of couples therapy, in helping those on the Autism spectrum overcome social anxiety, and in supporting those with anxiety or depression associated with a life-threatening illness. MDMA’s side effect profile will be reviewed, along with its drug-drug interactions and other notes on safety.

90 minutes
While conventional medicine seeks to treat addiction by interrupting the chemistry of drug tolerance and dependency, psychedelics work largely by addressing the traumas and wounds at the core of an individual’s substance use. After reviewing a new framework for understanding addiction as a type of maladaptive physiology, we will examine the use of psychedelic medicines in the treatment of alcohol use disorder (alcoholism), smoking, and other substance use disorders (including crack, methamphetamine, cocaine, and opiates). More detail will be offered on ayahuasca and ibogaine. The safety, risks, and contraindications for these medicines will also be reviewed, and basic psychedelic “troubleshooting” tips will be offered.

80 minutes
How on earth did ketamine, an anesthesia drug, come to be used for psychiatric purposes? We will review the history of this unique molecule, examine its known mechanisms of action, and explore the theories of how and why it treats depression. After juxtaposing SSRIs with ketamine, we will learn about the several different paradigms for administering the drug, from small microdoses to large psychedelic doses and everything in between. Whether taken as an IV infusion, intramuscular or subcutaneous injection, lozenge, capsule, nasal spray, or rectal suppository, ketamine is the old-but-new drug that may help with several mood disorders. This module will also include some cases from real patients, along with pointers on ketamine safety and suggestions on why the drug may not work in certain types of cases.

75 minutes
Supporting somebody on psychedelics is quite different than facilitating a regular therapy session. In this module, we will learn about “trip sitting” basics, from flight instructions to set-and-setting. Tips for handling common situations during psychedelic sessions will be offered, along with suggestions on how to maximize the potential for healing and minimize the risk of a “bad trip”. Guidelines for designing a healing space, using directive and non-directive interventions, and supporting clients in difficult moments will be explained. The Internal Family Systems (IFS) model of psychotherapy will also be introduced. We will then look closely at the importance of integration work and consider recommendations for how often clients should take psychedelics to achieve their health goals.

30 minutes+
A psychedelic substance is but one part of the healing experience, and you will get to experience some of the other important elements of a session in this optional module. After setting an intention, we will listen to a curated music playlist and feel just how beautiful music can be the wind in our sails. Prompts for reflecting upon and integrating the experience will also be offered. You will need a journal, pen, quiet setting, eye mask, and headphones for this 30-minute module.

"An absolute must for any professional being asked about psychedelics."

Meet the Instructor

Dr. Erica Zelfand

Dr. Erica Zelfand is a licensed family physician (general practitioner) specializing in integrative mental health and functional medicine. In addition to treating patients of all ages in her private practice, Dr. Zelfand is a ketamine prescriber, facilitator of therapeutic psychedelic experiences, acclaimed international speaker, and medical writer. She often presents at medical conferences on the clinical applications of psychedelic healing and advocated for the recent legalization of psilocybin-assisted therapy in Oregon, USA. She also trained in MDMA-assisted psychotherapy through the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) (MTC1) and is a volunteer “trip sitter,” medical lead, and psychedelic harm reduction workshop co-facilitator with the Zendo Project and other organizations.

What You'll Get with This Course

  • Six (6) didactic video modules of 60 to 90 minutes each, including beautiful slides, diagrams of detailed topics, and webcam of the instructor
  • Video clips and case report summaries from actual patients
  • Bibliography with cited publications and links
  • Transcriptions and keyword insights for each module
  • Links to suggested videos, articles, and other recommended resources
  • One (1) bonus module with guided self-reflection and an experiential component
  • Assessment quiz for each module
  • Evaluation form for each module (for those pursuing CE/CME)
  • Access to our online learning platform for after purchase as long as our website exists
  • Official Certificate of Completion, CE certificate, or CME certificate upon completion
  • 8 hours of CE or CME professional credit (if selected at checkout)

By Taking This Course, You Will:

Be equipped to offer informed answers to questions from your patients about psychedelic drugs, such as their benefits, risks and if they may be a good fit for treatment.
Learn about the psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy paradigm of treatment.
Learn critical harm reduction and safety protocols that patients and interested persons can follow in the modern-day.
Learn about the vast, diverse and colourful psychedelic toolkit, from traditional psychedelic drugs to synthetic and derivative drugs currently in the pipeline.
Learn about the various contexts in which psychedelic drugs are currently being incorporated, from microdosing and medicinal use in the treatment of various mental illnesses to recreational and ceremonial use.
Explore the fascinating history that underlies many of these compounds.
Acquire a necessary understanding of what is needed to use these drugs in clinical practice.
Experience the powerful impact of music during the psychedelic experience and its role in integration.

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Teachings are appropriate for healthcare professionals as well as the general public. Healthcare professionals will be able to incorporate the tools and practices offered in this program in ways beneficial to clients or patients.

CME Accreditation (Physicians)

8.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™
$549USD
  • CME Consultants designates this enduring material for a maximum of 8.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

CME Accreditation (Non-Physicians)

8.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™
$449USD
  • This course option is for professionals other than AMA-defined physicians who may be able to utilize AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ as equivalent CE or CEU for re-licensure or recertification. This includes Physician Assistants (PAs), Nurse Practitioners (NPs), and Doctors of Pharmacy (PharmDs).

CE Accreditation

8 Hours of Homestudy Credit
$399USD
  • This option is primarily for Psychologists (PhDs, PsyDs), Social Workers (LCSWs, LicSWs), Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs, MFTs and related fields), and Registered Nurses in California. Many other US state licensing boards accept programs sponsored by American Psychological Association-approved cosponsors for CE.

ND Accreditation

8 Continuing Education (CE) Credits
$349USD
  • Accreditation from the Oregon Board of Naturopathic Medicine (OBNM).

Course Only

No Accreditation
$199USD
  • The same course, for those who do not need professional credit. A certificate of attendance will be provided.