Ethical Standards for traditional indigenous medicines

The renewed interest in Western psychedelic research and application of indigenous medicines, has raised concerns within many Indigenous Nations regarding issues such as cultural appropriation. Furthermore insufficient acknowledgment of the sacred cultural significance of traditional medicines, exclusionary practices in both research and application, and the commercialisation of ancestral knowledge.

Indigenous perspectives and leadership have often been marginalised in the predominantly Western representation of the field of psychedelics.

indigenous medicines

Recognising this disparity, a global coalition of Indigenous practitioners, activists, scholars, lawyers, and human rights advocates have united to establish a framework of ethical standards concerning the contemporary use of traditional Indigenous medicines in Western psychedelic research and application. Through a collaborative Indigenous-led consensus-building process, eight core ethical principles have been delineated: Reverence, Respect, Responsibility, Relevance, Regulation, Reparation, Restoration, and Reconciliation. This collective effort aims to ensure that Indigenous voices are heard and respected within the realm of Western psychedelic practices.

Summary of the ethics for indigenous medicines

The collective work has culminated in a summary that highlights suggested ethical measures for advancing ethically within Western psychedelic research and application environments. These proposed actions are rooted in the principles of honouring Indigenous wisdom, fostering respect, embracing responsibility, seeking relevance in practices, upholding regulatory standards, supporting reparative initiatives, promoting restoration, and striving for reconciliation. By adhering to these ethical guidelines, the Western psychedelic community can move forward in a manner that is inclusive, respectful, and culturally sensitive to Indigenous perspectives and practices.


Celidwen Y, Redvers N, Githaiga C, Calambás J, Añaños K, Chindoy ME, Vitale R, Rojas JN, Mondragón D, Rosalío YV, Sacbajá A. Ethical principles of traditional Indigenous medicine to guide western psychedelic research and practice. Lancet Reg Health Am. 2022 Dec 16;18:100410. doi: 10.1016/j.lana.2022.100410. PMID: 36844020; PMCID: PMC9950658.

Manson E, Ryding E, Taylor W, Peekeekoot G, Gloeckler SG, Allard P, Johnny C, Greenway KT, Dames S. Indigenous Voices in Psychedelic Therapy: Experiential Learnings from a Community-Based Group Psychedelic Therapy Program. J Psychoactive Drugs. 2023 Nov-Dec;55(5):539-548. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2023.2258120. Epub 2023 Oct 24. PMID: 37723666.

Author: PsyNurse

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